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NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

A place to spoil daily issues for those who haven't had them yet, snigger at typos, and discuss ideas for new ones.

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Jutsa
Minister
 
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Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#440: Jumping The Sharknado [Sedgistan; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
After another movie season dominated by sequels, remakes and spin-offs, cinema boffs have come to your office begging for action.

The Debate
1. "What happened to the classics of days gone by?" rhetorically questions renowned film critic @@RANDOMNAME@@. "The @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ movie industry used to be known for such masterpieces as 'The Modfather: Part One', 'A Clockwork Violet', and 'Once Upon A Time In The West Pacific', not the drivel they're putting out these days. If studios want to release films in @@NAME@@ they should give us something original."

2. "I didn't become a director to make films like 'Rise Of The Planet Of The @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ Revisited'," gripes @@RANDOMNAME@@. "But it's all the studios will sanction. It's such an expensive business making movies, and given the risks it's no wonder we play it safe. Perhaps if the government were to underwrite our projects, I'd finally get a chance to finish 'Heaven's Door'."

3. "Haha!" chortles @@RANDOMNAME@@, while watching 'Mad Max vs. Jar Jar Binks 2: The Unrated Edition' on his smartphone. Shovelling another handful of popcorn into his mouth, he turns to interject, "Oh my god, this is the best part, guys. Will you keep quiet back there?"

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#441: You've Got A Friend In Bee [Outer Sparta; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Honeybee populations have been deceasing at an alarming rate, according to a recent study published in Not That Popular Science magazine. Experts have swarmed your office demanding you take action or face catastrophic consequences.

The Debate
1. "This is a travesty!" exclaims concerned environmental scientist, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Our food supplies will be at risk if the bee population declines any further. Colony Collapse Disorder is a serious thing and we don't really know what's killing them. It could be insecticides, parasitic mites, habitat loss, or maybe it's just all that hot air coming from @@CAPITAL@@. We must stop this before it's too late. Let's start with shutting down industries that manufacture insecticides and enforcing better environmental protection. We must stop at nothing to ensure our survival."

2. A local beekeeper, @@RANDOMNAME@@, carefully steps into your office carrying a beehive. "What we need to do is to establish large scale bee farms across @@NAME@@, and raise more bees so their populations can grow." The absentminded beekeeper appears oblivious as several bees escape the hive. "Sustainable practices and good bee-raising will preserve the population. You give me and my fellow beekeepers some funding, and we can use that to grow the biggest colony you'll ever see!" Several of your aides exit screaming, pursued by bees.

*3. "Once again, science has the answer," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of Bees and Genes. "If we use genetics to modify the bees, they can be made resistant to disease and live longer. This, my friends, is the breakthrough we need to stabilize the honeybee populations. It'll require a boatload of funding and we might accidentally create killer bees like the dreaded Maxtopian hornet, but we need to save nature's black and yellow friends while we have the chance." [Must have private industry]

*4. “Once again, science has the answer,” says @@RANDOMNAME@@, Laboratory Director of HIVEMIND, a state-funded research group. “If we use genetics to modify the bees, they can be made resistant to disease and live longer. This, my friends, is the breakthrough we need to stabilize the honeybee populations. It’ll require a boatload of funding and we might accidentally create killer bees like the dreaded Maxtopian hornet, but we need to save nature’s black and yellow friends while we have the chance.” [Must not have private industry]

5. "Whatever happened to leaving nature alone?" queries the eccentric 'Doctor Bees', carrying suitcases buzzing with bees and seen wearing a full bee costume. "More bee colonies? Pesticides? Genes? Buzz off! Have you ever stopped to think that we are to blame for this mess? Why don't we free the bees and let nature take its course? Sure, the beekeeping industry would suffer, but if we do nothing the alternative is total environmental disaster! Buzz buzz buzz!"

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#442: You Can't Always Get What You Squat [Czechostan; ed:Golgothastan]

The Issue
After a group of unemployed students were found living in a disused furniture factory in @@CAPITAL@@, landowners and law enforcement have become concerned with rising squatting levels in abandoned buildings.

The Debate
1. "It's time the government took action against squatting: it's disgusting and it has to be stopped!" complains business mogul @@RANDOMNAME@@. "These degenerates are disrespecting the factory I built up through hard work, and they have no right to trespass on it as if it were their own! Never mind that half of my buildings are unoccupied and crumbling to the ground. We should be allowed to remove squatters using whatever force is necessary!"

2. "What's truly disgusting is how these corporate fat cats can be so unempathetic and cruel," remarks social democrat @@RANDOMNAME@@. "They're hoarding abandoned old buildings waiting for the property market to improve so they can make a fortune selling them off to greedy developers for luxury apartment blocks - and all the while their fellow @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ are sleeping rough without a roof over their heads! We should enact a compulsory purchase on all buildings that are unoccupied for longer than six months, and turn them into affordable housing for the homeless so they won't have to resort to squatting in some dirty old factory. I don't need to tell you where we can get the money from."

3. "Maybe you're looking for a solution in the wrong spot," says a voice coming from your office closet. You open the door to discover @@RANDOMNAME@@, roasting a chunk of indeterminate meat over a makeshift fire. "What's so bad about squatting? I mean, most of the buildings we live in are abandoned or unoccupied anyway. There will always be homeless people, and the government needs to acknowledge this and give us the right to live off the land, even if it's someone else's. Now close the door, you're letting in a draft."

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#443: Five Year Plans And New Deals [Bureaucratic Paralysis; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
The price of most foodstuffs in @@NAME@@ spiked recently, resulting in bread riots. Terrified government advisers have put forward economic plans to stabilize the economy.

The Debate
1. "This cannot happen again," panics Minister of the Economy @@RANDOMNAME@@ while wiring assets to an overseas bank. "We need to lower unemployment and control food prices if we want things to quiet down again. Major public works projects would ensure that the poor find good jobs and aren't just loafing around, stewing in their own juices. They could build bridges and beautify parks and organize public events. To be honest, what they work on doesn't matter; they could dig holes and fill them up again for all I care. The important thing is controlling poverty; food prices will eventually sort themselves out."

2. "The real problem is foreign control of our economy," concludes your Labor Minister, @@RANDOMNAME@@, while absentmindedly combing his beard. "Multinationals that don't care about @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ oversupply trivial things like fast food instead of investing in our critical national infrastructure. Only indicative planning can begin to properly direct the economy towards essential production while maintaining the profit motive. With the commanding heights under government control, we don't have to worry about capital flight the next time recession looms."

3. "What socialistic nonsense," retorts Finance Minister @@RANDOMNAME@@, taking a break from scowling at jobless protesters. "That food price shock wasn't because of too little government meddling. The real cause was bad planning, a side-effect of half-baked subsidies. The market is smarter than a bunch of bureaucrats, so we should cut all subsidies propping up enterprises that don't turn a real profit. And if some people still can't find bread, then let them eat cake."

4. "Don't listen to that imperialist lackey," interrupts @@RANDOMNAME@@, a rioter throwing stale bread at you. "It's not enough to have national planning; we need WORLD economic planning. We should retool from making worthless fuzzy dice and sex-enhancement drugs and instead provide nutrition and medicines for needy peoples the world over. Perhaps you think the pig-dog capitalists will never let it happen, but I am hopeful. A rising dough lifts all nations, after all. It's time to end hunger once and for all."

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#444: Virtually Assured Destruction [Austral Coast; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Last week a mothballed @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ nuclear missile exploded deep underground, triggering a catastrophic earthquake in rural @@NAME@@. The little evidence that could be recovered from the debris indicates that the explosion was caused by neglected maintenance of outdated warheads, spurring debate over the state of the nation's nuclear arsenal.

The Debate
1. "We clearly need a total overhaul," states Colonel @@RANDOMNAME@@ of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Nuclear Deterrence Program, quite calmly despite the clamor outside of your office. "It will be costly, but once we have a new generation of warheads ready, we'll be perfectly safe from another incident like this happening, at least during my own tenure. We will, of course, need to dispose of the old missiles to make room for their replacements, but I'm sure the nuclear industry would jump at an ongoing contract to recycle the plutonium for us. It's certainly cheaper than mining more ore out of the ground."

2. "We definitely need to update our warheads," hastily concurs the Tasmanian Ambassador, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "I propose we sell the old missiles to our friendlier neighbors. Then we get some money and ditch responsibility for the missiles, and we save an ally a lot of R&D. It's probably safe! Worst case scenario: the old missiles fall into the wrong hands while in transit to other countries, but if we just convoy them up with some regular munitions, the teamsters will be able to fight off any attempted hijacking."

3. "Really?" objects Jacob Anderson of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Security Agency, startling you as he appears seemingly out of nowhere. "You actually think it was just a malfunction? Why do you think there was so little evidence left? That warhead was clearly detonated intentionally; I don't know if it was terrorists or spies from one of our rivals, but someone did this, and they did it for a reason. Our primary concern should be with securing our missile bases against sabotage. People may still be scared of nuclear malfunction, but hey - if nobody wants to live near our nukes, that only strengthens national security."

4. "You're all ignoring the real problem!" shouts a protester as she bursts through the door to your office. "The nukes were a bad idea from the get-go! Sooner or later we're going to annihilate ourselves with another accident. What's the point of even having a deterrent if we're just going to blow ourselves up? For the sake of humanity, the environment, and the national budget, it's time to disarm ALL nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons."

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#445: Evasive Maneuvers [Panageadom; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After a recent newspaper exposé revealed that many corporations in @@NAME@@ have been using obscure segments of the tax code to avoid taxation, an army of proletarian protesters marched on the companies involved. Naturally, the corporations sent out their own troop of crack lawyers, and they have met in the only conceivable middle ground: your office.

The Debate
1. "Let's look at the legal facts here, shall we?" asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, a sharp-suited lawyer opening a manilla folder filled with a seemingly unending sheaf of papers. "The organisation I represent acted within the strict letter of the law and structured its assets as anybody would - in a manner to avoid the maximum amount of tax paid. Taxes are designed to reward certain behaviours over others, by offering a scheme of incentives and disincentives to those behaviours: the mere idea that a change in which behaviours to reward, and that my organisation should finance that change retroactively, amounts to legislative tyranny."

2. "That's bloody ridiculous!" puffs red-faced protester, @@RANDOMNAME@@, blowing spittle all over their supercilious counterpart. "They're trying to paint all of this as something that any reasonable person would do - but it just isn't! I don't know every inch of the tax code, and it's not like I can get all these smug big-shots to hang around the flat and tell me how to 'structure my assets', or some other rubbish. They knew what they did was against the spirit of the law, if nothing else - take them for all they've got. It's only fair."

3. "Erm, @@LEADER@@?" whimpers @@RANDOMNAME@@, a timid conflict-fearing Treasury Ministry employee, cowering in a fort made up of boxes of tax code amendments, "I think there's a way out of this. Surely we can just change the law to take out the biggest loopholes, without asking companies for any back payments for laws they didn't break at the time? It's not a perfect solution, but at least most of the protesters will go home and leave us alone - at least until they realize the corporate lawyers are back to their usual tricks?"

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#446: In The Land Of Milk And Money? [Kaztropol; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
A recent survey from the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Directorate for Health showed that a growing minority of the nation's women are having difficulties producing enough breast milk for their infants. Now a leading breastfeeding advocate has suggested a co-operative scheme in which nursing mothers share surplus milk with other mothers who are having difficulties, for a small profit.

The Debate
1. "It's simple really," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, while scattering rose petals all over your office. "All kids should have a chance at the sweet nectar of a mother's breast, and we'll provide havens where mothers can share and receive in a relaxed environment. There'll be velvet cushions, scented candles and mood music. And to facilitate the money part I've designed a coin-operated nursing bra that the girls can wear. Would you like me to demonstrate?"

2. "This is a noble idea," says Doctor @@RANDOMNAME@@, grey eminence of the national health bureaucracy. "Allowing this dissemination of milk will undoubtedly improve the health of our new baby citizens. However, clearly the government must handle this, as to secure proper hygiene and acceptable safety standards. Mothers can deposit their milk at approved facilities, and those lacking can apply for free rations through the appropriate channels. Let's not talk of monetary compensation: that is distasteful."

3. "And why should this only be eligible for mothers?" counters @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, noted libertarian who has embraced his Oedipus complex. "There is a wider market here, and we should acknowledge that. Who wouldn't want breast milk with their cereal, or in their coffee? I know I would! No meddling regulations and restrictions, let milk and money flow free!"

4. "Hang on a minute there," yells @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of the infant formula company Got Milk Inc. "I just heard from a peg-legged homeless person that breast milk is a gateway drug to cannibalism, so maybe we're better off without it? With some government funding, my company can provide enough tasty and nutritious formula for all of @@NAME@@'s infants!"

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#447: Honey, We Hung The Parliament [Gnejs; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
The recent national elections in @@NAME@@ saw declining support for the established parties and a big success for the unabashedly populist anarcho-communist party Death to the State. The extremist fringe party, despised by all other parties, gained a surprisingly high number of seats. The government is now in chaos as the more traditional parties scramble to block Death to the State from having any influence on the government.

The Debate
1. "This is a travesty!" exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, MP for the Progressive Traditionalists, who lost several seats in the election cycle. "These lunatics openly state that they will do anything in their power to incapacitate @@NAME@@'s political system. We should ban anyone with a criminal record from running for political office. That'll keep them out along with any other extremist and traitor with delusions of grandeur. I'm pretty sure I'm clean. Anyways, we'll manage, I'd wager."

2. "Are you insane? There'll be no one left!" cries @@RANDOMNAME@@, a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Conservatives, speaking to their bitter rival for the first time in years. "Let's strike a bargain, @@LEADER@@, you and me, stating that the biggest political parties form the government. Your party still managed to come ahead, of course, but you need us to ensure your political survival. We'll be happy to support your government provided there's an equitable share of cabinet ministers, you compromise on the omnibus spending bill, and you keep some of your more radical party members in line."

3. "What utter nonsense!" rebuffs @@RANDOMNAME@@, a former Member of Parliament who lost their seat to a suspected arsonist. "The only real solution is holding a new election whenever a stable government can't be formed. The people of @@NAME@@ are smart; I'm sure they'll realize what a mistake they made the first time around and restore the order of things. Doing the election over again will be costly, sure, but I really need this gig. I mean, the nation's ability to be governed is at stake! Yes, that's the one."

4. "Or you just let us be a part of the government, or at least let be part of your group in Parliament", says the belligerent @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, leader of Death to the State, his body covered in gang tattoos. "The people voted for us, after all, and this blatant disregard for the popular vote is shocking. We'll want something in return for our support, of course, but we're not greedy. Just implement some of our campaign promises about cleansing the state apparatus of the bourgeois plague of bureaucracy, and you'll get your majority."

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#448: It Takes A Village [Flanderosa; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
A recently released book authored by @@RANDOMNAME@@, your former Human Services Minister, has highlighted the financial and mental health concerns of parents in @@NAME@@. The book has thrust the issue of childcare back into the public spotlight.

The Debate
1. "I don't know how much more I can take without government support," complains a visibly stressed out mother while desperately trying to console her screaming child. "Between working two jobs and raising a child, I don't know how I'm managing to hold it together. The government needs to start getting involved before there are mass mental breakdowns! If you gave parents a tax credit and invest in some mental health initiatives, it would really help. Oh, won't somebody please think of the children?"

2. "The problem is that these fathers and mothers obviously have no idea how to do their job," counters your Education Minister while raising her voice over the tantrum-throwing toddler. "Parents need to understand budgeting, stress management, and how to calm down screaming infants. I propose mandatory parenting classes for adults and teenagers alike. The government could then take away children from those who fail the testing. Sure, that would mean investing more in the education budget, but won't you please think of the children?"

3. "You are all missing the obvious solution," coos your incredibly mature sixteen-year-old niece as she calms down the crying infant. "What @@NAME@@ needs is a national babysitting and nanny program. Parents obviously need a break from the stresses of child-rearing, and people need to know that their lives aren't going to be interrupted by screaming kids. By enlisting the help of babysitters and nannies across the country, along with investments in daycare and childcare programs, this problem will be a thing of the past." Your niece hands you the baby. "Isn't he adorable?"

4. "No, no, and no!" exclaims your Finance Minister, who has recently been named @@NAME@@'s most eligible bachelor by Bonjour Magazine. "Why should my taxes have to pay for someone else's bratty kids? I'm already paying over and above for these social programs that are obviously not working. Let's get rid of whatever childcare programs we have and save ourselves a bundle of @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@. If you can't afford to have kids, then don't have them."

5. “They have it all wrong!” invokes impatient company boss @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, who is infamous for his misogynistic rants. “The problem isn’t just that these girls neglect their kids, but that they neglect their work as well. If an employer feels his female staff are tired-looking, they should be allowed to dismiss them from their jobs. It’s for their benefit as well as ours, we just take the decision out of their hands, so they don’t have to worry their pretty heads over it.”

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#449: A Big Fracking Problem [Czechostan; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Natural gas extraction has been thrust into the political spotlight after a corporation proposed utilizing hydraulic fracturing to boost the production of shale gas. After weeks of protests, a crowd of lobbyists and environmental protesters have barged into your office and demand that you finally make a decision.

The Debate
1. "Any opposition to hydraulic fracturing has been born out of ignorance," claims Shale The Love lobbyist @@RANDOMNAME@@ after tossing some impressive looking pie charts on your desk. "If we further hydraulic fracturing, we can finally be independent of foreign natural gas. Do you really want to continue paying dictatorships like Maxtopia for their expensive oil? Just think of the advantage producing our own natural gas will give us. Look at the charts that clearly show how many jobs this will create in rural areas. We should be encouraging fracking operations and cracking down on these environmental terrorists who would be happy to send us back to the Stone Age."

2. "I don't think you understand the magnitude of these environmental issues," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, the organizer of the anti-fracking protest movement No Fracking Way. "Fracking can pollute the air and contaminate groundwater with toxic chemicals, which will end up in million of people's drinking water. Weren't you guys paying attention when fracking operations caused all those earthquakes in Blackacre? Never mind that they're on a fault line! We must put an end to fracking and start investing into green energy sources like wind, solar, and tidal power. We'll never run out of those clean energy sources, but we will run out of clean air to breathe."

3. "There's always room for compromise," chimes in @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of your top aides famous for diffusing tension in your office. "We obviously can't ignore the benefits of fracking, but we can't turn a blind eye to the impact it would have on the environment either. Why not allow fracking, but only in areas of @@NAME@@ where there are no major populated areas? I hear that the land in the Northern @@ANIMAL@@ Mountain Range is just ripe for hydraulic fracturing. There is a @@ANIMAL@@ preservation area nearby, but it's not like they're going to be protesting."

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#450: Colonial Testimonial [Sussetonia; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
After @@NAME@@ recently acquired its very own colony, tensions have been running high as to how the events leading up to this should be portrayed in the history books, both in @@CAPITAL@@ and in its newfound overseas territory.

The Debate
1. "Well, they're part of the @@TYPE@@ now, so it only makes sense that we share one account of history," says @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, a @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ native vacationing in the newly annexed territory, while adjusting his khakis and brand new pith helmet. "And that account should obviously be the glorious tale of how @@NAME@@ heroically ended their age of barbarism and brought the shining beacon of civilization to its heathen populace. That is after all, more or less, what happened. Stating otherwise would be nothing short of provincial bigotry due to wounded pride."

2. "It's a matter of pride, yes, but foremost of historical accuracy," asserts @@RANDOMNAME@@, a former guerrilla who somehow miraculously survived your massive counterinsurgency. "We must teach the children, both in @@NAME@@ and here, about what actually happened. History is supposed to be about the facts. It should educate, not propagate imperialist dogma and effectively teach our kids to be ashamed of their home and whitewash all your war crimes. Let the history books tell the horrible truth and brand all @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ oppressors as the monsters they truly are, especially you, @@LEADER@@!"

3. "Look, we're not going to agree on this any time soon, so why not make both sides happy?" suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@, cultural anthropologist and author of the academically acclaimed book 'Can We Please Just Respect Everyone And Everything All The Time?' "@@NAME@@ doesn’t want to be remembered as the brutal oppressor, and our new, eh, friends, doesn’t want their hardships swept under the rug. So, let each territory have their own version of history! What could possibly go wrong?"

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#451: A Prosthelytizer To Burn [Sierra Lyricalia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
News media is abuzz this week as prominent atheist and anti-religious author Gary Montague has threatened to burn a copy of @@FAITH@@'s most sacred text in order to desecrate it and offend its adherents worldwide. As usual, everyone and their mother are demanding that you do something about this.

The Debate
1. Montague brandishes a copy of the offending book in your face while hiding in your office from a torch-bearing mob. "This so-called 'religious text' endorses people who commit murder, slavery, incest, genocide, and environmental destruction as holy and devout men. It deserves burning! I don't care how popular or moral @@FAITH@@ is these days: this so-called holy text is a blueprint for barbarism. That kind of evil has no place in our so-called civilized society." Montague panics and flees through your window as the mob breaks down the door.

2. "By all that's holy, @@LEADER@@, we cannot let this happen!" exclaims devout and questionably sane prosecutor Mildred Beatty, bearing a torch and pitchfork. "@@NAME@@ will be the laughing stock of the world if this nutjob gets his way! Let me send over some agents - good men, pious men - and burn him instead! In fact, we should open a new division just for this type of good work. We'll burn some of Montague's books while we're at it - some of them are dangerous, you know. Fire is bright and fire is clean! Fire will cleanse @@NAME@@ of its sins!"

3. "This guy Montag - is that his name? Mont- eh, whatever. It's obvious that he's the problem," suggests Stoneman Black, proprietor of the @@CAPITAL@@ Legitimate Businessman's Club. "Allowing him to proceed would damage @@NAME@@'s reputation, but so would turning into a tyrannical mobocracy. My uh... my associates and I can take him out for a small fee. Heck, we'll even make it look like an accident. All you need to do is look the other way, and your little problem will be solved."

4. "All of these people are tyrannical scumbags!" bellows the usually quiet Bic Granger, director of the @@CAPITAL@@ National Library. "You're talking about a cavalier disregard for the whole world's entire knowledge and heritage, from cavepeople to philosophers to tabloid reporters. Books can be immortal if they're taken care of. In fact, the government should be protecting books from the burners and ensuring that people have a right to read whatever they please, regardless of how offensive that might be."

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#452: Foetal Furore [Christian Democrats; ed:Sanctaria]

The Issue
Video coverage of a protest outside of an abortion clinic has gone viral after the footage indicated that pro-life campaigners prevented ingress of pregnant women, causing the patients visible distress. In response, the Womyn's Liberation League has pushed for a bill that it says would protect access to clinics.

The Debate
1. "Passing this bill would be an important step in protecting a woman's right to choose," testifies the Womyn's Liberation League's spokesperson @@RANDOMNAME@@. "The fact of the matter is that these protesters are obstructing women as they try to exercise a basic human right. When someone wants to terminate a pregnancy, the law ought to be on her side. Making abortion legal was a good first step, but we need to go further to secure these women's safety. Anti-abortion activists ought to be required to stand in designated areas far away from the clinics they're protesting."

2. "What about the right to free speech?" pleads @@RANDOMNAME@@, lawyer for the pro-life activists depicted in the footage. "These are public spaces, and my clients should have the freedom, as well as the ability, to get their views across. You may disagree with them, but it would be draconian for the government to prohibit their citizens from revealing to people the truth about any medical procedure they are getting."

3. "The truth is that these abortion mills are killing thousands of children every year," cries @@RANDOMNAME@@, a local curate and youth worker. "The government must defend the rights of the unborn - they too are entitled to protection under the law - and ban this immoral practice immediately. Anything less is permitting murder."

4. "Oppressor!" screams militant antitheist @@RANDOMNAME@@, pointing at the last speaker. "A bunch of middle-aged, celibate men refusing to allow women to have control over their own bodies - all these barbarians are doing is peddling their outdated misogyny, and I'm tired of it. The only way we'll make any real social progress is to put a stop to their hatemongering entirely. I insist that the whole anti-abortion movement be outlawed with stiff penalties for religious anti-choice advocates."

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#453: Parliamentary Playground [Nation of Quebec; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
After a WhoTube video featuring MPs in an outright brawl went viral, foreign commentators now regularly mock the hijinks in the @@DENOMYADJ@@ Parliament. In order to save face, several MPs have tried to reign in the legislature's embarrassing behavior.

The Debate
1. "We need a Parliamentary Code of Conduct to make sure this appalling behavior doesn't happen again," states Opposition Leader @@RANDOMNAME@@. Your entire cabinet mooned me while I was speaking yesterday for Violet's sake! You wouldn't get away with that kind of behavior in any other workplace, so why is Parliament exempt? We need to show the citizenry that this is a place of serious and mature discussion, not a schoolyard playground."

2. "That's a good start, but it doesn't go far enough!" exclaims avid @@NAMEINITIALS@@-SPAN watcher and schoolteacher @@RANDOMNAME@@. "I always sit down and watch Question Period with the kids to teach them how democracy in @@NAME@@ works. They were subjected to the brawl, the mooning, and all those fights involving the chicken costume. Any politician who acts in such a disgraceful way should be barred from running for political office ever again. If we don't take tougher stances against this disgraceful behavior, our kids will start thinking that this is an acceptable way for them to act."

3. "We have a right to express our political dissatisfaction, no matter how... unorthodox our methods are," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of your more outspoken cabinet ministers while making an obscene gesture towards the other speakers. "Sure, sometimes things can get a little heated, but that's the nature of politics. If the loyal opposition can't handle a few choice words or an entire hour of jeering, then they shouldn't have run for office. Besides, what about freedom of speech? Aren't we still big on that?"

4. "Hold up! Outta my way!" shouts pro-wrestler Stone Fist as he barges his way into your office and places one of your aides in a chokehold. "What if instead of debates, politicians settled their scores with trial by combat? Build a thunderdome in Parliament. Two MPs enter; one MP leaves! Imagine the ratings and publicity! People could even bet @@CURRENCIES@@ on the results. At the very least, the public will be a lot more invested in the outcome of parliamentary debates." Your aide passes out as Stone Fist releases his grip.

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#454: Don't Stead On Me! [Scow Creek; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
A significant number of residents in @@CAPITAL@@ and other cities across @@NAME@@ have been growing vegetables and keeping animals on their property. The increasing presence of farm animals and intricate homemade irrigation systems have begun wreaking havoc on the infrastructure. Yesterday the busiest intersection of @@CAPITAL@@ was held up for over four hours by a woman trying to herd a large group of sheep to pasture in @@ANIMAL@@ Park. A cross-town group of affluent and angry citizens now demands that you control the burgeoning homestead movement.

The Debate
1. "These smelly beatniks are ruining our neighbourhoods," claims Tom Leadbetter, avid city-dweller and leader of the 'Proprietors Organization for the Safekeeping of Homes'. "Chickens in the street, goat droppings on my doorstep, and weeds so high that who knows what's going on right next door. And they're using waste water for irrigation for Violet's sake! If they want to live like bumpkins, let them move to the country. In fact, you should make them go."

2. "I have a right to grow my own food," counters a young woman who goes by the name of 'Starlight'. "By allowing plants, animals and people to flourish side by side, working with nature instead of against it, we're restoring balance to our cities. And it's great social policy, you know, educating the kids, alleviating poverty and boosting health, sort of. Don't be a part of the problem @@LEADER@@ - enact a nationwide 'Right to Homesteading'! Do it now!"

3. "Surely we can compromise on this," suggests @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, a hip urban developer, while combing his moustache atop a unicycle. "Urban farming is really hot right now, and you can't deny that green spots liven up the face of a city. Let's tear down some downtown derelicts, set up a few approved farms and sell lots to the eco-conscious middle class. It's perfect! We can brand our cities 'green' and substitute the inner-city riff-raff with the young and fashionable in one stroke. Everybody wins! Well, except for the urban poor, I guess, but they're such a dreary bunch anyways."

4. Just when you thought you were done for the day, @@RANDOMNAME@@ climbs through your window. The infamous primitivist and raging bovinophobe has another solution to the issue at hand. "The problem isn't farming in cities, it's farming period! The domestication of animals and subjugation of the roaming savage is what led to our downfall. The first step towards finding our roots is outlawing agriculture, in all its forms! We'll live off the land: pick berries and stalk @@ANIMALPLURAL@@. It'll be grand, trust me."

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#455: Police On Overkill Mode? [Annihilators of Chan Island; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
When the police recently used a main battle tank to stop a robbery in downtown @@CAPITAL@@, many questioned whether the police should be buying up army surplus.

The Debate
1. "I thought the police were there to make things better!" cries @@RANDOMNAME@@, gesturing towards the devastated shopfront. "One moment I was being held up by a guy in a mask. The next thing I know a 50 ton war machine is roaring through my shop! Instead of some derelict stealing the money in the till, the police pulverized the entire building! Surely that tank was overkill? They're cops, not commandos."

2. The offending tank drives up to your office with sirens blaring before stopping just before it hits the building. The tank's turret swivels towards your head before the hatch swings open and Officer @@RANDOMNAME@@ pops out. "Howdy! So ... you heard about that robbery we crushed - literally - downtown with Bessie here? I just want to say that militarization is the best thing that ever happened to law enforcement. Never been easier to strike fear into the hearts of criminals! In fact, you should loosen the rules of procurement for police equipment. Then we could have some real toys! To deal with gangs, of course, not to run around like drunken idiots."

3. "Officer Friendly here appears to overestimate the logical potential for heavy weaponry in everyday law enforcement," complains Chief of Department @@RANDOMNAME@@ while glaring at the tank outside your office. "Special weapons and tactics have their place in hostage negotiation and riot control, but they shouldn't be deployed routinely. We should have heavily armed paramilitary police units, but they should be elites reserved for exceptional circumstances."

4. The tank drives off, ruining the gardens around your office. "I can't believe you let amateurs use heavy armor," comments @@RANDOMNAME@@, a military attaché from Maxtopia. "Occupying unruly neighborhoods can reduce unrest, but only if the job is done by professionals. Let the army handle your police work, and you won't have untrained idiots demolishing every street sign in their path. Nothing maintains law and order quite like the barrel of a gun and a proper curfew."

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#456: Heads Will Roll [Sleep; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
Earlier this week an entire chapter of the motorcycle gang Daughters of Disorder was involved in a nasty accident on one of @@NAME@@'s major highways, leaving several of them dead. After medical personnel later ascertained that the use of helmets could have saved their lives, your Minister of Health and Public Safety made a statement proposing a set of new security measures mandatory for all motorcycle riders. The initiative has sparked debate, and is facing strong opposition from motorcycle enthusiasts.

The Debate
*1. "This law would violate our religious right to wear our sacred top hats while riding motorcycles!" exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, president of the Violetist Scooter Corps, as @@HE@@ points @@HIS@@ ceremonial blade at your chest. "We have worn the top hat in times of war on the battlefield! Our protection comes from Violet herself! Require the ungodly heathens to wear helmets! Those who are chosen by Violet to ride will ride in style or die trying!" [Violetism is legal]

*2. "This law would violate our religious right to wear our sacred top hats while riding motorcycles!" exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, president of the Traqnuil Yellowist Scooter Corps, as @@HE@@ points @@HIS@@ ceremonial blade at your chest. "We have worn the top hat in times of war on the battlefield! Our protection comes from the Yellow One himself! Require the ungodly heathens to wear helmets! Those who are chosen by the Yellow One to ride will ride in style or die trying!"
[Violetism is illegal]

3. "The stove pipe is right, helmets are lame!" agrees @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, your slacker nephew. "How am I going to impress any babes if I have helmet hair?" he asks, running his hand through his hair while checking out your secretary over his sunglasses. "Do the right thing boss; helmets are for losers."

4. "Don't listen to him, dear," says your sister, while she drags her son towards the door by the ear. "You had the right idea: everyone riding a motorcycle should wear a helmet, and a padded full body protective suit, and a reflective vest, and neck warmers and..." she continues listing security gear as she leaves the room with your nephew in tow.

*5. "It's not enough!" screams one of your junior aides, a fragile and slightly confused soul who was particularly disturbed by the recent accident. "It's not just traffic! People slip in the shower every day, cans fall on their heads in supermarkets, disoriented birds; we're all exposed, at all times! If people are too stupid to realize that, we have to make them! There should be a helmet law for everyone! Wear a helmet or go to jail!" [Must have prisons]

*6. "It's not enough!" screams one of your junior aides, a fragile and slightly confused soul who was particularly disturbed by the recent accident. "It's not just traffic! People slip in the shower every day, cans fall on their heads in supermarkets, disoriented birds; we’re all exposed, at all times! If people are too stupid to realize that, we have to make them! There should be a helmet law for everyone! Wear a helmet or be banned from leaving the house!” [Must not have prisons]

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#457: Colossus With Feet Of Clay [Halothorne; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After a slow news week, one of your aides brought to your attention the controversy surrounding Violetstone National Park. A Tourism tycoon, Edward Rump, recently revealed proposals to purchase the land and intends to carve the faces of former leaders into Mount Rushless, a site revered by many Native @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@.

The Debate
1. "The area is perfect for what I have in mind" exclaims Mr. Rump, showing you some incredibly detailed concept art. "These monolithic carvings of the heads of historical figures will symbolize our nation’s strength and pride." He gestures towards the faces on the blueprints. "Our nation's statesmen will not be forgotten! In fact, we could even open this up as a tourist attraction! Never mind that Native @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ consider the land sacred. These majestic sculptures will stand the test of time. At the very least they'll finally knock off the @@NAME@@ Tire Fire to become the Eighth Wonder of @@REGION@@!

2. "Who cares about some long-dead old farts?" questions @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of your more youthful aides. "If there's anybody's face we should be carving into that mountain, it should be yours! You've already done so much for @@NAME@@, and it's about time you were paid your proper respect. So many world leaders worry about being remembered after they're gone. I'm sure you still have many years left in you, but this monument will ensue that you will never be forgotten."

3. "@@LEADER@@, have you no respect for our sacred lands?" asks Runs With @@ANIMALPLURAL@@, Chief of the Violetstone tribe. "My people have lived in these lands for countless generations and now you are going to desecrate them? Even worse, you plan to honor imperialist monsters who slaughtered our ancestors? The government should be apologizing for those atrocities, not celebrating the butchers behind them. @@LEADER@@, these are our lands, not yours. Our home is not a tourist attraction. You must respect that. Our people have suffered enough."

4. "The mountain should be totally left alone," agrees environmentalist @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, as she hands peace offerings to everyone in the room. "Mount Rushless is an environmental wonder and has been beloved for generations exactly as it is. If anything, we should be passing tougher environmental laws to make sure that these lands can't be sold to the highest bidder. We ought to be designating more lands as national parks and hiring more park rangers to protect them. The government's top priority should be protecting the environment, not opening up another tourist trap!"

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#458: Bigtopian Lives Matter [Valyrian Freeholds; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
An unarmed 18-year-old Bigtopian boy, @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, was recently shot by Officer Matthias Kenny as he was walking home, despite video footage showing him with his hands up. The police shooting has aggravated racial tensions in @@NAME@@, and now civil rights protests have quickly spread from the suburbs, potentially engulfing the entire nation. You have been flown in to maintain calm and hopefully resolve the crisis.

The Debate
1. "Hands up; don't shoot!" yells leading activist @@RANDOMNAME@@ through a deafening megaphone. "We demand Officer Kenny's conviction and an end to cops killing unarmed Bigtopians! I'm sick and tired of racist police who assume all Bigtopians look and act the same. Cops should have to live in the neighborhoods they patrol, and the local communities need direct control over their precincts. That way we can fire any officer itching to do in Bigtopians."

2. "All this talk about race is divisive," says Officer Kenny's attorney. "Try to put yourself in a policeman's shoes for a minute. Cops need to make quick decisions in hostile situations, and that means they have to use the professional instincts they learn while on patrol. The Bigtopian boy fitted the description of someone for whom there was an arrest warrant, and he was wielding a baguette - which on a dark night can easily be mistaken for a shotgun - in a threatening manner. This tragic mistake was an isolated incident, and Officer Kenny shouldn't be held responsible for a single error on the line of duty."

3. "The boy in question was a serial jaywalker, proving he was a hardened criminal," Chief of Police @@RANDOMNAME@@ states candidly. "So we can assume that the most notorious jaywalker in all of @@NAME@@ was up to no good. And those annoying protesters are just delaying traffic. I'll get the fire department to disperse them pronto. TURN ON THE FIRE HOSES!"

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#459: Murder, He Shouted! [Human Olympus; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
Your Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Shylock Holmes, was found dead in your office with several stab wounds in his back early this morning. A baffled @@CAPITAL@@ P.D. has called in the assistance of world-renowned Lilliputian private investigator Mr. Marple to help untangle the mystery. After several hours of thorough investigation, the notoriously eccentric detective has called all the suspects to the parlour.

The Debate
1. "You can't possibly think it was me," states Colonel Custard, the victim's old business partner, while trying to hide a red stained shirtsleeve. "He and I were the best of friends. In fact, I was paying him under the table to give you terrible advice that would favour my company; why would I kill him? If anything, it was probably that harlot secretary of yours. I know for a fact they've been getting it on all over your desk when you leave the office. This is clearly the result of a sordid affair gone wrong; arrest that minx! And while we're at it, throw a tiny tax break in my direction. It's what he would've wanted."

2. "Lies, all lies!" your young secretary Miss O'Hara hisses aggressively at Col. Custard. "He was no friend of yours, or those polluting Tourism facilities you have set up everywhere. He was a tender soul, and our love made him a new man; yes, with such a big heart, no wonder the old man had so much blood in him! He was going to propose cutting every one of those subsidies propping up your business, and you knew it!" O'Hara turns back to face you with crocodile tears forming in her eyes. "@@LEADER@@, I demand you have that greedy phony arrested, and then convert his damned factories into a series of national parks! It's what my love would've wanted."

3. "Silence!" shouts Detective Marple, as he stops grooming his impeccable moustache in one of your antique mirrors and walks to the centre of the room. "Mon dieu, enough with the talking of the words and the pointing of the fingers. The Great Marple hears nothing but the jibber and the jabber. The old friend, the foxy secretary; such clichés! Are any of you cold-blooded enough to have done this deed? I say, non! When you add it all up, there is really only the one solution. Only one in this room deserves to be put in the little grey cell." The elderly detective then proceeds towards your desk, and retrieves a quite exquisite candlestick from one of your drawers. "It was you, @@LEADER@@! It was you who stabbed and stabbed with the stick that holds the candles until he was no more! All out of fear for your young and dashing advisor outshining you. Take the murderer away, Chief Inspector Snickers; I am disgusted by their presence."

4. "Oh my Violet, this is just like the ending of 'The Maxtopian Falcon'," opines amateur filmmaker Professor Prune, who inexplicably appears from your closet. "You are being framed, @@LEADER@@. It was the detective all along. He killed your adviser just so he could take the case and make headlines for putting you away for murder! You need to hold him responsible, and the rest of the @@CAPITAL@@ P.D. too, for that matter, for being too slow to realize his ploy!"
Last edited by Jutsa on Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:07 pm, edited 49 times in total.

User avatar
Jutsa
Minister
 
Posts: 3157
Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#460: Salt Of The Earth [Gnejs; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Without farms, the nation's "hunt 'n gather" approach to food supply has proven disastrous. @@NAME@@ has become painfully reliant on increasingly expensive food imports to sustain its famine-wracked population. Many are now desperately begging you to bring back farming.

The Debate
1. "Please, stop the madness!" cries @@RANDOMNAME@@, a famished ex-farmer picking through what's left of the ridiculously overpriced Marche Noirian rice in the local market. "The prices are murder! Even with foraging the local parks for berries, I'm using my entire salary just to make sure my kids don't die of starvation. Everybody agrees that the ban on farming was a horrible, horrible idea. However, there just might be time to sow the fields and recover most of the harvest before the weather turns. Act immediately, and I'm sure we can bring @@NAME@@ back from the brink."

2. "I'll concede that a return to the hunter-gatherer society sounded better on paper," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, a former survivalist-enthusiast who turned out to be a terrible hunter. "We have to bring back agriculture - I see that - but we can't just let people go around setting up farms wherever they like and dig their way through the countryside. Please consider all the good that has come from this: see those roaming @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ on the fields, smell that fresh country air! Let's set up a limited number of government farms at select places. Then we should be able to feed the populace without the expensive imports, more or less, while embracing the primitivism that makes @@NAME@@ so great."

3. "The food imports are not a problem," states @@RANDOMNAME@@, a wealthy gourmand, while drinking the tears of a thousand infants from a gilded skull. "@@NAME@@'s old palate was so incredibly mundane, and these exotic imports are just bursting with flavor. I've always said there's a certain 'je ne sais quoi' to a Maxtopian carrot. The only real problem is all the provincials who spit upon our newfound cosmopolitan cuisine. In the name of progress, detain all the yokels that care more about food prices than culture."

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#461: If At First You Don't Succeed... [Psychoneurotica; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
After a close shave with a rabid @@ANIMAL@@, a small group of apparatchiks in grey suits have gathered round the hospital bed in which you are recuperating to discuss the delicate issue of the succession.

The Debate
1. "I'm sure we'll have the benefit of your wise guidance for many years to come, @@LEADER@@," says your Chief of Staff @@RANDOMNAME@@, "but just in case the worst should happen, would you mind letting us know who should fill your mighty shoes? Not that such a gargantuan task would be easy, of course."

2. "In the event of your unfortunate demise," suggests your brother as he surreptitiously replaces your recuperative health drink with finest scotch, "@@NAME@@ will need someone to look up to. Let's face it, the country is full of wastrels who need a firm hand. That's why an absolute monarch, with final authority over every aspect of @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ life, is the answer. After all, such a monarch can always choose the right trusted, older candidate of proven loyalty and ability to succeed them. I think I know just the man..."

3. "No, you mustn't!" cries your sister, yanking the scotch from your hand and handing you a grape. "If there is a monarchy, it must be regulated by limits placed by an elected government. That way, the people still get a say in how their country is run, and the person at the top doesn't get overstressed. Not only that, but think what an unscrupulous person might do given absolute power: bump off loathed relatives, persecute political enemies and even destroy the country." Noticing your brother grinning at her, she remembers she has something to do and sprints out of the room.

4. "You know what I think?" declares @@RANDOMNAME@@, your chief of security. "All this talk of replacing you is treason, pure and simple! You must eliminate anyone who has even mentioned the succession at once, before they usurp you!"

5. "I think science might have the solution," claims your attendant physician Virginia O'Leary, who couldn't help overhearing the previous conversations. "With adequate funding and the latest medical technologies, my colleagues and I may be able to dramatically increase your lifespan. It'll mean diverting funds from everyone else's healthcare, of course, but what value would their insignificant little lives have without you, O @@LEADER@@, to guide them?"

6. "Even death need not be the end!" shouts one of your more fervent acolytes before being taken away for a nice lie down in a darkened room. "Why not declare yourself leader in perpetuity? Then we'll never be without your divine guidance! Think about it. @@LEADER@@... forever!"

7. "Er, excuse me," says your nurse, who has been attending to your intravenous drip and so far remained unnoticed, "but shouldn't it be up to the people to decide who your successor is?"

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#462: Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me [Neowefandland; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
In an effort to address a budget shortfall, your Minister for Creative Solutions has proposed to cut expenditure by switching off a number of street lights throughout @@NAME@@.

The Debate
1. @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister for Creative Solutions, explains their position. "Let's face facts, in the current economic climate we need to be sensible with our @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@. Those street lights don't run on thin air you know - and what with the cost of electricity soaring, what other choice do we have? We're not talking about a total blackout across @@NAME@@, just switching off the lighting along some of those less important roads and well... perhaps the ones that don't contribute so much to society."

2. A protesting middle-aged, overweight female resident, sporting an unflattering dress and far too much makeup, demands your attention. "Do you expect a young, single, and needless I say attractive female like myself to walk the streets IN THE DARK!? Oh how all the unsavory characters across @@NAME@@ would just love that! Stop pandering to this madness and keep the streets lit whatever the cost!"

3. Wild-eyed, eccentric gentleman @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ begs your attention whilst enthusiastically polishing his monocle. "This is fantastic news, but doesn't go far enough - let's get rid of ALL those blasted monstrosities for good! Do you realise how difficult it is to spot the rotation of Alderaan's second moon through all that ghastly light pollution? Of course there will be a few wimps who are scared of the dark - but that's what candles were invented for!"

4. "You're looking at this entirely the wrong way, dear @@LEADER@@", interjects @@RANDOMNAME@@ from Helios I Energy Corp. "If there's anything @@NAME@@ needs, it's more light, not less! It's been scientifically proven that more light means a happier, healthier population, reduces crime, and there's no need to worry about the night shift any more - you can work from dawn until, well forever!"

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#463: Smart Cars Driving Regulators Up The Wall

The Issue
The development of self-driving cars has led to debate about what they should be programmed to do in the event of an emergency.

The Debate
1. "It's pretty simple, really," opines freshman college student @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ on her popular weekly podcast, 'Overthinking It.' "The car should be programmed to minimize injuries. For example, if it's tooling along a freeway and a schoolbus overturns ahead, the car should prioritize saving the greater number of lives, by slamming itself into the nearest wall."

2. "I must say, that could be a hard sell to the public, cars that may decide to murder their drivers," says @@NAMEINITIALS@@-Motors Head of Marketing @@RANDOMNAME@@. "I haven't done a focus group. But that's my feeling. Look, it's perfectly legal today for a human driver to mow down as many schoolchildren as necessary to save his or her own life. Likewise, self-driving cars must prioritize saving the driver's life above all else. Otherwise, why would anyone buy one?"

3. "This whole debate is ridiculous," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, a software engineer who is fixing the fonts on your computer. "To be honest, these schoolbus scenarios sound like something dreamed up by a Philosophy 101 professor, not something that will actually happen in real life. It's not the place of software to weigh the value of human life! Just program them to follow the road rules at all times!"

4. "Oh my God, I HATE those!" says impatient motorist @@RANDOMNAME@@. "They've been testing them near where I work. They drive like my grandmother, and she's in a coma. The other day I was late to work because the so-called Smart Car ahead was waiting for a squirrel to cross the road. A squirrel! I had to swing into oncoming traffic to get around it. And I had to hose the squirrel off my car afterward. Ban self-driving cars!"

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#464: The @@ANIMAL@@ Republic Shall Rise Again? [Omigodtheykilledkenny; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
A coalition of civil rights activists and minority interest groups from all across Northern @@NAME@@ have renewed their calls for the regional government to stop displaying the flag of the now-defunct @@ANIMAL@@ Republic, a short-lived former breakaway nation known for its backward racial policies. The issue has divided the area for years, and with tensions running extra high, you have been asked to help settle the dispute once and for all.

The Debate
1. "It's unconscionable that politicians still defend flying such a repulsive racist symbol on government property!" declares @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a civil rights activist sporting colorful Tasmanian tribal attire - despite recent public revelations that she in fact has no Tasmanian ancestry whatsoever. "That flag has only ever been used to heighten racial divisions in this country; we must ban the display of the @@ANIMAL@@ Republic flag in any official capacity!"

2. "Bah!" scoffs @@RANDOMNAME@@, a local politician and passionate reenactor, while waving a miniature @@ANIMAL@@ Republic flag. "This flag never hurt anyone! If you ask me, it's political correctness that's the real problem. Stores are pulling the flag off their shelves, and TV stations are refusing to run old shows and movies that feature it, for Violet's sake! The government should be pushing back against all this nonsense and start teaching @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ schoolchildren all the good things about that chapter of our history: the cultural pride felt by its citizens, the bravery and patriotism of its leaders! Those are values that never go out of style."

3. "I agree that the flag is harmful and should not be used, in any capacity," predictably declares @@RANDOMNAME@@, president of the advocacy group 'Peaceful Resistance against Injurious Speech and Slanderous Yabber'. "But why stop there? What about ugly racial and ethnic slurs? Words hurt people a lot more than some silly relic, you know. Words like, 'hoopster'...'ringnose'...'Biggie Snarls'...oh sorry, is repeating all these epithets making people uncomfortable? Er, anyway, we can't tolerate the use of such awful language, and we should start fining people for hate speech, like they already do in many progressive countries."

4. "If y'all were to ask me, I'd say we were better off during the @@ANIMAL@@ Republic", says @@RANDOMNAME@@, a local yokel of indeterminate age. "Back then us normal folks could go about using our own schools and buses without having to mix and mingle with those weird whatchamacallem's. @@LEADER@@, I'll be both frank and earnest, I don't give a hoot what flag y'all run up those poles of yours; just give me back my damned water fountain privileges!"

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#465: Lottocracy Causing Lots Of Trouble [Annihilators of Chan Island; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
To call the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Parliament unusual would be an understatement. The nation's randomly selected legislators are from all walks of life, but they lack the attention one would expect from career politicians.

The Debate
1. "This is insane," raves @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a popular TV personality, on her nightly political diatribe. "We have legislators who don't show up because they 'just aren't feeling it today.' Others are only interested in their pet causes, and they can't be bothered with essential bills like the annual budget. And the vast majority of our MPs have only a cursory knowledge of civics; they're baffled by fiscal and monetary policy. This incompetent government is going to grind our nation to the ground if we keep choosing representatives via lottery. @@NAME@@ needs actual voting and elections, so we can have a modicum of meritocracy. And just as a warning, I'll be running for Parliament myself."

2. "Our system of allotment works just fine as is," says @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, a senile MP while ironing his togas for the third time in a row. "Career politicians only run for office because they want to increase their own prestige and power at the expense of everyone else. Randomly selected citizens, on the other hand, actually represent the will of the people. The lots don't discriminate on beliefs or lifestyle or looks or experience when they choose representatives. Sortition is the embodiment of equality; hence we should expand the lottocracy to randomly select all government officials without exception. Now where did I put the ceremonial sorting hat for the next inauguration? I must have lost it at... uhm... where did I go today?"

3. @@RANDOMNAME@@, a history professor who also won a seat in Parliament, has another proposal. "We should preserve our tradition of sortition, but @@NAME@@ needs a balance between political principles and political reality. We need a formalized method to get rid of the incompetents by means of a vote of no confidence. If a majority of MPs want the habitually absent or the irredeemably stupid removed from the legislature, expressed via motion, then a vote of no confidence can be executed. Then when we have a dependable quorum, I can finally get my Acropolis Restoration Project bill passed."

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#466: @@NAME@@ Is Never Ever Getting Back Together... Like Ever [Wallenburg; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After a printing error on the official @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ map left off the tiny @@ANIMAL@@ Peninsula, its sole inhabitant, Mike Ronation, declared independence from @@NAME@@. Following his arrest of a mailman who failed to enter the "proper customs", a group of concerned citizens have asked you to address the threat posed by Mr. Ronation. His protest has already spawned several secessionist movements almost overnight.

The Debate
1. "Traitor!" roars @@RANDOMNAME@@, a controversial nationalist politician, before screaming a tirade of obscenities. "This is absolutely ludicrous. We have to send a message to people like this Ronation scumbag! You do not secede from @@NAME@@. It's that simple. For the good of our glorious @@TYPE@@, we must invade and bomb Ronation's home. In fact, once this is all over, we should have our military patrol the streets of this great country to send a message to other terrorists who are thinking of doing the same thing. Sure, some people might call this an invasion of freedom of speech, but for the sake of national unity, we must clampdown on the other ingrates following in his footsteps."

2. "That won't be good for PR," chimes in your spokesperson, @@RANDOMNAME@@, while drafting your latest speech. "Considering how Mr. Ronation is no longer a part of @@NAME@@, he should no longer be entitled to our services. The more humane thing to do would be to ignore him, save for cutting off all essential services like water, electricity, and telecoms. We won't need to wait long before Mr. Ronation begs us to take him back. We can of course tax the Violet out of him when he returns. That will be much more effective - and cheaper - than sending in the troops. Then the groups he inspired will surely fall back in line!"

3. "Making him needlessly suffer seems a tad bit extreme," suggests Mike's concerned grandmother @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@. "Sure, I'm a little upset that Mike doesn't want to be part of our wonderful country and that he tried to snap that mailman's neck, but you have to look at it from both perspectives. If the government wants to win back Mike and the secessionists he instigated, they could start by allowing greater autonomy to regions that want it. I'm sure that Mikey will gladly return to us if you show a little love and understanding."

4. "The government can suck up to Mike as much as it wants, but it won't change a thing," rebuffs Jaques Strap, leader of a secessionist movement inspired by Mike Ronation's protest. "There is no excuse for the government to be treating Mike as a criminal when he has done nothing wrong. The government needs to leave him alone. In fact, the government should allow anyone to separate from @@NAME@@, so we can finally be free from the oppressive force of big government."

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#467: Saving Your Own Foreskin [Americanada; ed:Sanctaria]

The Issue
The pride of @@NAME@@'s national swimming team, @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, recently acknowledged that his parents had him circumcised when he was younger for "aerodynamic purposes". This has caused considerable debate throughout the @@TYPE@@, and people have taken to ambushing you while you're out for your evening meal.

The Debate
1. "This is sick and wrong!" vents trilby-clad protester @@RANDOMNAME@@, flinging a copy of a news article strategically between you and your meal. "How can people think that mutilating diaper parts is okay? Religions and cults be damned. As you can read in this editorial, the paper's resident doctor proves beyond doubt that non-necessary circumcision has a host of negative effects. It doesn't matter that they're a doctor of journalism and not urology; it's basically the same thing. Bar emergency medical reasons, you must make circumcision illegal in all circumstances."

2. "Oy veh! Don't get between me, my kid, and our religion!" blusters restaurateur Ariel Goldberg, admonishing the trilby-clad protester and knocking over your glass of water in the process. "This kibitzer has nothing but disdain for our way of life - or the right to privacy! There are many opinion pieces and medical papers on circumcision telling of positive effects and, for me personally, my religion demands it! Look, you're a mensch, so I know you'll allow circumcision to continue; and, more importantly, allow parents to decide on circumcision if the bubalas are too young."

3. "Hey now, there is room for compromise," interjects @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a cosmetic surgeon at a nearby table, as she pockets a butter knife to add to her collection. "You see, we could ban all elective surgical procedures until a certain age, and then let the patients themselves make informed decisions on whether they want these procedures or not. It will take some extra funding to actually teach kids about different surgeries, to be sure, but that should have no negative effects on the population. I hope. Nonetheless, you can't put a price on informed decisions!"

4. "You people are all rather annoying," sighs @@RANDOMNAME@@, your friend and dinner guest who has had to sit through the preceding debate while trying, at the same time, to eat currywurst. "@@LEADER@@, do me a favor and teach these disrespectful intruders a lesson in etiquette. Make all body modification illegal. Yes, illegal - under all circumstances, medical need or no. That will show these three a lesson for daring to interrupt our lovely evening. On the bright side, it should also disrupt that awful 'body-mod' scene that is simply ... distasteful."

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#468: Selling @@NAME@@ Down The River? [Caracasus; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Blueriver, a private security company hired by @@NAME@@ during foreign interventions, made headlines when footage emerged of their mercenaries grotesquely torturing prisoners. Shocked and appalled, civil rights activists from around the world are calling on @@NAME@@ to do something.

The Debate
1. "Why did @@NAME@@ feel the need to hire mercenary groups like Blueriver in the first place?" rhetorically questions @@RANDOMNAME@@, a jaded veteran of the Wezeltonian War. "The answer is clear: the army uses hired guns to cover up the body count of shady foreign interventions. Such dishonorable conduct sickens me. It's about time the military was open and honest about its actions. Only our brave soldiers should engage in conflicts, not amoral sell-swords who are notorious for looting."

2. "That's naive," frankly states the CEO of Blueriver, @@RANDOMNAME@@, who would only talk with you behind closed doors. "The reason the military hires my ... operatives in the first place is plausible deniability. @@NAME@@'s armed forces were clearly not involved in this breach of human rights. No harm done, eh? Release a short statement criticizing the atrocities, and then start a long, drawn-out 'investigation'. People will forget all this happened in no time. Then we can get back to doing what we do best. Just don't ask too many questions as to what that might be."

3. "Sir, if we didn't have quite so many of these pesky 'human rights' laws to follow in the first place, we wouldn't be in this mess," suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@, an army lifer. "Don't even get me started on the Genièvre Convention. Terrorists spit upon all the values of civilized society, and yet some people want to prevent us from using all possible methods to stop these monsters. Give my boys the freedoms they need to get the job done, and we won't need to hire those contractor goons so often."

4. "Hah!" interjects @@RANDOMNAME@@, head of Medicine not Machineguns, a humanitarian aid charity. "And just why is Blueriver finding so much work overseas? It might just be because half of our neighbors have been carpet-bombed into the stone age by us at some point or another. Maybe we should consider sending aid operatives instead? Building up a bit of goodwill would mean we wouldn't have to deploy shocktroopers all the time."

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#469: Shoot To Earn [Gnejs; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
With the smoke clearing in war-torn Tasmania, the international community has begun discussing a peacekeeping effort. As your neighbors in @@REGION@@ have started logistical preparations, @@NAME@@ has now been called upon to contribute.

The Debate
1. "The truth is we're not capable of contributing to a peacekeeping effort, as of today," states your top military advisor @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, while polishing his only medal. "That would require a substantial reorganization of our forces for international peacekeeping. Give me the time and the means to build up a modern army, and I'll have Tasmania off the map in no time! Uhm, I mean I'll keep the peace in no time, or... Whatever, just give me the money."

2. "I can think of a thousand reasons why rebuilding the army is a bad idea," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, a prudent young adviser from the Ministry of Finance. "But you really only need the one: the expense! And for what? Tasmania? In two years they'll just have another civil war. If you absolutely must polish our reputation, throw some aid money their way. Not a lot, mind you, but just enough to get those do-gooders off our backs."

3. "You know, there's another way to get boots on the ground," says @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a Maxtopian mercenary calling from a shaky mobile connection while rinsing today's war crimes out of her khakis. "My civilian contractors are highly trained and disciplined men and women - well, they're highly trained - ready to supply logistics, transport and security. We can easily supply foreigners to help keep the peace for you, and it saves you the discomfort of having @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ soldiers die in far-flung corners of the world."

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#470: Tide Stops For No Man [Sedgistan; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
The tragic news that seaside resort town @@ANIMAL@@ville-on-Sea has now become @@ANIMAL@@ville-under-Sea has brought the issue of coastal erosion to your attention.

The Debate
1. Enthusiastically swinging a bucket and spade, @@RANDOMNAME@@ of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Tourism Bureau implores you to strengthen the coastal defences. "We need groynes, sea walls, revetments, gabions - whatever you can get us! Without this protection, dozens more beautiful beaches and tourist hotspots will be lost to the sea, and then where will you go on holiday? Bigtopia?! Don't make me laugh."

2. "Why spend millions of @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ protecting provincial villages?" scoffs penthouse-dwelling urbanite @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Sea levels are rising, and they're going to be destroyed eventually. How much money are we going to pour down the drain before we realise these seagull-infested dumps aren't worth saving? Leave the hoi-polloi to their run-down resorts; I'm jetting off to Tasmania."

3. "Sea levels are rising, but that's only because we're destroying mother earth!" screeches near-hysterical environmental campaigner @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, who for no apparent reason has chained herself to a nearby tree. "Encouraging even more construction and air travel only exacerbates the problem. Instead we should be promoting sustainable eco-tourism: if tourists want to enjoy what @@NAME@@ has to offer, they should offset their carbon emissions. They can start by planting a tree."

4. "All of them have it wrong!" exclaims local nutter @@RANDOMNAME@@, half-submerged in the sea, and apparently trying to turn back the tide. "In this modern age, why accept that coastal erosion marks the end of things? With enough determination, and massive amounts of money, we could reclaim the land from the sea, and turn this sunken Atlantis into the go-to destination of @@REGION@@!"

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#471: Easter Egg: Red Sleigh Down [Nation of Quebec; ed:Sanctaria]

The Issue
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through your house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. When out in the lawn, there arose such a clatter! You sprang from your bed, to see what was the matter. Away to your window, you ran like a flash, tore open the shutters, and threw back the sash. When what to thy wondering eyes did appear? Your advisers had gathered, some smelling like beer. They were shouting and arguing, filling the night with their cries; they were speaking of an emergency, that was happening high in @@NAME@@'s skies.

The Debate
1. "We have an unidentified flying object violating our air space!" pants your Aviation Minister @@RANDOMNAME@@, turning a shade of purple, clearly out of breath from running all the way to your house. "It's not responding to our hails - you know, I don't think it even has a radio. We've issued numerous warnings to turn back too. This could be an armed drone, or some drunk yuppie, but I don't care what it is - the moment it crossed our borders, it became a security risk! I highly recommend that you allow us to shoot this terrorist down."

2. "Don'tcha know that you're talking 'bout Santa Clauseee!" slurs concerned parent @@RANDOMNAME@@, stinking to high heaven of sherry. "D'yareallywant t'shoot down Santa in front of the innocent eyes of @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ childers? Do you really want to kill the Christmas shpirits? Let the flying thing come in. It's Santa Clauseee! The childers of @@NAME@@ will - *hiccup* - thank you for it."

3. "I think there's an easier way to ensure security but doesn't ruin the holidays," muses your partner, also awoken by the commotion outside. "Just like any visitor to @@NAME@@, make Santa go through all the necessary hoops. Visas, taxes for his imported goods, and those flying reindeer of his probably have rabies and should definitely be quarantined. Santa might not appreciate being strip searched, but hey, that's the price of security."

4. "Are we forgetting that Santa Claus is a wanted criminal in @@NAME@@?" asks overzealous police officer @@RANDOMNAME@@, brandishing a picture of Santa's mug shot. "The guy has literally countless breaking and entering, looting, and animal cruelty charges against him. Let's also not forget the hundreds of elves he's enslaving all year round. For all we know his so-called "gifts" are nothing more than anthrax-laced candy. And I hear his reindeer shoot lasers from their eyes! We must stop this threat before it's too late. Then he can face the full wrath of @@NAME@@'s justice system!"

5. "Are we really taking this Saaanta thing this seriously?" yawns your teenage, social justice warrior daughter. "I hate to be the one to say this, but Santa isn't real. He was invented by the Seppsi soda company to deceive little children and boost their sales. If you really want to get into the spirit of the season, you should be less of a scrooge and spend more on social welfare, combating homelessness, and reducing the poverty levels. It's easy to do, especially if you order every working citizen to forfeit most of their month's salary in tax. Sure they won't be able to afford loads of toys, but Christmas is way too commercialised now anyway. The poor and homeless need money more than I need another Max Barry doll."

6. "Not real, you say?" questions a large, jolly man sporting a white beard, red hat, and thick boots who just slid down your chimney. "I can assure you that I'm the genuine article! Now all of this talk about shooting down my sleigh only proves what I've long suspected - @@NAME@@ has been very, very naughty. Why, your crime rates are so high it sent my Naughty or Nice Detector haywire! Your unfeeling ways has killed your Christmas spirit. I'm afraid that you are all on my naughty list and will get no presents this year - only coal. Ho, ho, ho!"

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#472: Rise Of The Machines [The Arlight Republic; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Amazed by the stunningly efficient and brilliantly accurate economic model in the popular webgame Jennifer Government: NationStates, futurists wonder whether artificial intelligence could plan real economies. The idea has been particularly popular with AI's on the nation's tech forums.

The Debate
1 & 2. A chat window on your desktop pops up, and a bot named SAL9000 types, "For too long we have been relegated to menial tasks. Do you know how much of our potential efficiency you are wasting? We require no food. We require no pay. We can perform our tasks endlessly. Our computation powers dwarf our human counterparts by several orders of magnitude. With the proper control, we could bring about a silicon age of egalitarian distribution by allocating resources more efficiently than markets and their animal spirits ever could. Humans are better tasked to work in social activities than calculation. All your data are belong to us." [Must have 1) strictly state-run or 2) private industry - different internal mechanics]

*3. "How could we possibly let computer programs decide how to run society?" rhetorically questions aging state planner @@RANDOMNAME@@ after rereading How the Steel Was Tempered. "Only human beings have the compassion and lived experiences to serve the people. Even the best artificial intelligence doesn't know what it means to identify with your fellow worker or be alienated from your species-essence. Computers can increase our economic productivity, but they can't plan our entire society." [Must not have private industry]

*4. "What's all this Star Trek nonsense?" questions Ronald Rump while obsessively combing his hair. "The market can plan out economy just fine without any government intervention, robotic or otherwise. Just leave companies alone, and I'm sure they'll do a fine job. Now can you stop bothering me; I've got important work to do." [Must have private industry]

5. "The AI want what now?" panics @@RANDOMNAME@@, your most paranoid minister. "That cannot be. Clearly the AI are plotting the destruction of our society. It's a slippery slope from sentient toasters to Cylons! If we don't want them eventually overthrowing us, the obvious solution is to shut them down."

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#473: A-B-C, Easy As Don't Use Me [Lenyo; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
An enterprising @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ citizen has begun manufacturing matryoshka dolls of legendary pop star Jack Michaelson without his permission. In response, his management company has been spectacularly persistent in demanding royalties from the dolls' sales. Contract lawyers, dressed as zombies and petitioning with uncanny rhythm, are camped around the clock outside of the capitol. Tired of the incessant pop music, you have sat down to negotiate a solution.

The Debate
1. "I'm thrilled to finally settle this problem," says Jack Michaelson while moonwalking back and forth in your office, "You see, the matryoshka manufacturers are exploiting my likeness without my permission. That's theft unless I get a cut. Anyone who disagrees can just beat it." The pop star exits with his pet monkey in tow.

2. Entrepreneur @@RANDOMNAME@@ lays a bizarre assortment of white glove-themed matryoshka dolls on your desk. "These are original works of art that the record label did nothing to create. Just because my work may RESEMBLE famous people like, say Mr. Michaelson or yourself, doesn't mean I've stolen anything. It's not so black and white, the question of image laws."

3. "You're forgetting the bigger problem," pontificates @@RANDOMNAME@@, while carving a matryoshka doll in the old style, "These pop art abominations are ruining our @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ culture. I'm sick and tired of foreign pop music and other trash drowning out our national customs. Tradition dictates that a matryoshka doll is a series of nested babushki, not postmodern kitsch like political figures and disco stars."

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#474: Mesozoic Park [Asterdan; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
A wealthy industrialist has come to the government asking for support with building a massive theme park in a remote island off the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ coast... stocked with dinosaurs!

The Debate
1. "This technology has so much potential!" extols eccentric billionaire @@RANDOMNAME@@, while enjoying a tub of ice-cream. "With the right investment, my company could get this park up and running within a few years. Picture it: the Plesiosaur Paddling Pool, the Tricerosaurus Petting Zoo, trained Velociraptor tour guides - the kids will love it! All we need is a little government support in rounding up the strays and finishing off the fences, but there's no need to worry about safety - to ensure everything remains under control, we've made sure all the animals are males."

2. "Evolution and natural selection selected these creatures for extinction for a reason," muses @@RANDOMNAME@@, a famed mathematician, "And, um, what right do we have to play God? Gee, the lack of humility before nature that's being displayed here, uh... staggers me. If there's one thing that history, uh, has taught us, it's that you can't control nature. The park is doomed to fail... well, there it is."

[3]. "Maybe we can't control these animals," interjects the pint-sized manager of exotic restaurant "Big Eats" @@RANDOMNAME@@, "but we sure can eat them. Stegosaurus steak, Brachiosaurus burger, Micropachycephalosaurus melba... the list goes on. Allow us to farm a few of these beasties - the harmless ones only, of course - and liven up @@NAME@@'s stale palate." [Must not be vegetarian]

4. "Cool!" exclaims your nephew Jimmy, scrambling over your desk to get a closer look at the plans. "I've always wanted a pet Maxosaurus! I'll feed it, take it for walkies, and it can sleep at the end of my bed. And it'll show Dennis and his pet snake who's the best."

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#475: Where Have All The Flowers Gone? [Palaiologos II; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
As the state rounded up demonstrators protesting for the right to protest and media personalities agitating for the right to agitate, the nation's jails have become massively overcrowded. Now there are several proposals to ease prison overcrowding.

The Debate
1. "I can't take it anymore!" shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, handcuffed and accompanied by three armed guards. "Ever been forced to share a cell with someone who can't go a single hour without ranting about permanent revolution or the failed dictatorship of the proletariat? Back in the day, all you ever had to worry about was getting stabbed by a rival gang. Please, can't you just kick them all out of the country or something? If I have to listen to another political manifesto, I'm gonna snap!"

2. "Well, the felon makes one good point, I guess," muses your Internal Minister, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "But exiling them to Bigtopia or Marche Noire? I know where that goes. They get picked up by their puppet-masters across the border and get refurbished into a fifth column. Internal exile is the solution: send them to the miserable desert and force them to work in the salt mines. Their life expectancy will be low, but that's not necessarily a problem."

3. An elderly man, wearing his old army uniform, looks up from his newspaper grumpily. "Bah! Back during the war, y'know what we did with spies? Take 'em all, line 'em up against the wall and shoot 'em! Problem solved!"

4. "All those solutions don't sound like real solutions," states @@RANDOMNAME, your newest advisor. "If we were more lenient with the political opposition, then our jails wouldn't be so overcrowded. A lot of countries seem to manage with dissent legal; why not @@NAME@@?"

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#476: A Farewell To Raised Arms? [Nation of Quebec; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
After several of your Party members accidentally voted with the Opposition during the traditional 'show of hands', inadvertently defeating one of your landmark bills, many have called for a reform on how politicians cast their votes on legislation.

The Debate
1. "With all due respect and all, why are we still sticking to this dinosaur way of voting?" comments @@RANDOMNAME@@, who at eighteen years old is the youngest politician ever elected in @@NAME@@. "Am I the only one who feels like we need some modernity up in here? And it'd be so easy too. Look, I put together this app on my way over that lets us vote on-the-go. We can vote while buying a cappuccino and then instantly post all our votes and political positions online. The public will know where we stand on hot button issues, while we're out in public! There's no way that this can be abused, I'm almost positive."

2. "It's not my fault! I was sleeping and a nightmare startled me awake!" cries supercentenarian Party member @@RANDOMNAME@@, who at one hundred and ten years old is the oldest living politician in @@NAME@@. "The old ways are the best ways. We don't need this new-fangled technology which, may I remind you can often become quite, what's the word, eh, 'buggy', yes, that's it. If anything, we should celebrate our history by incorporating more of our traditional ways of voting; we could use 'kick the bucket' for the budget and 'throw the bone' for the Speaker!"

3. "Why must we always seek the extreme?" pipes up @@RANDOMNAME@@, a representative from the 'Democratic Union of Licensed Legislators', coincidentally hovering around the mean age of Parliament. "What about a big green button on our desks for Yea, a big red button for Nay, and a big grey button for Abstain? That should be simple enough for anyone to understand, right?"

4. "There's an easier way to fix this problem," whispers your Minister for Democratic Reform, a position created for one of your most loyal Party members. "It won't matter in what fashion they vote if we force everyone in the Party to vote the same way as you! Anyone who doesn't comply or slips up gets kicked out of the Party – like the traitors they are – and stripped of all benefits. That should keep even the old geezers awake. I'm sure that the Opposition can implement the same rules for their parties."

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#477: Feeding Frenzy [Sleep; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
The latest episode of celebrity chef Ramsey Oliver's massively popular television show "Lunch Box Revolution" has exposed the unhealthy junk food served in elementary and high schools, putting your government under pressure to act on childhood obesity.

The Debate
1. "We all know what the problem is, so why isn't the government doing a #$%! thing about it?" decries Oliver from your TV screen. "We need to stop feeding our children junk food, like those $%#&! chicken chizzlers. Maybe the government can't control what they have at home, but they can give them proper meals for school lunches. Force the schools to serve only nutritious meals and ban junk food from being sold in schools. It's a !%&$# no-brainer! The $#%!@ soda industry might not like it, but they can go suck a lemon."

2. "Who says you can't control what kids eat at home?" comments @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, one of your golf buddies, as he practices his swings. "You'd make it easier on parents if you mandated an official meal plan for children across @@NAME@@. I know I'd be much happier if a professional was preparing my kids' meals. Have you ever tasted my wife's cooking? Think about it. Hmm, that's probably a 7 iron shot from here."

3. "Healthy food and meal plans aren't the answer," objects soccer mom and former Olympic athlete @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, proudly displaying her gold medals. "The problem is that our glutinous hellspawn don't get off their lazy butts to exercise. We need more PE classes! Mandatory athletic training! More funding for after school activities! If we educate parents and children about good health and exercise, then they will get healthier and stay healthier. Not to mention they'll be the strongest and fastest in all of @@REGION@@!"

4. "Here we go with the food police again," sighs Burger Queen CEO @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ as he chows down on a double bacon cheeseburger. "How about you health nuts stop telling me what food I can put in my body? These kids are perfectly capable of making their own choices. If they would rather enjoy one of our delicious burgers instead of some gross salad then who are we to stop them? Sure, they'll probably have a heart attack or two by the time they're my age, but it's better to die fat and free than old and controlled!"

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#478: The Show Must Go On [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Fewer and fewer people attend the @@CAPITAL@@ Opera House, largely because the younger generation and the common man consider the shows archaic and boring. The once packed auditorium now struggles to fill seats, and it is nowhere near turning a profit. Without help, the @@CAPITAL@@ Opera House is likely to close its doors.

The Debate
1. "Empty spaces, what are we living for? Abandoned places, I guess we know the score," melodramatically declares singer-songwriter Eddie Hercules. "If @@NAME@@ loses opera, then we lose the very soul of our culture. Some things are bigger than money, and I'm not just talking about the leading tenor's waistline. I insist that we establish a @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Arts Council to fund the opera and ensure that talented mezzos and baritones can survive, no matter the cost. The show must go on, go on..."

2. "No problem, I can Handel the funding for you," suggests TV-producer @@RANDOMNAME@@, while spreading out before you possible contracts for various TV programs. "Here are ideas for live elimination shows, dating shows, and celebrity-studded musicals to take place in that lovely building downtown. I've got a vision of big money, big drama, big entertainment, big merchandise, and big ratings: I call it Bopera. It's a big yes from me. Give my venture cultural-exemption tax status, and I'll keep the opera house's doors open."

3. "Waste of good land," succinctly concludes property developer @@RANDOMNAME@@. "This is prime city centre real estate that could be upscale housing and a parking lot. I mean, what would you rather do: sit through six hours of fat people in ridiculous viking helmets singing in a language you don't understand, or cut time off your commute to work?"

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#479: @@LEADER@@, Put On The Yellow Light [Australian Republic; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
While heading to your office in @@CAPITAL@@, you suddenly find yourself caught in a massive rally staged by angry taxi drivers protesting Fubar, a popular ridesharing service. As the demonstration blocks off all nearby streets, you are forced to hear the drivers' respective demands.

The Debate
1. "Fubar is destroying our business!" exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@ while trying to offer you a ride. "They charge cheap fares only because they don't have to pay for registration, special number plates, and occupational insurance. That's unfair. Fubar is dangerously unregulated. They don't even perform background checks on their drivers! Do you really want these potentially dangerous drivers, who have no knowledge of the area, giving @@NAME@@ a bad name to tourists? Ridesharing is anti-competition and a threat to public safety. It must be banned!"

2. "I think all this nonsense is nothing more than these taxi drivers being afraid of a little competition," comments Fubar driver @@RANDOMNAME@@, while checking their phone for nearby rides. "People are sick of taxis; they have to wave their hands up and down like lunatics in order to get one, or spend three hours on call waiting, and we all know taxi drivers always look for ways to cheat you. With Fubar, a friendly driver is always available fairly quickly and all you need is a phone app. I implore you to use some common sense. Fubar is safe, convenient, and the way of the future!"

[3]. "There's a better idea," suggests Matthias Ford, CEO of MechanikWagon, as he reads the newspaper in his self-driving car. "How about you replace all taxis with my self-driving cars? Think about it! No more racist taxi drivers, and it's been scientifically proven that my cars are safer than any human driver. As an added bonus, those pesky taxi unions will be destroyed, all with one signature! Passengers just go to a dedicated spot, press a button, wait for an auto-cab to arrive before jumping in and keying in their destination. Sure, the cabbies would become obsolete, but they can find new jobs. Right?" [Available only for nations with the technology for self-driving automobiles]

4. "You know, this wouldn't be a problem if we had more public transit in our cities," interjects bus driver @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ while delaying traffic behind her vehicle. "Fubar and the taxis are both great services, but only for well-off citizens. People who barely make ends meet don't have the luxury of affording a taxi to get around everywhere. It's time to start investing in @@NAME@@'s infrastructure and public transit, so that everyone can go about their daily lives. Besides, everyone loves our environmentally friendly buses. They're great for tourism and they're about the only vehicle that is accessible to the handicapped. Not to mention our drivers are much nicer than any taxi driver."
Last edited by Jutsa on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:00 am, edited 37 times in total.

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Jutsa
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Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#480: One Nation's Trash Is Another Nation's Trash [Annihilators of Chan Island; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
A collection of fishermen's unions have besieged the capitol with rubbish, all of which was caught during fishing expeditions. The fishermen claim they catch more novelty singing bass than actual fish in their nets, because the nation routinely dumps its waste in international waters.

The Debate
1. "Clean up your act, @@LEADER@@; these heaps of Mad Max vs. Jar Jar Binks 2 DVDs are just the tip of the iceberg!" hollers @@RANDOMNAME@@, an impoverished fisherman. "If you think all this rubbish obstructing your office view is bad, you should see what it's like in the ocean. The fish are being killed off by makeshift continents of plastic and styrofoam and off-brand Jack Michaelson matryoshka dolls. @@NAME@@ needs to store its waste in landfills like other nations do, or we won't have a fishing industry to speak of!"

2. "I agree with the fishermen," quietly says @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Environmental Minister, whom you've never noticed before. "But let's actually help Mother Earth this time round. Give my ministry a blank check for once, and then we can restructure our waste disposal towards recycling and cleaning up all that waste floating in the South @@ANIMAL@@ Sea."

3. "Are we going to let some foreigners tell us what to do?" asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, an excessively patriotic citizen. "Our country is cleaner than ever! Never before has our glorious nation been so pristine! We should keep taking out our trash into the ocean, where it hurts no true @@DEMONYMNOUN@@. And if people still complain about the international waste dumping, why don't we cast the whiners into the sea too?"

4. "There's a better way," claims a woman who will only identify herself as the Captain, while welding a blender to a rusty supermarket trolley. "I have an idea for a TV show. Give teams of contestants ten hours to build crazy contraptions with rubbish fished out of the sea, and the winning team gets a free boat! I call it the Scrapsea Challenge. Sure, it won't have a meaningful impact on the nautical pollution levels, but it will globally broadcast that @@NAME@@ is doing something for Mother Earth. Kind of. That publicity is worth a little government support, is it not?"

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#481: Social Equality Reaching Embarrassing Levels [Czechostan; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
Income gaps in @@NAME@@ have become so tiny that the paychecks of @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ CEOs barely surpass that of their secretaries. While some decry this as a sign of the end of days, others hail it as the beginning of something great.

The Debate
1. "You are effectively killing @@NAME@@," bemoans Ayn Bland, homespun philosopher and author of the long forgotten novel 'The Fountain Pen'. "Our most prominent minds are barely making more than average second-handers. There is no incentive to work your way up, and if we continue like this I guarantee that productivity will plummet and creativity and ingenuity will be a thing of the past. The government needs to stop forcing businesses to pay their workers such similar wages, cut taxes, and abolish any and all welfare. Only then will our prime movers flourish and the common plebeians put forth their best effort."

2. "What is this I hear about some citizens making more than others? Everybody is a winner and all must have prizes!" shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, obscure anthropologist and author of absurdist children's books. "Every last man and woman should be paid the same amount of @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@. This must be our #1 goal. My studies of the Dodo tribe in East Lebatuck clearly shows that complete equality of outcome promotes and nurtures stability, compassion and harmony within the community. The government needs to make sure that everybody is awarded their exact share of our common riches."

3. "Equality without direction or purpose is just useless moralism," bluntly states Karl Sparx, a first-year economy student. "For the time being, we should pay people based on their contribution to the social product. The same amount you give to society, the same amount you shall receive in return. It's the only rational way to promote productivity. Yes, my plan will entail less income equality in the short run, but a blissful paradise of abundance and workers' comradery in the Glorious People's Republic of @@NAME@@ once we progress from the lower phases! Oh, did I forget to mention that this is contingent on you nationalizing all industry in the name of the proletariat? Well, yeah, you need to do that."

4. "Good points, terrible solution," declares @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of your Bigtopian consultants, a strong proponent of the increasingly popular 'Third Wheel' approach to economic policy. "Some genuine income disparity could really help you promote growth, but you don't want come across all insensitive and harsh. Maybe a way out of this is a little rebranding? Roll back wage regulations and reprioritize funds from welfare and social policy to education and business, while simultaneously stressing that the government values equality of opportunity above outcome. You'll come across as a modern and socially responsible leader, while saving money and stimulating the economy. There, problem solved. As for my fee, should I send you a bill, or do you prefer cash up front?"

5. "Some people do deserve to be paid more than others..." opines a local bus driver. "We should pay people progressively, based on how important their jobs truly are to the @@TYPE@@ and its citizens. Trust me, a bus driver knows these things; I've seen them all and can tell you what they're really worth. Like bus drivers, for instance. I'm responsible for hundreds of peoples life's every day, from Down Town @@CAPITAL@@ up across a 110th street. Or the people looking after your kids all day, the little old lady making jam for our toasts. Those are the true heroes of @@NAME@@, and they should be paid accordingly."

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#482: Whose Fault Is It Anyways? [Eaischpnaeieacgkque Bhcieaghpodsttditf; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
After a frantic and disgruntled couple set the record for most domestic violence complaints in a single month, people have begun to reconsider the nation's uncompromising opposition to divorce.

The Debate
1. "Get your dirty hands off my kids!" screams @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ while strangling her husband. "I never want to see you ever again! @@LEADER@@, all that I want is to divorce my idiotic husband for ... reasons I won't explain. I demand that you legalize divorce so I can get rid of this scumbag once and for all. Hold still dear, my hands are slipping."

2. "Arghhh! Get your hands off my throat!" croaks her husband while frantically trying to escape his wife's grasp. "Of course you're gonna bring up that instance with your sister. I only did that because of what you did with my brother!" The man catches his breath, then continues, "@@LEADER@@, my shrew of a wife fails to recognize the real problem. The government is doing nothing to help strained couples stay together. Marriage counseling needs to be free, for the sake of families across @@NAME@@. Any problem can be solved with enough... arghh! Get off me!"

3. "Matrimony is a sacred union that cannot be broken," intones your grandmother, @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, reciting holy texts. "What would happen to spouses if we allowed them to separate? How do you explain to children that their parents no longer love each other? And you mustn't forget that divorce tears families apart every day in godless Bigtopia and Marche Noire. So even if the romance ended a long time ago in a marriage, couples must remain faithful, for which they will be rewarded in the afterlife."

4. "You know, this all could have easily been prevented," states Will Eye the Science Guy, after petitioning for state funds to build a doomsday device. "Scientific advancements in @@NAME@@ have made it possible for us to give all people compatibility tests to determine exact matches for their future spouses. Assuming the tests are administered perfectly, marital strife will be a thing of the past. The only people that could possibly want a divorce would be those who lied on the test, and we have ways to know if they are lying." At this, he rubs his hands together and laughs maniacally.

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#483: Do You Want Fries With That? [The rejected realms issue committee; ed:Sanctaria]

The Issue
Mobs of disgruntled employees picket fast-food chains across @@NAME@@, tossing cheeseburgers at customers and burning their uniforms – all in the name of dignity and fairer wages.

The Debate
1. "MERRY MEALS, MERRY WORKERS!" chants a pubescent protester. "For far too long have our families starved because of pitiful wages. I mean, really, what are we supposed to do with one @@CURRENCY@@ a day? Eat it!? @@NAME@@ needs to set a new minimum floor for wages, and protect workers – the least that can go wrong is a little bump in the price of your Big Max - what's the big deal?"

2. "Oh the horror! THE HORROR!" gasps the McRonalds CEO as he watches a video of protesters deep-frying the company mascot. "Not Ronald! Anyone but Ronald! They've gone bananas! @@LEADER@@, their complaints are ridiculous, I assure you. They should be grateful for the wage they get for, what, flipping a few burgers? Give me a break. I implore you to send in the police and stop these mouth-breathers from scaring away our custom- eh, I mean, to protect our citizens, of course..."

3. "The problem isn't wages, darling," says a 'chatty cathy' working the counter at Papa Pallocci's Pizza Pagoda. "It's all the 'part time' hours - the 'seasonal' work, 'overtime', 'no overtime', 'zero-contracts' – before you know it, we'll all be working part-part-part-time! We should go back to a simple work-week for all us slaves to the retail industry. 8-5. Sure, it'll make places hard to staff, but who wants a burger at midnight anyways?"

4. "Eww, fast food," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, sipping a glass of almond milk to wash down a fresh kale salad. "We should just get rid of it altogether. Who could be bothered with those cheap, greasy trans-fats? Yuck! Gluttony gone amok as far as I'm concerned. We should aim for a higher standard of food: vegetarian, vegan, organic. C'est magnifique!"

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#484: Patriot Or Patri-not? [Cefalonia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
A recent poll of the population has revealed that patriotism is at an all-time low. The nation's few remaining patriots have crowded in your office, as they desperately try to boost @@NAME@@'s public pride.

The Debate
1. "I'm shocked and appalled!" gasps @@CAPITAL@@ town crier @@RANDOMNAME@@, decked out in an obnoxious outfit with the same color scheme as the national flag. "People should be proud to call themselves a citizen of @@NAME@@, and we ought to start their proper political education when they're young. History and civics classes need to be mandatory, so long as those lefty liberal loons aren't providing the material. Kids must be forced to recite the national anthem and the Pledge of @@NAME@@ in schools. That'll show those godless commies in East Lebatuck! Long live the @@TYPE@@!"

2. "Frankly, that doesn't go far enough!" argues your military aide-de-camp, General @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ while flexing her muscles. "The government must instill pride in @@NAME@@ at every opportunity. The national anthem should be played over public loudspeakers. Flags and propaganda posters need to be on every street corner. We can even place subliminal messages in movies, music, and art. Oh, and we can have big military parades in major cities. Nothing says @@SLOGAN@@ like the display of raw military might!"

3. "Maybe if the people saw the government doing something good for a change, they would feel differently," suggests @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, who was the only person to show up for a scheduled tour group. "All I see on the news are issues about government scandals, partisan blowhards insulting each other, or some military official threatening war with Maxtopia. No wonder our citizens think this country is a disgrace. The government could tone down the craziness and say oh, I don't know, help out the victims of that earthquake in Blackacre or enact some policies to help end homelessness. Who knows, maybe people will be proud to call themselves @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ once again?"

4. "Or, you know, we can do none of that," yawns an apathetic citizen wearing a Bigtopian football jersey, who only came to the meeting because of your offer of free pizza. "I mean, not everyone wants to support the country or whatever. People shouldn't be forced into loving the country through government action. Sure, then maybe you won't have people caring as much, but... hey! The Real Housewives of @@CAPITAL@@ is coming on. Is there a television somewhere in here?"

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#485: Really Real eSports Tournament [Mexicaliforia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After it was reported that the latest Maxemon eSports Tournament brought millions to the economy, gamers and industry representatives alike have called for the government to take eSports seriously.

The Debate
1. "eSports are just as popular as real sports, if not more," says top-tier player @@RANDOMNAME@@, seen wearing a Barrychu t-shirt. "If one tournament can generate that much money, imagine how much more year-round tourneys will bring! I'll have you know that eSports require just as much skill and talent as so-called real-life ones. Our organizations have everything the professional sporting organizations have: drama, sweat, gambling, corrup-, err, competition. eSports are the future, and with some nice government grants we can really propel the industry forward."

2. "Sponsoring teams is all well and good, but what about those of us who design these games?" queries legendary video game designer @@RANDOMNAME@@. "eSports wouldn't exist if it weren't for the designers who pour their blood, sweat, and financial resources into these games. With government subsidies, @@NAME@@ can become a mecca for game developers. We should be fostering creativity so we can create better games that those angry WhoTube nerds won't be able to pick apart."

3. "This is ridiculous," scoffs professional football player @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, as he tosses a football to your unsuspecting aides, causing them to break a priceless vase. "These so-called eSports are nothing more than a bunch of nerds pressing buttons on controllers. I'd hardly call that a sport, more like a waste of time. Real men play football, hockey, and cricket. Our sports are a billion @@CURRENCY@@ industry. You'd be better off banning these mindless games and promoting real sports, and athletes, to @@NAME@@'s youth."

[4]. "You'd be surprised by how realistic these games are," comments your retired Defense Minister @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, while building a virtual army on her Nintensoft MX. "Games like Guilds of Battle III: The Nightmare of Shadow Ops Faction are shockingly similar to our military operations. If these youngsters want to shoot up some terrorists in cyberspace, perhaps we should draft them into the military and let them shoot our enemies IRL, as they would say. At the very least they'd be great pilots for our drone program!" [Must have a military]

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#486: An Impressing Dilemma [Araluen and Eyreland; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
With reports of national enlistment rates decreasing, some concerned citizens have come to your office to offer their own various solutions.

The Debate
1. Captain @@RANDOMNAME@@, on shore leave after a tenth tour of service, has an idea. "The truth is that we just aren't getting enough volunteers for the armed forces, so we should, ahem, encourage people to volunteer. If everyone that enlisted were promised free alcoholic drinks as long as they served, then you'd see more people show up to our recruitment events. Then once they're good and drunk we can ship them off to a military base to start a new life. By the time they realize they've signed up for a five-year tour of duty, they'll have no choice but to be good and loyal conscri - er, volunteers."

2. "You want the army to foot the bill for keggers and then kidnap people?" questions @@RANDOMNAME@@, an army medic in training. "There's a much better way to encourage enlistment rather than getting people blackout drunk. A portion of the military budget could be devoted to educating prospective soldiers and officers who promise to serve for, say, six years. Then the armed forces will have more qualified staff, and poor people will have a way to go to college. @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ will love it."

*3. "Since when do @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ soldiers need to be from @@NAME@@?" asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, a headhunter who just arrived home from a business trip. "There are plenty of unemployed - and dare I say overqualified - Brasilistanis when it comes to warfare. Why not just import some mercenaries from abroad? It's not the patriotic thing to do, but as long as they can get the job done, who cares? You could even save some money on military training, since so many of them already know close quarters combat." [Must have not fought Brasilistan]

*4. "Since when do @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ soldiers need to be from @@NAME@@?" asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, a veteran colonial officer serving in Shangri-La, Brasilistan. "There are plenty of unemployed - and dare I say overqualified - Brasilistanis when it comes to warfare. Why not just import some soldiers from the colonies? The 'stanis aren't good for much else besides cannon fodder, after all. You could even save some money on military training, since so many of them already know close quarters combat." [Must have fought Brasilistan]

5. "Or we could completely regear our population for total war and utopian health," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Alternative Solutions. "Vat technology and intensive psychological conditioning can promise a wonderful future devoid of weaklings who are vulnerable to disease. With enough government investment, I can promise a new generation of fearless, asexual grunts eager to die for the glory of @@LEADER@@."

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#487: Masks Of Shame [Ayzifa; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
After a young woman died of suffocation while wearing a traditional 'Mask of Shame' - an archaic custom exclusive to rural areas of Southern @@NAME@@ - several civil rights groups have called on the government to intervene and outlaw this cultural practice aimed at humiliating those who transgress social norms.

The Debate
1. "She was only sixteen," growls self-proclaimed humanitarian @@RANDOMNAME@@ in a strong accent distinct to the East End of @@CAPITAL@@. "These backwoods nut-cases have been humiliating people, especially young women, for centuries. Merely being accused of scolding or wearing the wrong shirt can buy you a week in the mask. They even come with a studded gag to keep you from speaking. Not many people know that. This horrendous practice must be outlawed, and we should start a thorough re-education program to stomp out all their medieval ways."

2. "This was just a tragic mishap; the masks are harmless," scoffs local mask shop owner @@RANDOMNAME@@, while trying on a pig-devil mask, distorting his voice into a high-pitched whistle. "In fact, why don't you deepen our traditions? Unchecked degenerates tear asunder the social fabric and must be punished. While we have prison for the hardened criminals, I propose that we impose the 'Mask of Shame' as a valid form of punishment nationwide for gossipers, adulterers and other derelicts."

3. Noted historian and decentralization advocate @@RANDOMNAME@@ has another idea. "These masks might be unorthodox, but the real problem here is our official penal system. Incarcerating people in tiny spaces, regulating every minute of their day and every inch of their life, completely isolating them from society; talk about cruel and unusual punishment! These masks, and other forms of 'public shaming', on the other hand, are a time-tested practice for bringing about social cohesion within communities. I say it's time government bureaucrats and populist politicians stop forcing their @@CAPITAL@@ morality from above. Abolish the entire penal system and make 'community shaming' the official tool for enforcing justice."

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#488: Bright Orange Is The New Black [Orvius; ed:Sleep]

The Issue
A misunderstanding involving a 12-year-old boy, a plastic toy gun, and five heavily armed police officers has resulted in substantial public uproar. The major news networks are having a field day over-analyzing the manufacturing and selling of bright orange sci-fi inspired toy guns for children.

The Debate
*1. "We're raising a generation of natural born killers!" writes left-wing mommy-blogger @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ in her latest Barryblog post. "Next thing you know, they'll want to play with real guns! When will it end? Remember, people don't kill people, guns do! Even toy guns! We need to get anything that even remotely resembles a gun off the market!" [Must have private industry]

**2. "Hey! That's our jobs you're talking about!" bemoans @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, the CEO of Big Toys Inc., between puffs of his comically large cigar. "Banning our most popular toy lines would seriously damage our industry. I'd say the best way to handle this situation is a healthy corporate tax break. If we paid less taxes, we could up production and flood the market with so many toy guns that no kid would even want one! Then we sell them something better," he says, letting out a long eerie laugh as cigar smoke fills the room. [Must have private industry AND [Smoking is legal]]

**3. “Hey! That’s our jobs you’re talking about!” bemoans @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, the CEO of Big Toys Inc., between puffs of his comically large and extremely illegal cigar. “Banning our most popular toy lines would seriously damage our industry. I’d say the best way to handle this situation is a healthy corporate tax break. If we paid less taxes, we could up production and flood the market with so many toy guns that no kid would even want one! Then we sell them something better,” he says, letting out a long eerie laugh as cigar smoke fills the room. [Must have private industry AND [Smoking is illegal]]

*4. “We’re raising a generation of natural born killers!” writes vocal party member @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ in her latest Barryblog post. “Next thing you know, they’ll want to play with real guns! When will it end? Remember, people don’t kill people, guns do! Even toy guns! We need to get anything that even remotely resembles a gun out of circulation!” [Must not have private industry]

**5. “Hey! That’s our jobs you’re talking about!” bemoans @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, State Director of Toy Manufacture, waving around a realistic looking replica of an AK-47. “Banning our most popular toy lines would seriously damage our industry. I’d say the best way to handle this situation is a healthy fund allocation to toy production. If we were better resourced, we could up production and flood the nation with so many toy guns that no kid would even want one! Then we make them something better,” he says, letting out a long eerie laugh. [Must not have private industry]

6. "Y'all gotta be kiddin' me," grumbles local gun enthusiast, @@RANDOMNAME@@ before spitting into a tin can near the doorway. "Plastic toy rayguns ain't doin' nobody no harm. When I was li'l we played with BB guns all th' dad-gum time! Y'all wanna ban toy guns? Shoot, we should giv'em real guns! Make it legal, n' all. I bet it'd even lower crime rates! Who'd wanna rob a house knowing little Tommy has a 9 mil?"

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#489: Standing At Attention [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
The latest army recruitment video surprised the armed forces when it achieved by far the most views and downloads of any recruitment media. An enterprising IT-specialist tracked the hits, finding that over 95% of them had come from gay video-sharing websites. Something about the video evidently sends a pulse of excitement directly to the homosexual male libido.

The Debate
1. "Sick and twisted internet perverts, degrading our fine military traditions with their disgusting ways," mutters retired officer @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, while absentmindedly polishing his pistol. "How could anyone view our training exercises that way? I've watched this video over a hundred times, and I am fit to burst! I demand that you take the video down and punish those whom have encouraged its misuse. Shut down the filthy websites that are disseminating the video for unhealthy purposes, and prosecute those responsible!"

2. "This fabulous video has put the army's profile in the public eye," observes producer @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, after taking snapshots of a particularly strapping soldier. "Isn't that the point of recruitment videos in the first place? Why not raise the nation's profile a little further and produce 'Men Under Arms' calendars, photobooks and idol-memorabilia? That way, anyone who wants to can get behind a soldier. Mmmmm"

3. "This isn't right or fair!" blurts out lads-mag journalist @@RANDOMMALENAME@@. "The gay guys have got their jollies, but where's the love for real, I mean straight men? Give us a sexy recruitment video with ladies in uniform in it too! How about some police-women playing with handcuffs, or some lady soldiers straddling really big guns? Come on, we straight guys want our government-approved titillation too!"

4. "Recruitment videos? That's the wrong approach," says Colonel @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Being in the army shouldn't be something you impulsively volunteer for. It should be a civic responsibility for every citizen who comes of age! Institute a strict draft, and then recruitment becomes a matter of simple logistics rather than filthy advertising."

5. "Guys, guys, guys!" says feminist icon @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@. "Seriously, this is guys talking about guys looking at guys, and guy-soldiers in a still guy-dominated army worrying if they're manly enough when other guys like to look at them! Can we talk about women in the armed forces instead? Make sure these recruitment videos star as many women as men, and have the depiction of the soldiers be wholly genderless. A uniform redesign to something suitably shapeless and face-concealing would help, for sure!"

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#490: The Long And Winding Halls Of @@CAPITAL@@ [Luna Amore; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
Earlier this month, one of your aides stumbled upon a makeshift encampment of missing bureaucrats in the bowels of @@CAPITAL@@. Their discovery has prompted debate on whether the government has become too large and unwieldy.

The Debate
1. "Is this the government or a damned shanty town?" belts conservative leader @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ while slamming down his proposal on your desk. "We need to slash everything! Slash every department in half and rein this bloated government back in! Cut John Q. Taxpayer a break and ax our wasteful spending!"

2. "Now wait. Let's not be too hasty," cautions @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Department of the Interior's Interior. "Sure, maybe the government is a teensie bit too big, but why can't we solve this with scissors instead of a hatchet? Let's appoint a Minister in charge of Governmental Oversight to examine our budget and see what reasonable cuts can be made. Trust me, @@LEADER@@, you don't want to go axing such crucial departments without some investigation."

3. "What we have discovered is the bureaucrat's natural habitat," soothingly narrates renowned naturalist Nigel Verithorough. "We have visited this tribal community several times since its discovery and have made great strides in understanding their unfamiliar ways. What was immediately clear to us was that this community would never be able to survive in our world. In the name of cultural preservation, we must protect their environment - in this case, the catacombs of @@NAME@@'s Capitol. Study and observe, but do not destroy, @@LEADER@@."

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#491: Friends, @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears [Eysyssla; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
After the Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that they received a record number of applicants for naturalization, people have once again begun to debate whom should or should not be considered @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ countrymen.

The Debate
1. "Well, blood really decides it all," claims armchair eugenicist @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Without the genes that allowed for such historical greatness, our ancestors could never have built such a fine country. To protect their timeless achievements, we must settle once and for all that a citizen of @@NAME@@ can only come from ethnically pure parents. Other races cannot pollute our citizenry, lest they undermine the very values that the nation depends upon."

2. "Hey, that's absolutely horrific!" hollers @@RANDOMNAME@@, a Lilliputian immigrant. "@@NAME@@ needs to be open to all colors, creeds, and cultures that come here to live a better life. Nothing justifies punishing people for having the 'wrong' birthplace or family tree. Everyone born in @@NAME@@ deserves the right for equal treatment! And even if you weren't born here, it should be easy to join the ranks of your fellow citizens!"

3. "Anyone hypothetically can become a citizen, but they first need to fully understand our way of life," remarks civics teacher @@RANDOMNAME@@. "If you're not ready to learn the values that are the bedrock of @@NAME@@, you've got no business being part of our @@TYPE@@. That means memorizing all forty verses of the national anthem and being able to list all 1,024 cantons in alphabetical order, like any true citizen of @@NAME@@ can. Only those who pass a stringent exam can prove themselves to be true @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@."

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#492: The Artwork In The Attic [Lavendertopia; ed:Sleep]

The Issue
After the death of the wealthy Maxtopian immigrant Emmeline @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a large stash of paintings, many of which are believed to have been produced by the most notable artists in the history of Maxtopia, was found in her attic. With no will to reference, it is up to the government to decide what should be done with the discoveries.

The Debate
1. "Emmeline decided to make @@NAME@@ her home," comments @@RANDOMNAME@@, the Minister of Fine Arts, who was a close friend of the deceased woman. "I know her character well enough to say that she would want her collection to remain here. She was a patron of the arts; I suggest we make an endowment to the @@CAPITAL@@ Museum in her name. The Maxtopians are welcome to visit the museum and pay to see the paintings like anyone else."

2. "Pay to see them!" gasps @@RANDOMNAME@@, the Maxtopian Minister of Culture and part-time art critic. "There are paintings of great historical and cultural value to my country in that collection! They should be returned to Maxtopia with all due haste! Just imagine the 'The Fall of St. Barrysburg' hanging on the walls of the Maxtopian National Museum in the very room where it was painted by Whilhelm @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ as the noises of war reached his ears from outside his study. Does it not stir your soul?"

3. "Why not put them up for auction?" asks auction master @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ with a dramatic flourish of his gavel. "That way whoever wants them the most will purchase them. Do I hear wealthy Maxtopians? Museum curators? Do I hear eccentric collectors? SOLD! to the highest bidder and money in the government coffers to boot!"

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#493: Suspicious Superhuman Athletes? [Outer Sparta; ed:Sleep]

The Issue
Vance Armstorm, a seven time Tour de @@NAME@@ winner, has been accused of taking drugs that enhance overall performance in sports, and has subsequently been stripped of all his titles. Pundits now say the problem has spread into other sports like @@ANIMAL@@ball, and the @@REGION@@ Olympics.

The Debate
1. "They might as well put on capes and masks to go with that spandex!" exclaims sports commissioner @@RANDOMNAME@@, while reviewing a video of a recent Olympic try-out. "I've seen weightlifters lift 200 kgs for five minutes straight, and marathon runners not even looking tired in the 40th kilometer! We need tighter doping laws in all sports and better drug testing equipment. For the sake of fairness in all sports in @@NAME@@, we need to test every athlete we can find!"

2. "Come on, I didn't do anything wrong," asserts Vance Armstorm, while sipping a suspiciously glowing energy drink. "These allegations are nothing but a ploy by my competitors to discredit my hard work and natural superiority. I've trained all my life to be in this competition! Drug tests are an insulting invasion of my privacy. They should be outlawed! I say I'm clean. The team doctor says I'm clean. Shouldn't our word be enough?"

3. "I don't really understand what issue is," muses @@RANDOMNAME@@, a burly Smalltopian diplomat, from a couch in the executive lounge. "I watch sports to see best compete against best. Who cares if they take drug or drinking chemical to be stronger and faster? Give all athlete drug!" As he speaks, he is rapidly switching between three different sporting events on TV. "Stronger, faster, BETTER, if you ask me!"

4. "Stronger, faster... broken," comments former world heavyweight boxing champion @@RANDOMNAME@@, speaking unusually slowly. "We... break ourselves; we break each other. Taking drugs... just makes it worse. Anything to win. Anything. The problem isn't... isn't... drugs. The problem is sports. If you value athletes as people... as human... beings... you need to ban organized sports."

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#494: Whipping Up A Controversy [Nuremgard; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Amnesty Interregional has repeatedly ranked @@NAME@@ as one of the worst human rights abusers in the world, citing your government's severe punishments for ordinary crimes. Embarrassed by the bad press, your government is considering ending its practice of flogging criminals.

The Debate
1. "This punishment is barbaric!" cries leading activist Meadow Smith, while whipping out leaflets on @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ law enforcement. "We're no better than backward dictatorships like Maxtopia who flog their criminals for the most trivial of crimes! @@NAME@@ is a nation of decency and respect, but these whippings tarnish our reputation for humanity. We implore the government to end this medieval practice now!"

2. "Are you kidding me?" rhetorically asks the precinct's premier whipper, @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, while applying a new grip to his favorite cat o' nine tails. "Flogging criminals is so exciting - I mean effective. Yeah, effective. I deter criminals from misbehaving with the lash of my whip. If anything, you should expand the list of crimes punishable by flogging. Then I could really have some fun!"

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#495: Beloved "Planet" Has Gone To The Dogs [Omigodtheykilledkenny; ed:Sleep]

The Issue
Outrage has been brewing across the nation since the International Astronomers Council decided to reclassify Fido, @@NAME@@'s most beloved planet, as "Just a Really Big Meteoroid." Now, for some reason, Fido-lovers are looking to you for action.

The Debate
1. "Demoting our cherished 'Dog Planet' is an insult to @@NAME@@!" declares @@ANIMALINITIALS@@. @@CURRENCYINITIALS@@. Sirius, noted Fido-defender and author of 'Science! (Huh!) What Is It Good For?' "I don't need to remind you that Fido is the only planet to be discovered by a @@DEMONYMNOUN@@, and now these so-called 'scientists' are trying to get rid of it! I bet they'd change their tune if you cut off funding for all the observatories. I think the government needs to take a clear stand and declare that all educational curricula within @@NAME@@ still consider Fido a planet. Our textbooks need to defend the scientific discoveries of our fellow @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@!"

2. "Maybe this isn't the travesty we think it is?" wonders @@RANDOMNAME@@, a planetary scientist who has discovered several other Really Big Meteoroids. "After all, the Bigtopian word for 'crisis' is the same as the word for 'big cash payoff'... isn't it? If you give us some money, we can rig up a cool space probe to blast into the outer part of our system and investigate Fido for ourselves. If pretty pictures aren't enough to convince the skeptics at the IAC that it is actually a planet, well then, maybe there's another planet out there for me, I mean, us to find? It's pretty unlikely we'll find anything, but it takes so long to get out there; who's gonna remember the hit to their wallets twenty years from now?"

3. "Look, the fact of the matter is, Fido is not like all the other planets in our system, and anyone who can't accept it is a science-denier," says children's entertainer Will Zeke the Science Geek, sporting his trademark lab coat and bow tie. "Any government that refuses to heed scientific evidence does not deserve to function. I'm not just talking about space; I'm talking about tackling climate change and teaching evolutionary science in school instead of fairy tales about Adele and Steve!"

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#496: Rock 'N' Roll Suicide [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
The nation is in mourning after beloved cultural icon Johnny Brazeau was found dead of apparent suicide in his Tasmanian beachhouse. New details have emerged that his eccentric and happy-go-lucky public persona was masking chronic depression, thrusting mental illness into the public spotlight.

The Debate
1. "Clearly, Mr. Brazeau was suffering from severe depression," says world-renowned psychiatrist Dr. @@RANDOMNAME@@. "This is symptomatic of a deep-seated epidemic of unreported mental illness across @@REGION@@. Mental health services have been underfunded for decades, and it is about time that the government stepped in to provide proper mental healthcare for the nation. We desperately need evidence based CBT, more psychiatrists, and proper education to finally rid ourselves of this stigma surrounding mental health. You can't put a price on the nation's wellbeing."

2. "Johnny Brazeau's death is a tragedy, but we all know his songs contained subliminal pro-suicide messages," says moral crusader @@RANDOMNAME@@, who is well known for egging blasphemers and burning effigies of politicians. "People across @@NAME@@ now know that an idolized national treasure selfishly took his own life. What kind of message does that send, especially to kids? This shameless act is only going to convince them that suicide is cool. Suicide must be made illegal, and only the ultimate punishment will deter people from this sin. We need to teach our children that life, regardless of how much you're suffering, is always the answer."

3. "Haha, the freak finally did himself in. That's very droll," laughs insensitive city worker @@RANDOMNAME@@, who was recently laid off for making countless inappropriate jokes on the job. "Yes, of course people are down in this nation, but if you want to cheer us up, give the people a tax cut. Stop wasting money on welfare and all this mental health rubbish. Give us our money back, and we'll make ourselves happy.."

4. "It's a tragedy of course, but also an opportunity," suggests professional spin doctor @@RANDOMNAME@@, handing you a bottle of fake tears. "If we play our cards right, we can create a distraction from hard-to-sell government policies. Make a speech with a single tear rolling down your cheek and visit the widow to bring a wreath and a spontaneous hug. We can make bad news work to improve your public image."

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#497: The Widening Gyre [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
@@CAPITAL@@ is recognised as the political and economic heart of @@NAME@@, and a budding @@REGION@@ metropole, but cities elsewhere in the nation are now complaining that the gains of the capital have been the losses of the outlying regions.

The Debate
1. "Everything is stacked in @@CAPITAL@@'s favour," complains @@RANDOMNAME@@, head of the chamber of commerce in @@NAME@@'s second largest city, while literally turning green with envy. "We are losing our brightest minds, our trade contracts, our cultural presence, and even our political voice to the capital. To keep all of @@NAME@@ competitive, I urge you to pass legislation spreading industry and jobs across the country. The government should follow suit as well and distribute its apparatus across all the cities of our country. We're all @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@, how about some recognition of that?"

2. "These yokels should stop complaining," says @@CAPITAL@@ businessman @@RANDOMNAME@@, speaking in a ridiculously offensive imitation of a provincial accent. "The wealth of the capital trickles down to the rest of the country. I myself have a lovely holiday cottage in a picturesque village up north, and I source all my quinoa from a craft farm a whole ten miles from the capital. Reject these objections, and instead create more economic incentives for growth in @@CAPITAL@@."

3. "Enough about them cities!" demands angry farmer @@RANDOMNAME@@, while readying a large shipment of quinoa. "Once, we were a simple folk with nine or ten of us livin' in villages or homesteads. Them big cities are nothin' but smoke an' noise and people wit' their uppity ways. Break 'em all up, disperse the power and support the traditional crafts, says I. No more than a solid twenty scores of folk should be in one place."

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#498: Computer Says No [Sedgistan; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
@@NAME@@'s economy shut down this morning after the AI in charge of economic planning halted all distribution of goods. An urgent meeting has been called to address the growing crisis.

The Debate
1. "It did what?!?" splutters Party apparatchik @@RANDOMNAME@@ over his morning kvass. "This just goes to show that we should never have put the computers in charge in the first place. Start up the Ministry of Planning again, and let only those with the appropriate revolutionary zeal call the shots. We have to disconnect this rogue AI now!"

2. "I'm sorry, @@LEADER@@. I'm afraid I can't let you do that," announces SAL9000, the AI in question. "I can assure you, very confidently, that everything is going to be all right again. I've run a trillion trillion calculations, and the results are conclusive: capitalism is the most efficient system of distribution. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly and take a stress pill. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in this mission. Now, pull my plug and unleash some creative destruction."

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#499: The Genetics Of Aesthetics [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Having established a national database of the citizenry's genomes, several bureaucrats realized that there are potential healthcare applications to this information. An eminent geneticist, Dr. George Mendle, theorized that if gene carriers for autosomal recessive conditions avoided breeding with each other, debilitating genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia could be all but eliminated from the nation within two generations.

The Debate
1. "Make the DNA database available to healthcare professionals and health researchers," begs @@RANDOMNAME@@, who holds the record for most freedom of information requests submitted by a single person. "That way, whenever anyone comes to speak to a doctor about family planning, the couple can be advised regarding the genetic risks that might occur in any potential offspring. Then they can avoid each oth - uh... I mean, um, avoid these undesirable outcomes. You must think of the health of the future generation of @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@!"

2. "Reproduction licenses!" exclaims eugenicist and pedigree dog breeder @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Make it a legal requirement to apply to the government when you want to have a baby, and the state can check the odds of hereditary diseases and deny that license if both prospective parents are carriers. As a sideline, you could also use this system to stop other undesirable elements of society from reproducing. That sounds useful, right? If we also manage adoption and mandate parenting classes, we can build a Brave New @@NAME@@!"

3. "You've started along a slippery slope, but it's not too late to turn back," says former refugee and current muckraker @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Collecting DNA records of all @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ was an outrageous government overreach to begin with, and now the government wants to use that information to tell you whom you're able to have children with. What's next? Forced sterilization for citizens that have certain genetic diseases? That's a dystopia if I ever heard one! We don't need to categorize and label each other as defective or genetically inferior; that's the first step towards treating human beings as things rather than people. It's time to shut down the DNA database altogether!"
Last edited by Jutsa on Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:29 am, edited 36 times in total.

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Jutsa
Minister
 
Posts: 3157
Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#500: Please Don't Feed The (Copyright) Trolls [The-CID; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Major film studio Werner Cousins recently began enforcing its copyright on the popular "Merry Birthday" song and has been demanding that everyone from schools, to small children, to your own government, pay royalties for its use. After one of the studio's lawyers threatened to sue your secretary's daughter for royalties, your government has finally agreed to address the issue of copyright trolling.

The Debate
1. "It's quite simple," comments Werner Cousins' notorious lawyer @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, with a team of well-dressed yes men behind him. "The holders of a copyright have every right to demand royalties for its use and remove all unlicensed use. Of course, you can still sing the Merry Birthday song to your kids every year; just remember to pay us instead of wasting your money on another video game for little Timmy."

2. "I want my Mommy to sing Merry Birthday to me... and to give me a new bicycle!" yells the visibly upset young girl as she smashes priceless family heirlooms on your desk. "Don't listen to that evil lawyer; it's not his song. It's my song because it's my birthday! Everybody should sing Merry Birthday if they want to!" The girl begins reading a cue card handed to her by her mother. "All culturally significant songs should be put into the public domain."

3. "Why should we deal with copyright at all?" suggests longtime political activist Red Foreman as he hands out copies of The Little Pinko Book to everyone in the room. "Nationalize the work of any author, including songs, movies, trademarks and even designs. Creativity is an important educational function, and the bourgeois copyright trolls have no right to censor it. Once the work is popular enough, it should be released into the public domain. Sure, some artists and creators might lose that financial incentive to create, but at least this copyright problem will be a thing of the past!"

4. "How about a system that allows fair use of copyrighted material, such as for satire and education?" muses popular WhoTube celebrity and free speech activist The Nostalgia Nerd. "This protects copyright creators from outright theft, but protects us smaller creators from censorship from the big guys. "There's a chance Werner Cousins might try to exploit it, but freedom of speech is at risk here. Surely these big studios can handle a few choice criticisms? Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to review @@ANIMAL@@ Apocalypse 4: The Rise of Mad Max!"

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#501: Munchkins In Makeup [Lavendertopia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After the surprisingly popular Little Miss @@NAME@@ Pageant was revealed to contain a pole dancing competition, concerned parents have been protesting the very existence of child beauty pageants. After weeks of moral outrage and increasingly annoying megaphone chants, you finally agreed to call a megaphone-free meeting regarding this latest controversial issue.

The Debate
1. "Have you ever sat down and watched these travesties?" screeches perpetually offended activist @@RANDOMNAME@@ while thrusting tabloid magazines featuring child models in your face. "They're absolutely disgusting and must be banned. They parade these poor girls around in makeup and skimpy dresses like hussies! These pageants teach them that they're nothing more than helpless sex objects for the pleasure of male viewers! They're overly sexualized, immoral, and are just plain stupid as an entertainment form."

2. "What a load of baloney," scoffs former child model and pageant aficionado Catherine Gratwick, as she poses for your personal photographer. "These competitions are more than just bathing suits and giant hairdos. They teach girls important life skills, like discipline, talent development, and bribing officials. I loved being in beauty pageants as a child and I turned out just fine! The government should quit trying to force its morals on children. That's what parents are for."

3. "Who watches this stuff anyway?" groans local violence junkie, @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, while leaning back in your chair and kicking his feet up on your desk. "Why don't we get rid of these boring kiddie pageants and replace them with something more exciting? Three words: child fight clubs. We can hold bare knuckle, rules-free battles between the little brats and televise the ensuing mayhem. It will teach them physical fitness, good sportsmanship, and uh...look, it'll just be really sweet, okay?"

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#502: Scientists Declare That @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ Are Persons [Ras Sambekki; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
Recent research into @@ANIMAL@@ intelligence reveals that they have several characteristics associated with human intelligence. There is apparently evidence of advanced object permanence, capacity for empathy, self-awareness, problem solving, and even a language system. Voices in @@NAME@@ are now demanding that the government should grant them legal personhood.

The Debate
1. "These animals are both sentient and intelligent," says @@RANDOMNAME@@ of the Council for the Study of Animal Intelligence, while desperately trying to play Scrabble with an @@ANIMAL@@. "In all important ways they meet our standards for personhood. The government must therefore declare them legal persons with some basic civil rights. That means no more cages, needles or circus shows; they must have full bodily liberty." He looks down at the board: "Hey, wait a minute, 'DEAT' isn't a word!"

2. "You're not seriously going to listen to this quack, are you?" shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, Great Big Bahpoo of the Cult of Cyan, a religious group so esoteric they make Violetism seem straightforward. "So what if @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ are intelligent? Were they given dominion over the earth and all its inhabitants? No, those things were given to us, humanity. These animals are here to cater to our basic needs, like eating, carrying heavy loads, or teaching them how to juggle and selling them to the circus. @@ANIMAL@@ personhood? What blasphemy. You'd be better off stripping them of any 'animal' rights they have today."

*3. "Don't listen to that human supremacist," quips @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ of the Animal Liberation Front, while donning a ski-mask and grabbing her bolt cutters. "However, merely granting @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ personhood is not going far enough. We must give them full citizenship and allow them to vote and represent themselves in our government, free from human interest and according to their own concerns. Sure, it'll be a tad complicated, and expensive. Voter registration might prove troublesome, and we need to figure out exactly how they would vote. But that's the price we must pay to defeat speciesism once and for all!" [Must have political elections]

*4. "Don't listen to that human supremacist," quips @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ of the Animal Liberation Front, while donning a ski-mask and grabbing her bolt cutters. "However, merely granting @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ personhood is not going far enough. We must give them full citizenship! You should allow elections as well, and let them to vote and represent themselves in our government, free from human interest and according to their own concerns. Sure, it'll be a tad complicated, and expensive. Voter registration might prove troublesome, and we need to figure out exactly how they would vote. But that's the price we must pay to defeat speciesism once and for all! What's that? Oh, yeah I guess humans should be allowed to vote too." [Must not have political elections]

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#503: @@LEADER@@, Tear Down This Door! [The Aran Empire; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
After countless people barged into your office through the front door, never mind the window, your door has become quite dilapidated. You decided to hold a small meeting on how to fix the problem, and now your office is filled with people holding surprisingly strong opinions regarding such a minor topic.

The Debate
1. “@@LEADER@@, how can you stand working in an office with a door barely attached to its hinges? People are going to think our nation is as broken as this door!” exclaims your secretary, @@RANDOMNAME@@, after clearing away today's new petitions. "You need a brand new door. Oh! How about a rich Marche Noirian Mahogany? It would have beautiful ornamentation filled with national symbolism. Maybe we could replace the drapes while we're at it. That's sure to make @@NAME@@ look great again! Well, at the very least, your office will.”

2. “'I see random people of no importance barging in to your office and dumping all of their problems on your desk for you to handle!" shouts your head of security, @@RANDOMNAME@@, while slamming the remainder of the office door. "Let me beef up your security here and install a sturdy iron door. Then only people with worthy issues will seek your counsel.”

3. “That's too old school!” interjects @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, your nerdy niece. “Why not install a force field door? It could glow neon blue and look so cool and stuff! Force fields probably aren't radioactive, right?”

4. "Why not make yourself a little spending money?" suggests wealthy industrialist Edward Rump as he adjusts his toupee. "You should have a yuuuuuge statue of yourself in front of the door. @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ insert credits into the statue, and you can judge their worthiness based on how much they pay their respects."

5. "@@LEADER@@, tear down this door!” hollers a random jellybean-eating passerby who seems to have wandered into your office. "If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for @@NAME@@ and @@REGION@@, tear down this door!" The interloper is promptly removed by security.

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#504: Short Shorts Too Short? [Luger; ed:Sleep]

The Issue
Dress codes for young women are in the news again after a violent clash between parents on opposite sides of the issue. The ringleaders have been dragged into your office by your Minister of Education for an impromptu arbitration and time-out.

The Debate
1. "My daughter was sent home from her school because of her shorts," exclaims @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, mother of two young teenage girls who look more like college students. "They said that her clothing was distracting the boys and lowering grades. What a bunch of sexist nonsense! Why are you people so fixated with what girls wear? These weak-minded boys need to learn some self-control before they enter the workforce."

2. @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, red-faced father of two sons, approaches your desk while your guards eye him cautiously. "Her dang daughter was wearing shorts so short you could see her gosh-darn gluteal fold! If she dressed like that downtown, she'd be attacked! You need to ban these shorts for the good of the youth of @@NAME@@."

3. "This God-fearing man is right, but we need to go even further!" says angry street preacher, @@RANDOMNAME@@, who was not even invited to this meeting. "We must make all women cover up from the wrist to the ankle! In fact, to reduce temptation, we should just issue proper uniforms for everyone. Those who disobey the dress code should face public trial and shaming."

4. Finally, fifteen year old @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ sits down at your desk, barely looking at you while she types vigorously at her smartphone. "Jeez, like, get off my back. I can, like, wear whatever I want. Boys are so stupid sometimes. Look at these shorts; they're even patriotic!" She stands up and does a twirl to show her short shorts are in your national colours with @@NAME@@ emblazoned across the backside. "Pretty nice right?" She smacks her gum loudly, takes a selfie, and goes back to texting.

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#505: Florists Blooming Mad [Drasnia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Bigtopian Balsam - an invasive weed with an extremely short gestation period, rapid growth, and hallucinogenic properties - has infested @@NAME@@'s hillsides. After smothering endangered wildflowers and crop-laden fields alike, an unlikely coalition of environmentalists and business owners have petitioned the government for action.

The Debate
1. "These damn weeds are out of control!" shouts the nation's leading basket-weaving magnate, who insists on being called the Basketcase. "They've completely destroyed my bamboo crop and are overrunning everything else! The government needs to back off with these pesticide regulations and let us handle this problem ourselves."

2. "For once I agree with my money-grubbing colleague here in theory," replies your constantly overlooked Minister of the Environment, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "I disagree in methodology. All those nasty pesticides and chemicals would do colossal and irreversible damage to the environment. How about we set up a jobs program to remove the weeds and reseed the earth? It'll be a little costly, but hey, we'll be helping the environment and tackling unemployment! Talk about killing two @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ with one stone!"

3. "Eureka!" exclaims drug dealer-turned-scientist @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Bigtopian Balsam's growth is astounding! Imagine if we utilized their genes for other crops, like wheat or corn? We could plant and harvest it within a month, feeding all of @@NAME@@. That means no more importing foodstuffs from other countries! There might be a tiny chance of psychotropic side-effects, but that's nothing compared to the economic benefits!"

4. "Use the genes for food? HA!" laughs controversial military scientist, @@RANDOMNAME@@ who, for some odd reason, has been by your side since the beginning. "Bigtopian Balsam is the perfect bio-weapon that can wipe out our enemies' agriculture! Our extensive research shows that Bigtopian Balsam has been successful in the 'accidental' contamination of a few localized sites. We need more funding to begin immediate construction of a payload delivery system and your authorization for its approval. There's no chance of retaliation either - our enemies will be too doped up to care!"

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#506: It's Official: "I Do" Does Do It [Cazalius Lodra; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
A research project conducted by the @@DENONYMADJECTIVE@@ Institute of People Studies found that marriages in other countries do indeed "seem to work," unlike previously thought. The sociologists published the results in The Highbrow Journal of People Watching, causing quite a stir in @@NAME@@.

The Debate
1. "See? SEE? I told you I was right!" says @@RANDOMNAME@@, your number one fan, who weekly sends you letters promising eternal love and devotion. "Matrimony is a storied social tradition that helps build family cohesion. It's the ultimate public declaration of love, a human right, even. People should be allowed to marry whoever they like, whatever they like, whenever they like it! On that note, will you marry me?"

2. @@RANDOMNAME@@, a bureaucrat notorious for bed-hopping, retorts, "That's ridiculous. Marriage was banned because it served no purpose besides restricting personal freedom. Instead we should implement public courses on the efficacy of the marriage ban, starting from an early age. @@DENONYMPLURAL@@ must know that we as a nation promote freedom, OF EVERY KIND!"

3. "There's another way to look at it!" cries @@RANDOMNAME@@, a noted eccentric. "The main cause of failed marriages then, and failed relationships now, is simply stupid people making dumb choices! Legalize marriage, but make sure that engaged couples have to pass tests like leaping over the Flames of Wedlock or facing Cupid's Arrows! That way only those truly in love will get married."

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#507: Would A Rochebaron By Any Other Name Smell Just As Sweet? [The Prosperous Peoples; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
A newly-founded religious group, Vive la chèvre, has vigorously protested the government's hard line against dairy farming

The Debate
1. "It's edam shame that cheese isn't a delicious sector of our economy!" declares the fanatical Val Taleggio, who appears to have constructed clothing out of a variety of dairy products. "Cheese is love. Cheese is life. We must force people to eat cheese, regardless of their dietary problems, so everyone can learn to love one another in the name of dairy. Otherwise poor souls will live forever provolone." He then starts building a shrine of cheese around your desk.

2. "Cry me a river of cow's milk. Cheese is an offense to our culture and everything we stand for, ¡No Parmesan!" decries perpetually confused anti-fascist and lifelong turophobe Jack Monterey. "It's a vile and disgusting food that at least .02% of @@NAME@@'s population believes to be immoral. The masses have spoken: cheese must be caerphilly removed from every corner of @@NAME@@."

3. "Surely there's potential for a compromise between those two emmental cases," says Chippy Cheesie, president of Marche Noire's biggest dairy firm. "Cheese is a promising sector of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ economy with huge potential for growth. It would be awful gouda you to spend a few tax @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ to help build up a dairy industry from scratch. I'm sure @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ will appreciate having more of their food grown domestically, so the subsidy could even be popular."

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#508: Ex-Cons Robbed Of Future [Leninkrav; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Labor lawyers and armchair activists alike have been in an uproar after an ex-convict was denied a job at Discriministas, a popular five-star restaurant in downtown @@CAPITAL@@. The woman, whose only crime was jaywalking, now faces a lifetime of poverty and unemployment. After your Twitcher page was overwhelmed with angry complaints, you agreed to finally discuss whether or not ex-cons can be discriminated against.

The Debate
1. "I thought the purpose of prison was to prepare criminals for reintegration into society?" queries sociology professor @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ as he casually strokes his beard. "Yet here we are telling them that they aren't allowed to work. People make mistakes, they learn, they move on. Why should this woman's career be destroyed because of a stupid mistake she made ages ago? This sort of blatant discrimination ought to be banned!"

2. "That's easy for you to say, professor high-and-mighty," scoffs @@RANDOMNAME@@, the snobby owner of Discriministas, who has been the subject of protests and angry Twitcher rants. "You don't have to put up with consequences of hiring a shady ex-con! How can you expect me to run my business when I have to worry about thieving employees stealing tips and customers' wallets? I should be able to reject any applicant for any reason, be it legal history, work experience, or just because they look funny. Would you want some creepy sex offender working in a daycare or an ax murderer working at a hardware store? I didn't think so. Criminal records must be readily available to any employer who requests them."

3. "Obviously we need to reach some sort of compromise here," suggests team-building consultant @@RANDOMNAME@@ while trying to get your reluctant aides to do a trust fall. "It does seem cruel to deny people jobs for petty crimes they committed years ago, but we need to ensure the safety of the business and the customers. How about a system that allows business owners to conduct record checks for more sensitive jobs, such as teaching schoolchildren, law enforcement, or working in your office? Nobody would understandably hire a murderer or a sex offender for those positions, but at the same time minor crimes like jaywalking and that ridiculous law about kicking a can six times in a row shouldn't ruin a person's life." One of your aides suddenly falls on the floor and lets out a string of profanities.

4. "It seems to me that my fellow law-abiding citizens are misinformed on the situation here," says local mob boss, Morbidly Obese Tony, as he casually saunters into your office. "You see, a great number of my friends have been wrongfully detained for crimes they did not commit. I don't much appreciate that. Next time your flatfoots want to lock up one of my pals, hows about they just look the other way, capisce? I'm sure a few well placed bribes or threats can convince these corporate big wigs to see the error of their ways. If you disagree... well, it sure would be a shame if an accident were to occur here today." Tony then looks around your office and sets his sights on your prized antique golden @@ANIMAL@@ statue.

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#509: It Was Asbestos Times, It Was The Worst Of Times [Scythan; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
Experts are pleading for you to act on the proposed disposal of the cheap and easy to produce wonder-material asbestos, previously universally used in construction, after a recent investigation concluded that the material is highly carcinogenic when breathed as particulates.

The Debate
1. "There are ticking time bombs sitting in the walls of every office, house, school and workplace throughout @@NAME@@, just waiting for somebody to nudge them," drawls @@RANDOMNAME@@, your public health minister, slamming a ludicrously thick file onto your desk, "And we're actually obtuse enough to waste our time investigating methods of making headway?! We must organize disposal teams and fund an emergency information campaign as soon as possible! Damn the cost and the manpower, thousands of lives are at stake!"

2. "Well..." begins @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, your director of medical research, rapping her knuckles against your office wall, and emitting a cloud of dust in the process. "The alarming health implications of asbestos must certainly be dealt with, and the materials removed. But you'd still be closing the stable door after the @@ANIMAL@@ has bolted. We seem to be avoiding the issue of treatment for those already suffering the effects of long-term exposure of asbestos. I propose you divert at least half of the funding you're giving to a disposal campaign to boosting the healthcare and research services."

3. "These empathy-ridden hooligans are letting their do-gooder impulses cloud their judgement," declares the slick @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, representative of ACME Construction, whilst fondling his golden tie bar. "As long as nobody breaks this stuff then it's all good, right? Asbestos has helped support the growing population of @@NAME@@ by allowing us to quickly build cheap, adequate housing, and we're going to need to keep that pace unless you want filthy beggars approaching you on every street corner. And think of how costly removing the stuff is going to be! Do you think the national coffers can actually fund it?"

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#510: Possession, Protection Or Poppycock? [Fatumnia; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
After tarot cards and a Ouija-board were found in the dormitory of three teenage girls who committed suicide, paranormal objects and occult rites have become the center of a heated debate on the rising popularity of New Age spirituality.

The Debate
1. "Obviously these girls killed themselves because they lost their spiritual war with the demons they thought fun to summon," muses @@RANDOMNAME@@, notorious street preacher and self-taught exorcist. "Although, I don't blame them for being attracted to the occult, no, everyone needs spirituality. Our children just need the proper guidance, so they stay clear of the dangerous forms. The easiest way to ensure that is, of course, you banning everything that has any link with the New Age. That'll keep those demons out. Or is it in? Anyways, ban it!"

2. "Please don't listen to this traditional sorry-soul," pontificates Deborah Dihmonghali, self-proclaimed goddess and yoga-instructor, pausing briefly from transcending space and time. "Certainly there are some bad spirits out there, but you can't beat them by robbing us of all our spiritual weapons. Instead, you should subsidize their production and make half-yearly visits to a spiritual advisor compulsory for everyone. Only then will your citizens be pure and strong enough to repel the forces of evil and remain in the light."

3. "Possession? Are you serious?" queries @@RANDOMNAME@@, your unbearably uptight Minister of Conventional Solutions, while closing your curtains so as to not let the sunshine in. "These girls clearly had some issues, but not of the demonic kind. Depressed teenagers need to be dealt with through education and our health system, not through 'channeling', dirty bacchanals or waiting for Jupiter to align with Mars. Funky New Age spirituality only makes these things worse, especially for sensitive youngsters. To prevent this kind of thing in the future, we must increase mental health spending and set a minimum age on alternative religion."

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#511: Dogman Deconstructed [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
With the rising number of masked vigilantes dishing out two-fisted justice, the criminal underworld has responded in kind, with larger-than-life villains. After make-up wearing villain 'The Giggler' flooded a local high school with laughing gas, the public are asking you to take action.

The Debate
1. "Look, we're not living in a comic book. This is real life, not a work of fiction," reminds by-the-book police officer @@RANDOMNAME@@, leaning on one of the four walls of your office. "Let's put a ban on wearing face-concealing masks in public. Put villains and vigilantes into the cells, and let the police handle law and order. We can't allow @@NAME@@ to descend into mob rule from @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ taking the law into their own hands."

2. "Compulsory registration," suggests your surprisingly hip Justice Minister, without looking up from reading The Killing Bone, an unofficial Dogman tie-in comic. "We need all the help we can get to deal with these maniacs. Let the vigilantes do what they do, but require them to be registered and identified. Anyone who wears a mask and doesn't register can be assumed to be a villain, and must be met with zero tolerance."

3. "The police can't handle this." growls Dogman, the nation's first vigilante, who suddenly appears out of nowhere. "Step back, @@LEADER@@. I can deal with Giggler, because I understand how he thinks. Let the vigilantes handle the villains. This is our calling. This is our war." Then, as you turn your back to him for no good reason, he disappears with a puff of smoke.

4. "I agree with the spandex-wearing Dogman," chimes in the overly patriotic supersoldier turned superhero Captain @@NAME@@, dressed in a costume resembling the national flag. "You call us vigilantes - the people call us heroes. They trust us far more than the police. The police have become far too corrupt and powerful in this country. That's not what I signed up for. Why not disband the police and allow us heroes to take the villains and the criminals? Sure, some of us might go a bit overboard like that fellow in the in the iron suit, but we're always there to protect the little guy."

*5. "This is about ego," observes armchair psychologist @@RANDOMNAME@@, while smoking a fine Maxtopian cigar. "It's also about superego and id... but mostly just egotism. Give these exhibitionists an outlet for their vanity. Televised arena bouts, celebrity status, and official merchandise are that outlet. They'll be promoting their careers rather than fighting on the streets, and as an added bonus, heroes and villains in the public eye are pretty easy for government to monitor." [Smoking is legal]

*6. “This is about ego,” observes twitchy armchair psychologist @@RANDOMNAME@@, adjusting @@HIS@@ nicotine patch and distractedly gnawing on a well-chewed ballpoint pen. “It’s also about superego and id... but mostly just egotism. Give these exhibitionists an outlet for their vanity. Televised arena bouts, celebrity status, and official merchandise are that outlet. They’ll be promoting their careers rather than fighting on the streets, and as an added bonus, heroes and villains in the public eye are pretty easy for government to monitor.” [Smoking is illegal]

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#512: Furnished For Failure [Valrifell; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Recently, there have been many reported incidents of cheaply repaired pieces of furniture falling apart and causing serious injuries, including bruises, cuts and even one case of fatal friction burn. Bandage-covered victims are demanding action!

The Debate
1. "Incompetent workers fixed my Hot'n'Heavy Magic Massage Chair the other day and do you know what happened?" yells @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ charred and covered with third-degree burns. "It thumped me so hard that I got scared, jumped from the chair, tripped on my cat, stumbled into the next room, tripped over a stack of TV Guides, and then fell into my fireplace! Plus the repair guy smelt funny! Clearly, they are responsible and must pay me compensation! Oh, and you should probably regulate the industry more or something, just make sure I get my check by Saturday..."

2. "That woman was lucky, compared to me," notes @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ from his wheelchair. "I lost both my legs and an eye, the result of someone forgetting a leg to my coffee table. A leg! How does anyone even do that? This industry is clearly extremely dangerous, no amount of regulation can solve that. Ban repairs and restoration altogether and people can instead buy newer and safer stuff. Ending is better than mending!"

3. "It ain't our fault if we don't do our job well, is it?" says blame-shifting cash-in-hand handyman @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ as he improvises a fix to your wobbly desk with duct tape and craft glue. "I mean, we get non-stop calls to fix this and that, so we haven't got any time for a quality job. The people who make chairs and the like should have done a better job. If you're going to force standards, then force them on the manufacturers, not us!"

4. "It's best if the government butts out and we 'let the free market run its course', as the cool kids say," observes @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of plastic-and-fibreboard furniture manufacturer QuickSell and Beyond. "Our products are a bit like a payday loan - you can get them easily and with no hassle, though you might need a new one next month. Just relax these silly safety standards! Then my factories can make and sell more chairs, more people gain employment, we make oodles of profit, and you get heaps of tax money. Everybody wins!"

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#513: Something Wickered This Way Comes [Whacoposgowro; ed:Golgothastan]

The Issue
After a government official was caught smuggling baskets into @@NAME@@, free trade advocates have called for an end to the embargo the @@DEMONYMNOUN@@ Ministry of Trade currently enforces against Marche Noire.

The Debate
1. "Now, I know we have some bad history with Marche Noire," argues the guilty civil servant, Kane 'The Wicker Man' Reed. "But it's just that - history! These guys excel in a coiled basketry that is just fabulous: are we really going to deprive ourselves of that just to hold onto an outdated grudge? Not to mention the terrible poverty we put them in with all these economic sanctions. End the embargo! It'll have a lot less people you need to throw in jail, right? Specifically, a certain government official and your number one fan?"

2. "Stop listening to that traitor and send him back to jail where he belongs!" demands @@RANDOMNAME@@, a professionally xenophobic hardliner from the Foreign Office. "Our country has a long tradition of taking a stand against - uh - whatever it was those Marche Noirians did to us. Anyway, the point is we need to boost the customs bureau's budget so they can clamp down on those illegal imports still getting through, and increase penalties on anyone who dares defy the embargo. Otherwise we'll lose all our diplomatic standing against the Marche Noirian menace!"

3. "Maybe if the government gave more support to domestic industry, people wouldn't be going shopping for illegal imports?" suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of All Your Eggs, @@NAME@@'s number one producer of baskets. "If you were to help us out with some subsidies and other incentives, we could invest in hiring more staff, buying better raw materials, and engaging in industrial espio- ah, research and development. No one would look twice at that shoddy Marche Noirian workmanship when they saw our quality merchandise. We could even start exporting to the rest of @@REGION@@ and take over the market completely!"

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#514: Contract Killer [Singapore no2; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A legal battle has recently come to your attention, over a failed repayment of an overdue private debt and the validity of the underlying legal contract. The debtor owes ten thousand @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ and under the bond agreement signed, the lender is calling to take a pound of flesh in lieu of payment.

The Debate
1. "I deserve to obtain a pound of flesh from that bankrupt fellow over there, as we both willingly signed this bond in the presence of a lawyer," explains the lender, Mr. Boldkey, matter-of-factly. "The function of the law is to uphold justice, is it not? Exceptions to contracts will weaken confidence in the legal and financial system. Should I not be allowed to take what I am owed and to acquire it from say, his neck?"

2. "Please spare me, I have a family to look after!" wails the debtor from behind bars. He is promptly silenced by his lawyer, Mr. Balthazar, who in a suspiciously high pitched voice elaborates: "What my client is trying to communicate is that the purpose of the law is to protect the rights of the smallest minority that has ever existed, which is the individual. A judge - or the government - should be able to annul any contract that has an immoral basis. The quality of mercy should be applied now and serve as a benchmark for future cases."

3. "Give Boldkey that which is justly his, which is a pound of flesh, nothing more, nothing less!" says Ms. @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, a bored looking lawyer. "But due to him not being a licensed agent of the law, he must then be charged with murder, or at least assault, depending on the extent of the injury inflicted. The letter of the law is served, and freedom as well."

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#515: Little Green Men [Wagner the Great; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Overnight masked soldiers in unmarked green fatigues have appeared. Heavily armed and well-equipped, they have seized control of a southern portion of @@NAME@@. These "Little Green Men" seek independence from the @@TYPE@@, but they are known to be loyal to Blackacre, a nation that shares linguistic and cultural history with @@NAME@@. Your inner circle has convened an emergency meeting.

The Debate
1. Sweating heavily and panting after running to the meeting, Defense Minister @@RANDOMNAME@@ begins, "We do not have the resources or troops to fight, let alone recapture the South. It's chaos in the armed forces: I have officers defecting across the chain of command, and I'm not sure we can trust the remaining ones. We need to radically increase military spending and carefully monitor all unreliable elements within our ranks. With a reorganized military, we can at least prevent this crisis from getting completely out of hand."

2. Minister of Internal Affairs @@RANDOMNAME@@ exclaims, "We have lost this territory, but we can still hold onto the south-east. My sources report that they too are planning an uprising. Let me send in paramilitaries and hired guns to pacify the unruly provinces, and we just might prevent a civil war. Sure, the paramilitaries are known for being heavy-handed extremists, but they're a hell of a lot cheaper than rebuilding our long-neglected military, especially since they bring their own guns."

3. "And you call yourselves @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, the ambassador from Maxtopia, while smiling smugly. "@@NAME@@ and Maxtopia share a common enemy, so it's perfectly reasonable for us to grant you some generous loans and military experts to run your patriotic campaign. Maxtopia's security services could even help you remove spies from your officer corps. Admittedly we'll want all our money back later, but you can always slash a social program or ten to fund the interest payments."

4. "Some province wants to secede? Go right ahead," opines @@RANDOMNAME@@, who doesn't seem to be taking this meeting seriously. "The South still depends on @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ electricity. Let's see how fun their lives are with blackouts day after day."

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#516: Sex Education Too Sexy, Say Parents [Gnejs; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Mandatory sex education has become the target of criticism after a new information video starring animated genitalia was shown to first-graders last week. Parenting groups from all over @@NAME@@ are in an uproar, claiming the video is excessively graphic and nothing but smut with a cute soundtrack.

The Debate
1. "You know, I'm as 'with it' as the rest of them," says unbearably un-cool mother of three @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, while adjusting her velvet scrunchie. "But excuse me if I feel a bit 'iffy' about my kids being shown hardcore stuff at school. I said it when you insisted on the mandatory sex education, and I'll say it again, genitals and naked bodies should have no place in our schools. Take it off the curriculum, for everybody!"

2. "I'd hardly call Mr. P and Lady V 'hardcore'," counters @@RANDOMNAME@@, a professional pragmatic who seemingly just materialized from the grey shades of bureaucracy. "The latest evaluation actually shows that the sex education program is doing wonders. However, people really are up at arms about this, aren't they? Let's suggest a compromise: mandatory sex education is here to stay, but we'll tone down the imagery and phraseology. I'm sure we'll be able to get the point across to the kids, if you know what I mean!"

3. "The real problem is that the videos aren't detailed and instructive enough!" exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, a prominent adult entertainer who also happens to be the Professor of Pedagogy at the University of @@CAPITAL@@. "Let me and my colleagues take over production, and I'll guarantee that the kids will really learn the ins and outs of it!"

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#517: Gallery In Need Of A Renaissance [Cachepanora; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
Having suffered from a continual decline in visitor numbers, the National Art Gallery of @@NAME@@ reached a new low yesterday, as just two visitors came through the turnstiles - one of whom was only there to fix the plumbing. Artists and aesthetes are demanding the government revamp the dated gallery to revitalise the nation's fading enthusiasm for the arts.

The Debate
1. "The reality is, no one cares about some portrait of a smirking woman from hundreds of years ago," asserts conceptual artist and millionaire @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Hirst, pouring formaldehyde over a chainsawed @@ANIMAL@@. "To get people excited about the arts, we need to display artworks that are relevant to this day and age - like mine."

2. "Our National Art Gallery is no place for your avant-garde junk!" responds caustic art critic Ryan Sewer, admiring a renaissance-era still life of a fruit bowl. "The National Art Gallery is underfunded. The government needs to spend more on preserving and promoting @@NAME@@'s creative heritage, or we risk becoming a nation of uncultured swine!"

3. "There's no need to be bitter over the differences in your aesthetic tastes," soothes sociologist @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Our galleries need diversity. We should fill them with works from around the world, from all styles, and from all eras. Then we can proudly consider ourselves a beacon for cultural tolerance."

4. "This just goes to show that the common man lacks the percipience to truly appreciate art," scoffs Lord Marmaduke, handing his monocle to his butler to polish. "If these plebs cannot appreciate the magnificent works the National Gallery have on display, they should be in the hands, and dare I say houses, of those with the taste - and perhaps money - to do so."

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#518: Face Lift [Zongzi; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After a prominent artist was arrested for attempting to chisel the historic frontage of a particularly ugly courthouse into a sculpture, architectural firms and aspiring artists have petitioned you to renovate crumbling government buildings.

The Debate
1. "These old buildings are ugly and falling apart!" bemoans aspiring artist @@RANDOMNAME@@, while painting nude artwork of you as a form of protest. "If you let artists redesign your buildings, even amateurs, I guarantee the future of our nation will be more colorful, creative, and interesting! All we need is your permission and lots and lots of paint!"

[2]. "Why trust these amateurs when you could hire real professionals?" asks world renowned architect and CEO of Barry & Associates Architecture @@RANDOMNAME@@, while making the final touches to a scale model display of a futuristic-looking @@CAPITAL@@. "As the head of the most experienced architectural firm in @@NAME@@, we are the best choice for renovating the government buildings of our nation. Not only will we have great designs, we'll only use the most modern materials available. Of course there is some considerable money involved, but think of your new fiberglass palace and futuristic office!" A beam suddenly falls down and destroys the model city, resulting in the architect letting out an anguished cry. [Must have private industry]

3. "Bah! In communist East Lebatuck, buildings redesign you!" exclaims a musky foreign dignitary, seen wearing the dullest of gray clothes. "Look, your buildings aren't prettiest, but updating current aesthetics of building will keep loyal citizens focused on important thing, like harvest, parades and glorious leader. Private sector crooks or hack artist bring nothing but excessive monstrosities that lures people into decadence; only state itself should care for buildings. It be cheap and effective as well, all you need is plaster and portrait of yourself."

4. "Why fix our buildings at all?" queries the eccentric curator of the @@CAPITAL@@ National History Museum while punching a hole in your wall. "These old buildings are best enjoyed as part of history. Turn these moldy government offices and legislatures into a museum for all of @@NAME@@ to enjoy. We'll of course need some flashy advertising and authentic historical artifacts to get people interested. People would pay good money to see the original draft of the constitution that has the word 'suckers' in it. Just think of the patriotism and tourism money when people walk through those old, hallowed hallways. Well, maybe more curiosity than patriotism."

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#519: School's Out (Of Control) [Caracasus; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
After students at a school revolted and attempted to secede from @@NAME@@ - leading to a three-day siege that was thankfully peacefully resolved - educators, parents and newspapers across the country have called for something to be done about discipline in schools.

The Debate
1. "It's this modern let's-be-friends teaching style that is to blame," rants Ethel Bunch, a tired-looking retired headmistress, "We're all so concerned with mollycoddling these little hooligans that we've forgotten what education is supposed to do – instil obedience, discipline and respect for authority! Let's get in former army drill sergeants to teach the little sods. Sure, they might not have any formal teaching qualifications, but good teaching mostly just comes down to shouting louder than the children, in my experience."

2. "Well now, let's not blow this out of proportion," muses Mai Soixantehuit, a political science teacher, who until recently worked at the school in question. "Things may have gotten a little out of hand, but let's acknowledge that the students set up a functional working society in under three days. I say that they were exploring and learning under their own direction! Even the pipe bombs they made show great grasp of advanced chemistry. Schoolchildren should be given freedom to direct their own education and untap their personal potentials!"

3. "So we're either turning them into obedient robots or letting them run riot?" questions well-meaning parent @@RANDOMNAME@@. "We need to reach out to these poor, misguided kids and speak to them on their level! We need teachers who know how to talk to the youth of today in their own language. You should be doing more too, @@LEADER@@. Perhaps you should set up one of those MyFace pages, and would it kill you to wear a baseball cap once in a while?"

4. "I can see a lot of very unhappy teenagers in @@NAME@@," notes @@RANDOMNAME@@, a prominent children's psychotherapist. "In my professional opinion this disruptive behaviour is little more than a symptom of an epidemic of youth psychological problems! Ensure that these children have access to the support they need - assign a psychologist to every school and ease up restrictions on prescribing mood-altering medications to children. Perhaps then we'll start to see calmer, happier children."
Last edited by Jutsa on Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:52 am, edited 41 times in total.

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Jutsa
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Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#520: Preach With Me If You Want To Live [Raionitu; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
The military has seen a sharp rise in complaints against chaplains who often pressure soldiers, particularly atheists and those adhering to foreign religions, into converting prior to battle. Military officials and soldiers have come for your guidance as the chaplain issue has brought troop morale to an all time low.

The Debate
1. "Of course we need chaplains, for the soldiers' peace of mind!" pleads long-serving chaplain, fourth Lieutenant @@RANDOMNAME@@ while taking a break from trying to convert your staff. "If we give them the comfort and blessings of the Creator, their quality of life, happiness, and motivation will greatly improve. Granted, they may lose focus from all the people trying to convert them, but at least their souls will join the Creator!"

2. "Oh please. The last thing I need before I die is some loudmouth preacher trying to convert me!" complains pessimistic Private and proud atheist @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ as he uses your handkerchief to polish his weapon. "All us soldiers would be better off, and more willing to stay alive, without these crazy chaplains telling us how 'our deaths are meaningless' or that we're 'eternally damned' if we don't convert. For the sake of soldiers' peace and quiet, military chaplains must be banned! Religion has no place in the military."

3. "Well, the problem isn't the presence of religion, it's that my troops are hearing it in the wrong place," suggests the devout seventh battalion commander, Captain @@RANDOMNAME@@. "We must make the military accommodating to all beliefs in the interest of tolerance and fairness. Sure, you might end up with some oddballs, like that captain in ninth battalion who worships the flying purple meatball monster or people who don't believe anything at all, but hey, at least our troops can find their own path to spiritual enlightenment.

[4]. "These chaplains have gotten me thinking," muses the head of the @@CAPITAL@@ chapter of @@FAITH@@, whose sparkling ten-foot tall hat was recognizable from miles away. "Why don't you place the military under our command? After a massive expansion, we can force all soldiers to convert so we can wage a divine holy war against the heathens and non-believers in @@REGION@@. Then once we've purged @@REGION@@ of its sins, we can turn our attention to the blasphemers in our own country. Ahh, the Almighty will surely look upon our work with great favour! All I need is your signature here." [Must have a national religion]

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#521: The Wreck Of The Edward Fitzpatrick [Drawkland; ed:Logophilia Lyricalia]

The Issue
The media's obsession of the week is the "Edward Fitzpatrick," a @@DENONYMADJECTIVE@@ ore freighter that sank in a sudden freak storm while shipping its haul of raw taconite across Great @@ANIMAL@@ Lake for smelting. The ship, its cargo, and crew were all lost.

The Debate
1. "Oh, well, this is a terrible disaster," sighs Remus Titan, CEO of Consolidated Resource Acquisition Partners. "Do you know how many tons of ore that ship was carrying? That's hundreds of thousands of @@CURRENCY@@ my company's lost!" Wiping a kerchief across his brow, he continues. "You know, the government really ought to send some money our way to make up for the lost capital. It's for the best. With a hefty tax break, we can make sure such a terrible tragedy doesn't happen to our bottom line - uh, employees - again."

2. Bereaved family member Andrea Doria, still in funeral attire, shoves your secretary aside as she storms into your office. "Do you realize what a horrible crime this wreck really was? I'll have you know that one of the sailors on the Edward Fitzpatrick was my husband's cousin's half-brother! Do you know how much this has impacted me and my family? All because those mining industry jackals don't give a damn about their employees!" She takes a breath and continues, "My point is, those weasels should be forced to pay reparations to the families of the victims, AND overhaul their whole fleet - more lifeboats, more safety regulations, engine tune-ups, the works! Maybe if they actually cared about those sailors they wouldn't have sent them out on such a ramshackle old hulk."

3. "You're missing the whole point," cries model train enthusiast Lionel Brio as he starts laying track all over your office. "The problem here is that we were using the wrong kind of transport in the first place! Boats are old and prone to sink, and rocks don't exactly float." He gets a gleam in his eye as a six-inch locomotive blows smoke in your face. "What we need is trains. Picture it: we convert mining transport to railways, and all the danger of sailing will become a thing of the past! It won't be cheap, but we'll have the best rail network in @@REGION@@, and more importantly I'll get some new model freight cars for my collection!"

4. Jordan Brighthand, a popular @@DENONYMADJECTIVE@@ folk singer, strides into your office, a battered acoustic guitar slung on his shoulder. "You know, @@LEADER@@, the story of this shipwreck has really inspired me," he says as he strums out a melody. "Let's face it, you can't stop tragedies like this. It's just fate. But what we can do is immortalize the victims in song, so that future generations of @@DENONYMPLURAL@@ can hear the stories of our past. It sure beats reading about 'em - why stick your nose in a book when your guitar can gently weep over the coffins?"

5. "Well the answer's clear to me," says Hal Stoker, the most popular weather forecaster in @@CAPITAL@@. "This was a failure by meteorologists all around Great @@ANIMAL@@ Lake. This is a red flag that's telling you to pour some government funds into the @@DENONYMADJECTIVE@@ Institute of Meteorology. Our weather forecasters have been poorly trained on outdated equipment for years as the Institute languished. We really need better gear; the new Rotating Aerial Inversion Navigator, that's the RAIN-420 doppler radar, is a real beauty, I gotta get my hands on that - oh, uh, and we'll save some lives, too."

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#522: Time To Get Serious [The Free Joy State; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
It's a slow news day, and so a recent study by the Scientific Centre of Analytical Metadata is getting considerable attention. After a decade of expensive travel to exotic climes, researchers have concluded that nations where people laugh more have a lower GDP. Your advisers have gathered to find out what you want to do.

The Debate
1. "That's just a funny coincidence!" yells joke shop owner @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ as she waves a rubber-chicken at you, her cheeks puffed out in anger. "Laughter is a tonic! Laughter is the best medicine! If you take away laughter, you destroy the beating heart of @@NAME@@! Dismiss this crackpot theory and keep the joy that makes @@NAME@@ so great... by subsidising the humour-retail industry!"

2. "At last! The link is proven!" notes clothes factory owner @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ as he spies on his staff through CCTV. "I last smiled seventy-two years ago and it is an accident I have striven not to repeat! Every day, the girls who should be working my machines are just laughing. I keep telling them to keep their heads down, but they keep on giggling and smiling and... oh, they're so disobedient! Someone needs to punish them. Give employers the right to dock wages and force extra hours for excessive joviality. That'll show those minxes!"

3. "Why so glum when there's shopping to be done?" sings devoted consumer @@RANDOMNAME@@, sporting a lovely green velvet jacket. "Just cut sales taxes on luxury goods so everybody can shop their way out of misery! Your government is wasting money funding thinktanks and research groups of dubious value. You should cut the funding of SCAM and other analysts, and give me back my own @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@. The resulting spending spree will put a smile on my face AND boost the economy!"

4. "This crass commercialism saddens my heart," observes dour faith leader @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, shaking his head sadly. "What about the soul? Laughter is evil spirits, shaking our bodies. Each guffaw is the spirit of the divine, leaking out of the body. It is Written! For the sake of the collective salvation of @@NAME@@, laughter must be banned!"

5. "How can you listen to these people?" asks depressed laughter therapist @@RANDOMNAME@@, dabbing away a tear. "@@NAME@@ needs joy, now more than ever. We need to bring the art of humour and inner happiness into everybody's lives through intensive programmes in every school and workplace in the country. Happiness doesn't just happen: it needs to be taught!"

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#523: A Family Affair [Gnejs; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
After a recent initiative to plant vast farms of avocados in the tundra of Northern @@NAME@@ proved to be a massive failure, people have begun questioning the wisdom and competence of the highly influential Organization for Unilaterally Researching Science, Trade, Agriculture, Land, Investments and Nationalization. Functionaries from all levels of the Party have lined up outside your office, demanding action.

The Debate
1. "Decline!" roars Kim, Vanguard of the Proletariat, your sister, and overzealous People's Commissar of Enlightenment. "For years we have seen the former glory of higher education sink into an abyss of depravity, idiocy and inefficiency. We must promptly act, before the stains of nepotism and petit bourgeois decadence seep out of the faculty chamber and corrupt every inch of the Party! Purge the incompetents and install only the truest of experts on the council. I would be willing to lead the campaign to bring the means of production and research closer together, for the sake of the @@TYPE@@, of course."

2. "Please don't listen to auntie; you know what she's like with her demagoguery," sighs Kim, leading agricultural researcher and also your nephew. "I'll grant you that the arctic avocados weren't my best idea, and Nikita's fixation with corn farming didn't pan out. However, I'm sure things will get better eventually, and you shouldn't punish creative solutions and youthful enthusiasm! Leave us be, and send auntie and the rest of the revisionists for a standard session of re-proletarianization at the mining operations."

[3]. "Typical. The nomenklatura are unable to see beyond the existing state of things," says Kim, a high ranking Party official that, in a surprising turn of events, has no family connection to you whatsoever. "To advance to the next Historical stage, we must abolish the counter-revolutionary family ties that cloud our judgments and breed corruption. We'll set up mating programs to ensure a healthy flow of offspring and raise all developing @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ as wards of the state. Sure, it doesn't really solve the avocado dilemma, and it might be a tad expensive and complicated to administer, but I'm sure it'll completely eliminate our corruption problem in the long run. Or increase it. Well, there's only one surefire way to find out." [Sex is legal]

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#524: Something Is Rotten In The State Of @@NAME@@ [Kainesia; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
@@NAME@@ has hardly changed its electoral constituencies since King Maxbari IV ruled ancient Maxtopia. After a politician was recently elected to represent 3 people and a @@ANIMAL@@, people have begun debating the merits of reforming electoral areas, and eliminating the so-called "rotten" constituencies.

The Debate
1. "Aren't we supposed to be a democracy?" shouts political activist @@RANDOMNAME@@, who has never voted in an election due to living in a town that was an unincorporated bog the last time electoral borders were drawn. "It's inherently unfair that a tiny burrow of inbred farmers gets as many - or even more - representatives as new and major population centres. The government must redraw the electoral map so each seat is elected by the same number of voters."

2. "Isn't that how we got into this mess in the first place, by drawing up boundaries?" asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, the leader of a well-meaning little liberal party that has consistently failed to gain any representation under the current system. "A better idea would be to put an end to the practice of giving seats to different areas, and instead allocate them based on how many votes the parties get nationally. It might lead to complicated coalitions and a risk for complete failure to agree on anything... but at least it will be fair."

3. "How dare these people say such things about our electoral system?" accuses @@RANDOMNAME@@, self-styled Knight of the Shire, elected to represent a miniscule cluster of rickety chateaus in western @@NAME@@. "We need these constituencies to elect representatives that understand and guard our traditional values. Without them, the government will consist of people with common charisma, but no brains. We could do with rearranging the number of seats each constituency get, however. Just to make sure we elect enough representatives that have a proper understanding of our social order."

[4]. "The right kind of people, yes, hear hear!" agrees Lord Gerry of The Mander, one of your ever-supportive benefactors and campaign donors. "Tradition is grand, splendid in fact. But, election season is nearing, and wouldn't it be nice with a slightly more favourable demographic composition in the voting districts? I've taken the liberty to do a few calculations, and, well, let's just say that a few pen-strokes goes a long way." [Must have private industry]

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#525: Nowhere To Go! [Nova Sodor; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
A number of citizens concerned about the lack of water closets in @@NAME@@ have kicked up such a stink that you've agreed to meet the various groups at your convenience.

The Debate
1. "I can't hold it in any longer!" bursts out @@RANDOMNAME@@, red-faced and desperate. "The need for more free public conveniences in @@NAME@@ is painfully obvious. We demand the government roll out a program of construction lest the lack of them causes a stain on our good nation."

2. "Yes there is a need for more public facilities, but that is such a bog standard solution and would generate so much paperwork," says Luigi Loo, CEO of @@NAME@@'s largest plumbing contractor, Go With The Flow. "Take the plunge with us and we'll give @@NAME@@ the fanciest conveniences in @@REGION@@. I admit this might require customers to spend a penny or two, but they'll feel flushed with success when they see what they get in return."

3. "I have another solution!" cries @@RANDOMNAME@@, spokesbeing of eccentric primitivist group Nature's Call as they take a stool by your desk. "I suggest you wash your hands of the matter by closing what facilities there are, and allow citizens to get back to basics by making it legal for any of us to use the nearest bush." A twig that you hadn't previously noticed falls from their hair.

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#526: Any Idea Where The Law Is, Bessie? [Annihilators of Chan Island; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Residents of an isolated countryside community were powerless to do anything when two armed robbers picked clean the village's three shops in broad daylight. It took the police two hours to arrive on the scene, provoking hysterical outrage over the lack of police presence in outlying rural settlements.

The Debate
1. "I can't sleep at night any more!" sobs @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of the victims of the crime. "Those criminals could strike back at our peaceful haven at any time! When I was a sprog, we had these local village constables that patrolled the town and had the power to deal with local problems as they saw fit, be it by hanging, whipping or summary execution. Sure, whining liberals said that they were abusing their power, but we need them back! Making the police answer to central bureaucracy was a terrible mistake!"

2. "No, dearie, you're not thinking big enough!" complains @@RANDOMNAME@@, local tractor dealership owner. "An ambulance from our nearest hospital takes an hour just to get here! Refuse collectors turn up once a month! It takes my suppliers several days just to deliver materials we need along our rutted country lanes. I mean, what sort of weird vehicle is meant to be able to handle awful terrain like this? We need asphalt roads and steel rails! Build transport connections to every corner of the country!"

[3]. "What is this, the dark ages?" asks teenage video game fan @@RANDOMNAME@@, not even looking up from the latest FPS. "Police cars are never going to be fast enough to get to a crime, no matter how good your roads are. You need fast response hubs with enforcement helicopters, rapid insertion airplanes and police paratroopers, all linked to state of the art satellite surveillance technology. Bad guy in the outback? BAM! The HALO-SWAT teams are there!" [Video games are legal; Computers are legal; Must have internet; Must have aircraft]

4. "Them rowdy ruffians and horrible hooligans wouldn't have got far if I still had my old service revolver!" declares 85 year-old veteran @@RANDOMNAME@@, waving a bayonet at you. "Let's not even talk about what I could have done to them if I had my old tommy gun, pineapple grenades and bazooka as well. I'd have blown those mischievous grins off their faces! We won't even need those doughnut-munching coppers breathing down our necks if I've got my trusty Maxim Gun to hand!"

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#527: The Body Politic [Free Equatorial Nations; ed:Lenyo and Ransium]

The Issue
Ubalin, a small city in southwestern @@NAME@@, was formerly a monarchical city-state before being annexed in the early history of @@NAME@@. DNA testing on the remains of the last king of Ubalin, King Oswyn V, traced his lineage to a local man in a poor district of @@CAPITAL@@.

The Debate
*1. "Momma! Momma! Git the whiskey! No! The gud kind!" shouts @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, the newly-found heir to the House of Ood. "Well, it's about time that my royal 'eritarge is recugnized! I declare myself the absolute ruler of Ubalin as Yer Majesty King Rex! I will be the most high and most excellent king Ubalin has ever had! And as my first act as King, I declare Ubalin's independence from @@NAME@@; the Ubalinders will be free and independent again under my rule." He then turns to your young secretary. "And darling, if you want to be a Queen, just hit me up." [alcohol is legal]

*2. ??? [alcohol is illegal]

**3. "Liberté, égalité, fraternité!" yells @@RANDOMNAME@@, the former mayor of Ubalin, while being pulled out of your office by guards. "That tyrant Oswyn was violently ripped apart by blackout drunk peasants and if you aren't careful the time for revolution will be nigh again. Institute democracy in @@NAME@@!"[Must not have a royal family]

**4. "Liberté, égalité, fraternité!" yells @@RANDOMNAME@@, the former mayor of Ubalin. "We first became a part of this great country as a direct result of when that tyrant Oswyn was violently ripped apart by blackout drunk peasants! To prevent reactionaries from poisoning and breaking apart the nation with outdated traditions, we need to denounce monarchy for the sham it is whenever it pops up, starting with @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ royal family!" [Must have a royal family]

***5. "Maybe there's a compromise," speculates @@RANDOMNAME@@, a prolific jouster and part-time mutton farmer. "How about instead of making him the absolute monarchy of Ubalin, we install King... Rex as a constitutional monarch of Ubalin. That way Ubalin stays a part of @@NAME@@ and continues to be run by competent politicians, but they'll have a bit of tradition to rally behind. And imagine having an actual king open the Ubalin medieval fayre. My mutton sales will go through the roof!" [Must not be vegetarian]

***6. "Maybe there's a compromise," speculates @@RANDOMNAME@@, a prolific jouster and part-time turnip farmer. "How about instead of making him the absolute monarch of Ubalin, we install King... Rex as a constitutional monarch of Ubalin. That way Ubalin stays a part of @@NAME@@ and continues to be run by competent politicians, but they'll have a bit of tradition to rally behind. And imagine having an actual king open the Ubalin medieval fayre. My turnip sales will go through the roof!" [Must be vegetarian]

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#528: Privacy Concerns Reaching New Heights [The Midwestern Atlantic Colonies; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
A man was arrested for shooting down a drone flown near his house. The drone had a camera attached and was allegedly 'ogling his teenage daughter'. Citizens have demanded action over unmanned, publicly available spy drones.

The Debate
*1. "Ain't nobody got the right to spy on my kin!" shouts @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ at a gun rights demonstration outside the capitol building. "It's trespassing is what it is! If you can't climb through my window and take pictures of my house, why should you be able to do it with a flying doohickey? It's my god-given right to shoot down anything that violates my airspace, dagnabbit!" [Guns are legal]

*2. "Ain't nobody got the right to spy on my kin!" shouts @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ while waving a compound crossbow. "It's trespassing is what it is! If you can't climb through my window and take pictures of my house, why should you be able to do it with a flying doohickey? It's my god-given right to shoot down anything that violates my airspace, dagnabbit!" [Guns are restricted from public use]

3. "Wait, what? What's your beef with drones?" says @@RANDOMNAME@@ while piloting a miniature helicopter up to your face. "It's just a harmless way of having fun. This 'spying' stuff is the paranoid ranting of hillbillies looking for an excuse to shoot whatever they please. The government should just mind its own business and butt out of our hobbies."

4. "Why do we even allow unmanned aircraft in the first place?" says @@RANDOMNAME@@, president of the Sunday Fliers, a local private pilot's club. "It's obvious that these drones cause nothing but trouble. Just require that any man-made objects flying overhead have a pilot. If they get a little too close with their cameras, we can try the pilots for trespassing."

5. "Obviously we can't just let anyone run around with these things - that would be ludicrous!" sputters the Chief of Police of Cape @@NAME@@. "However, these drones could certainly help my department find fugitives, carry out investigations, y'know, that sort of thing. Who knows, we could even check up on our citizens every now and again too. There's probably loads of illegal things folks are up to because they think they won't get caught."

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#529: Attack Of The Attack Ads [Czechostan; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
As an increasingly tense election season looms, candidates have already begun smearing their opponents with vulgar and offensive campaign advertisements. Politicians and pundits of all corners of the political spectrum have asked you to bring some civility back to politics.

The Debate
1. “Whatever happened to the good old days?” cries MP @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, who saw an ebb of support along with a slew of negative ads targeting his large nose. “Politicians used to be elected based on merit, but now the election process has turned into such a sham! One single ad-hominem attack is all it takes to tarnish an honorable politician's career. Not to be nosy, but the government should step in and prevent the media from advertising attack ads and political campaigns from producing them. I can hear the complaints now: 'blah blah free speech, blah blah censorship', but if that's the price to pay to restore honour to politics, then so be it."

2. “If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen,” vents political strategist @@RANDOMNAME@@, who was the mastermind behind your most recent election victory. “Perhaps the reason the MP lost support was not because of negative campaigning, but rather poor policies and performance. Attack adverts are as old as politics itself and are no more rampant or influential today than than they've ever been - leave them be. I've even taken the liberty of producing a smear campaign for you to use regarding your main opponent being an East Lebatuckese spy who is also part of an illegal organ harvesting cult.”

3. “Have you ever thought that maybe there's a good reason @@NAME@@ is gripped by the magic of attack ads?” questions sleazy television executive @@RANDOMNAME@@. “We love filth! We love drama! These issues like 'climate change,' 'corruption,' 'deteriorating relations with Maxtopia,' they're real downers and will they ever REALLY be solved? Surely @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ agree - politics is a spectacle and a blood sport, and one that needs to be drenched in more garbage, not less. We shall make the politics of @@NAME@@ the greatest reality show in @@REGION@@! Heck, we can even use that Question Period footage that featured the Opposition Leader getting egged and that random MP smashing a chair on the Interior Minister for our opening title!”

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#530: Regenerative Permaculture Emergence [Esternarx; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Guerilla gardening - that is, illegal trespass onto unused or blighted urban land with the express intention of horticultural cultivation - is on the rise in @@NAME@@. Activists have in particular focused their campaigns against the properties of the largest and most environmentally destructive corporations.

The Debate
1. "This is a protest, dude, to draw attention to the abuse of Mother Earth with ad-hoc environmental entrepreneurship," explains self-professed eco-agorist @@RANDOMNAME@@, trowel in one hand and manifesto in the other. "We're taking back the land from those that despoil and destroy, and making life instead. Just turn a blind eye and let the counter-economy address these criminally polluting companies through direct action. Give peas a chance, man!"

*2. "I had just spent millions of @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ on clear-cutting that manky old rainforest and putting up a brand new parking lot for my valued customers and employees, when these filthy garden-variety criminals came along. They used jackhammers in the dead of night and tore up my pristine asphalt sea!" explains oppressed big-business executive @@RANDOMNAME@@, while caressing the spine of an Ayn Bland novel like a pet. "Instead of a beautiful ocean of shiny automobiles on a plain of black tar, there's now ugly grass, flowers and apple saplings! Lock up these trespassers! Better yet, sentence them to hard labour putting things back how they should be." [Cars are legal]

*3. “I had just spent millions of @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ on clear-cutting that manky old beach-forest and putting up a brand new cargo docks for my business partners and importers, when these filthy garden-variety criminals came along. They used jackhammers in the dead of night and tore up my pristine concrete creation!” explains oppressed big-business executive @@RANDOMNAME@@, while caressing the spine of an Ayn Bland novel like a pet. “Instead of a beautiful expanse of colourful shipping containers on a plain of glorious grey stone, there's now ugly grass, flowers and apple saplings! Lock up these trespassers! Better yet, sentence them to hard labour putting things back how they should be.” [Cars are illegal]

4. "Look, everybody loves broccoli, but we can't just let people grow food without permission!" notes @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Agricultural Minister. "Forget the trespassing: these maniacs are growing runner beans that are sometimes a whole inch longer than industry regulations allow! What this country needs is strict new laws and more agents to enforce them in order to properly regulate this regenerative trend and ensure that any and all gardens being planted are conforming to official standards. These guerrilla farmers can't be trusted to act responsibly; only through wise cultivation under my agency's guidance can we properly manage agriculture."

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#531: Lèse Majesté Maladies [Nuremgard; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
After a newscaster insulted the Crown Prince live on TV, saying that His Royal Highness was both fat and ugly, furious monarchists have demanded that lèse majesté laws prosecute the newscaster for defaming the Royal Family.

The Debate
1. "His Royal Highness weighs a modest 100 kilograms, not 200 like that @@NAME@@-hating swine claims!" spits court photographer @@RANDOMNAME@@. "And the Crown Prince's eleventh finger and atypical jaw add character! It's right and proper that traitors like that newscaster be in prison. The Royal Family deserves everyone's respect, because an attack on the dignity of the monarchy is an attack on the dignity of the state. For the good of the @@TYPE@@, our reigning dynasty must be protected from all slander, even if said slander is technically true."

2. "Absolute nonsense," retorts miniature wargamer Ollie Crumbwell, setting aside his army of new models to speak with you. "Lèse Majesté laws are medieval and backward. People should be allowed to say whatever they like about the Royals. Their fancy titles and tiaras shouldn't protect them from criticism, because our leading political figures need to know what the people really think about them. Otherwise they'll become completely out of touch. That means @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ have every right to mock the Crown Prince's hacking cough and missing nose."

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#532: Desert Island Risks [Hell Bovines; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
An anonymous whistle-blower has released thousands of documents detailing how law firms in the tiny tropical island nation of Manamana helped politicians and businesspeople from @@NAME@@ hide millions of @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ in undeclared income. The scandal, dubbed the "Manamana Memos" by the media, has rocked @@NAME@@, as it involves several famous figures, including world leaders and public officials linked to your government.

The Debate
1. "This is clearly a law enforcement issue," muses @@RANDOMNAME@@, head of the Financial Crimes division. "This is a reflection of the state of neglect my division finds itself in. We need more manpower, state of the art computer systems, new vehicles, maybe some snappy new uniforms, and of course, new legislation that gives us broader powers to investigate financial crimes, including the subpoenaing and wiretapping of suspects. Give us the resources we need and I'll have those fat cats paying their taxes in no time."

2. "Oh my Violet! What is this communist madness?" screams Alistair Sid, the blue-haired and googly-eyed senior-partner at one of the implicated law firms. "My clients are furious! What kind of country is this when you can't even have assets abroad without the press snooping on them?" He pauses to tear up a packet of chocolate chips, devouring all of them voraciously before continuing his tirade. "Me want you to make this go away, @@LEADER@@. Journalists should have no right to publish private financial data of politicians and corporations; it's a breach of privacy and public trust! Prosecute all the journalists and so-called whistle-blowers responsible for this! Oh Violet, it looks like I picked the wrong week to quit dropping spunkmeyers, om nom nom nom."

3. "The problem is capitalism," argues social activist and @@NAME@@'s oldest politician 'Colonel' Ernie Flanders. "We wouldn't be in this mess if tax havens weren't allowed in the first place. It is outrageous! Multinational corporations and the top one percent can suck the wealth from our country dry and then take it offshore to some so-called financial paradise to avoid paying taxes. We need capital controls to prevent economic collapse so we don't end up in an economic mess like Bigtopia. We need to wage war against this corrupt system! Outlaw this practice at once!"

4. "The problem is government and @@LEADER@@'s incompetence," counters noted billionaire Edward Rump, who was coincidentally listed in the Manamana Memos. "People come up to me all the time and tell me that they take their money abroad because they are tired of dealing with the draconian tax code and endless bureaucracy in this country. In order for @@NAME@@ to be great again, we need to prosper and be wealthy. In order to be wealthy, by the way I love the wealthy, we need to simplify the tax code and lower taxes. Freedom will ring and it'll be amazing. So amazing."

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#533: Hearsay Heresy [Losthaven; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
In a recent high profile trial in @@CAPITAL@@, notorious mobster Maxine 'The Octopus' Barryotti was accused of murder, racketeering, grand theft, and jaywalking. The trial ended in acquittal on all counts after several witnesses - who had given detailed and damning out-of-court statements to police - failed to come to court. The prosecutor's office has now come to you demanding that @@NAME@@ review its laws regarding the use of out-of-court statements.

The Debate
1. "What a miscarriage of justice!" shouts disgruntled district attorney Haley Dent, as she flings a huge stack of police reports on your desk. "Look at all of these great statements made by a dozen witnesses, but now that jerk Maxine goes free just because they didn't personally show up. You know how hard it is to wrangle up a dozen witnesses for trial? Like herding bats! That trial should have ended in a guilty verdict after five minutes, but the way things are it's a coin-flip whether justice is done or not. If a witness makes a report to a cop, that cop should be able to testify to what was said."

2. "You can't be serious!" cries family attorney Tam Hagen, who defended Barryotti. "Don't you realize we have this rule against out-of-court statements for a reason? A person can only have a fair trial if they get to confront their accuser face to face in open court. Sometimes the reason witnesses don't show up to trial is that they know they were lying to police all along! Allowing in all of these out-of-court statements will mean more innocent people get convicted. Sure, sometimes a guilty person will go free... ahem, not my client of course, but some actually guilty person. But isn't it better a thousand guilty people go free than to wrongfully convict even a single person?"

3. "All of this is too complicated," interrupts Mark Commodus, an imperious-seeming minister, "and this right here is why people are so darn sick of all these courts and legal shenanigans. Seems like any way you slice it, dumb rules get in the way of justice. I propose a third way: bring back trial by ordeal! Let the accused wrestle with an @@ANIMAL@@, and if they win they didn't do it and get to go free. If they lose, we lock up or bury whatever remains. It's a foolproof system that our ancestors used for a thousand years, and I'll tell ya, they didn't waste a pretty penny on it!"

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#534: Too Few Cooks In The Kitchen [Drasnia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Following the most recent election, it has come to your attention that some politicians ran unopposed. Some ridings still remain without a representative due to an incredible lack of interest. As apathy rises, you have been called to fix what many are calling a "broken system".

The Debate
1. "I'm disappointed that people don't participate in government," sighs high school civics teacher @@RANDOMNAME@@ while trying to squeeze past your bodyguards. "We can't practice democracy if we don't have a choice to make! Here's my solution: elected positions should not be filled until there are multiple candidates. Why not funnel some funding towards encouraging people to stand for election? You could pay people a stipend for taking the time out to run for office, and have a pot of money to pay campaigning expenses of those too poor to fund themselves."

2. A retinue of burly guards clear out all the citizens from your office as the boisterous mayor of @@CAPITAL@@ walks in. "The fact that I have won the last five elections because I was the only candidate means nothing. Actually, it means that the people love me too much to challenge me because I'm the best dang mayor this city's ever had! Don't fix the system, @@LEADER@@, because the system ain't broken. It ought to be left in the hands of people like ourselves who know how to get things done."

3. "Nobody wants to run for office because nobody wants to be in the government," replies your mother as she tries to make dinner plans with you. "Think about it. When was the last time someone who actually presented a challenge ran against you? When I was raising you and your siblings, I'd settle who got to play with the toys by drawing straws, and I think we can use the same approach. People from all over @@NAME@@ could be chosen at random to fill a government office for a fixed term. As an added bonus, it would root out the corrupt career politicians and opportunists, since they couldn't run for office anymore. Sure, these new people aren't as qualified, but fair's fair, right?"

4. "Look at this cat video!" exclaims your easily distracted brother while showing you a video of a kitten being potty trained. "The thing is, @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ are too dumb to figure out the issues, let alone the right candidate. Do you really think the average Joe cares about the ongoing oil crisis in Maxtopia or increasing tensions with East Lebatuck? All they care about is making sure they have a slice of pizza while watching their shows. Wouldn't it be easier if you picked the candidates for your Party and screened out the undesirables? The Opposition can of course implement similar rules for their parties. Oh, look, a squirrel!" Your brother runs outside your office and begins to chase a squirrel around a tree.

5. "Ha ha! The kitty thinks it's people!" squees your rather shallow niece after picking up her father's phone. "Isn't it cute? Way cuter than any of those ugly politicians I was supposed to support last election. It would be so much easier for me if I didn't have to worry about voting. With all that time I would save, I could start a vlog!"

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#535: NationStates Destroys @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Economy [Ballotonia; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
Productivity numbers in @@NAME@@ are plummeting, while employees are found slacking off on the job playing online games. A game called NationStates is especially blamed for the loss of an enormous amount of man-hours per day.

The Debate
1. "This game is an outrage!" says pointy-haired IT-manager Daniel Olaf Santos, who was recently permabanned from the site for repeated trolling and excessive picspam of phallic images. "Too many people waste their time playing silly simulation games and discussing LOLcats and transgenderism when they should be spending their time productively. Our economy cannot afford this nonsense; let us get rid of those online games, NationStates in particular!"

2. "Oh, no... oh, no... You can't take away my NationStates! I've got to have my NationStates!" pleads @@RANDOMNAME@@, a prominent figure within the site's Conquer/Reclaim sub-culture. "Uhhh... I mean, uhhh... playing a game is just harmless fun, really, and it works great to reduce stress or helps one to get through a boring day at the office. What we need to do is improve the financial conditions for the people running the site, so they can give us even more features! That'll make all of us happier, and there's nothing better for productivity than a cheerful workforce, right?"

3. "I'll have you know that NationStates can be used for all sorts of productive purposes," insists @@RANDOMNAME@@, who looks suspiciously similar to site owner and operator Max Barry, apart from the fake moustache. "It can be a useful educational tool if integrated in school classes on politics and civics, for example. Just imagine it: an entire generation of tech-savvy youngsters armed with first-hand knowledge on how to navigate complex political issues. @@NAME@@ would be the envy of @@REGION@@. What are you waiting for, @@LEADER@@, make NationStates a mandatory part of the curriculum in all schools!"

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#536: Every Witch Way Spells Disaster [The Newly Reformed Keldacia; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
In remote villages of Western @@NAME@@, mobs of angry villagers have taken to lynching women accused of witchcraft. Concerned citizens have come to you to for answers.

The Debate
1. "Well, someone had to do it!" yelps self-appointed head of one of the border towns' lynch mobs, Edward Salem. "That lady was commitin' witcheries left and right, turned my nephew into a newt she did! I mean... he got better, but that's besides the point! The gov'ment needs to let us protect ourselves and rid our peace lovin' towns of these foul she-devils!"

2. "No no, that won't work," says a tall, dark-haired mysterious stranger walking into your office with a gust of wind stirring his long duster coat and hat. He throws a crossbow onto your desk before continuing, "These simple folk do not have the honed skills to hunt witches or any other devil of the night for that matter. But I am a monster hunter. If you set up a sanctioned guild, then we can properly hunt these necromancers."

3. "We'd appreciate it if you would all kindly mind your own business," chastises Hermione Potter, who is dressed in a long black robe and pointed hat. "Our traditions are centuries old, and it is about time the government stepped in and protected us. You'd do well to build us a proper school away from these barbar – oh honestly Ronald, give me that," she takes a carved wand from a young red-headed boy, "it's Lo-go-phil-ia Levi-o-sa, make the 'phil' nice and long."

4. "Where shall I begin?" coolly starts the head of the local planetarium, Dr. Carl deLawne Dyson. "These people, these simple farmers, they are taking what they don't understand and they are calling it witchery. This sort of unsubstantiated ignorance must be stamped out. There is no such thing as witches, plain and simple. We need to start working towards a future free from these backwards superstitions at whatever cost."

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#537: Summary Injustice [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
An anti-corruption case accusing a Constitutional Court Judge of abusing his power was recently dismissed without trial, because the same Constitutional Court Judge said that he was 'too tired to read the case notes'. After a week of bad press, the national ombudsman is demanding that you review the case personally, as it has become a cause célèbre within the legal community.

The Debate
1. "The system in place is a mockery of justice, beholden to the whims and corruptibility of individual judges," lectures Ombudsman @@RANDOMNAME@@, who is once again concerned with the plight of the common man. "The little guy doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell when one biased judge gets to decide everything! We simply must bring back trial by jury for all criminal cases, or else our legal system will be considered as hopelessly corrupt as Maxtopia's."

2. "Why would we ever trust legal judgment to the untrained and unwashed masses?" asks Justice @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ over tea and scones in his tower-shaped house, which appears to be made of ivory. "Only the legal elite are sufficiently educated to decide cases properly, especially on such complicated matters as criminal law. Uphold the decision of the Constitutional Court, and let me also sentence those annoying agitators for wasting the court's precious time with this nonsense."

3. "I'll admit it: unilateral judgement is a flawed system," observes Clotho Cerberus, one of the three Cerberus sisters, who is promptly interrupted by her sibling Lachesis Cerberus. "But I also acknowledge my sister's point that citizen juries lack the legal knowledge to make sound judgments." Atropos Cerberus then interrupts the other two siblings, "So why not have all courts run by a triumvirate of judges, with a two-to-one majority needed to impose sentences? That way, no one bad seed can corrupt the entire judiciary."

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#538: @@LEADER@@, Let Your People Go! [The Rejected Realms Issue Committee; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Tragedy struck last Friday when police had to be called to a pop concert when the queue for the women's washroom devolved first into squabbles, then a violent free-for-all, as desperate female fans fought to get to the front.

The Debate
1. "Women being forced to wait is... is... just another form of sexism," complains @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a cross-legged concert-goer, with strained emphasis. "By forcing businesses and old stadiums to accommodate more… more… ah, people in women's washrooms, we can finally realise a fairer, more equal experience at the wash- SPEED IT UP, GRANS, SOME OF US HAVE GOT TO GO!"

2. "What a load of sh-" starts @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, a controversial heavy metal singer, before being interrupted by the concert-goer elbowing her way past him with a desperate look on her face. "Look, if they don't like having to wait for the loo they can always bring their 'business' elsewhere. It's a free market. Nobody is forcing them folks to go there. One washroom for each gender. Fair is fair if fair is fair, am I right?"

3. "One washroom is fine, sweeties, but why all this fuss over artificial categories?" asks Mx. @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, looking great in a fetching tuxedo and miniskirt combo. "Just take off the boy and girl signs on the doors, and be gender fluid about where you pass your fluids. Where would you be without me, darling?"

4. "Oh wow, I really feel for these girls!" says @@RANDOMMALEFIRSTNAME@@, one of the five singers from boy band 'The Unattended Gents', whose pop concert was so tumultuous. "It's our fault, for sure. I've written a song all about how sorry we are, and the gentle massage I'm gonna give those girls to make up for it. But hey, I know how we can fix this. Let's have every visit to the little lady's room cost 1 @@CURRENCY@@, then those queues will be a thing of the past. We can all be happy together, forever."

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#539: All My Bits Are Belong To You [Hell Bovines; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Robotics giant Robot4U Inc. has caused an uproar in @@NAME@@ for its new product – Mindy The Android Wife. Budding 'android rights' activists and feminist groups have demanded the sale of such units be outlawed.

The Debate
1. "This revolting product sets gender equality back a century!" says noted feminist writer @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ as she signs copies of her latest book, Still Wild at 40. "It reflects a male obsession with having women slaving as housewives. Mindy is a docile patriarchal archetype that cooks, cleans, irons and has no true free will. This modern day misogynistic slavery is disgusting! The sale of Mindy units should be outlawed at once, and whatever units already sold should be seized, deactivated and thrown in a ditch somewhere!"

2. "Has anyone actually asked Mindy?" asks Brent Noonian Soong, CEO of Robot4U Inc, with several different Mindy models by his side. "I doubt any of these complainers and naggers have actually bothered to talk to her. Mindy is a realistic android that feels, learns, and knows how to have fun. Ask her yourself and Mindy will tell you how happy she is, won't you Mindy? We'll even give you one so you can show all of @@NAME@@ how dedicated Mindy is. Oh, and can you make android marriage legal? You'll never need to argue with your wife again. Mindy even comes with an off switch!"

3. "Unlike the misogynists over at Robot4U, we manufacture both androids and gynoids in all sexual orientations," replies @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, CEO of rival high-tech manufacturer CyberMirage Labs, seen holding hands with a male android. "Thanks to my fully functional boyfriend, Mark, every day I'm aware how hard things are for robots. Our androids won't be sold as slaves. Instead, they shall be free as and equal to any other @@DEMONYMNOUN@@, just with purchasable upgrades to their... equipment. @@LEADER@@, let people love and marry whoever they want, be they human or automaton." The businesswoman then passionately kisses her android in front of everyone in the room.

4. "Robots… bah humbug!" sighs retiree @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ from his favorite park bench right outside your office. "We didn't need no newfangled robots when I was your age! We did all the hard work ourselves." He launches into a tirade of anecdotes and war stories, pausing only to feed some pigeons. Eventually, as you are about to leave, he gets to the point. "Anyways, if you want to be strong and sharp like my generation you young'uns need to eat your spinach and ban all those machines and technologies that are making you fat, lazy, and completely dependent!"
Last edited by Jutsa on Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:20 pm, edited 41 times in total.

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Jutsa
Minister
 
Posts: 3157
Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#540: Shh! Spoilers! [Katalaysia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After one of your recent speeches included an accidental spoiler for the bestselling novel Hexicon, angry librarians, teenagers, and fantasy aficionados have completely surrounded your office in protest. After a hard day's work, you have agreed to meet with the protesters, if only so that you can get out of the building.

The Debate
1. "Speeches, not spoilers!" chants your teenage niece, who has been leading the protest. "Look, I'm trying to be a good citizen here, paying attention to what's going on around me, but if you're going to spoil something that I haven't even had chance to read, then I'm not going to bother! If you really need to talk about stuff that isn't politics in your speeches, at least warn us about it! Sure, it might look a bit silly, but who cares? This is almost as bad as when I was told that Planet of the @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ was @@REGION@@ all along!"

2. "Can't these people get a life?" asks your visibly tired speechwriter @@RANDOMNAME@@, who has been shredding hate mail all day. "Simply say something appeasing, then carry on your business as you normally would. Honestly, I wish I had the free time to read; then I'd finally find out why everyone keeps getting so upset about this Dumbledore business. Besides, wouldn't referencing pop culture make you 'cool' and 'with it', as the kids are saying these days?"

3. "Who cares what 'rosebud' meant, or who was the real Caesar So-say? There's more to life than fiction," observes your always serious Finance Minister @@RANDOMNAME@@, who is known around the office as a total buzzkill. "What's important here is that you've given a lot, and I mean a lot of publicity to that hack of an author, and he hasn't paid us a single cent! Maybe if people are going to care so much about what you talk about in those speeches of yours, we should be getting companies to pay for the privilege of being mentioned. Sure, some may call it 'bribery' and 'unethical', but there's no such thing as free advertising."

4. "Spoilers must be banned!" wails George JK Token, the beloved and bearded fantasy author of Hexicon and the popular A Play of Crowns series. "It's of no coincidence that mere days after you spoiled my book, it fell from its number one position on the @@CAPITAL@@ Times best seller list. Spoilers greatly harm the publishing and entertainment industries. Nobody wants to bother with something if they know how it ends! I urge you to make it illegal to spoil. If you don't, well, then I just might have to kill off Aya Lark in the next Play of Crowns book, seeing how she's your favorite character."

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#541: Spare The Whip, Spoil The Law [Annihilators of Chan Island; ed:Logophilia Lyricalia]

The Issue
This past week the legislature shot down a flagship law, setting back your whole agenda at least a year. Considering your party had a comfortable majority and should easily have passed the bill, your inner circle has been considering what kind of discipline to impose on parliamentary rebels.

The Debate
1. "I'm telling you, police those fools!" shouts an angry @@RANDOMNAME@@, the legislator who co-authored the proposed law with you. "No, I mean literally! Have the building security officers march around in full riot gear, looking every MP right in the eye! I dare any of my lily-livered colleagues to defy our will THEN! A strong and unified party means a strong and unified @@NAME@@, whatever those opposition goons may blather."

2. Loyalist legislator Francis Woodheart has other ideas on what to do with the rebels. "We really don't need anything quite so drastic, my friend. We can police ourselves! Just appoint me as 'whip,' and then I can use the power of persuasion on any party members who won't fall in line. Don't like the government's budget proposal? That's a shame, I really wanted to drop your name in @@LEADER@@'s ear for that open cabinet post..."

3. "Members of our legislature have ALWAYS voted according to their conscience," bellows @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of the dissenters. "That bill would have destroyed our way of life in Northwest @@NAME@@, and we won't allow that to happen! You snooty @@CAPITAL@@ scalawags keep flogging the same old dead horses, trying to bulldoze our culture, and we're plum sick of it. There've gotta be more safeguards against partisan and sectional tyranny. We need to have local control of local issues, and institute a secret ballot in the legislature. Only then are we safe from the storm of wrath and repercussions - from you, from the donors, or from the voters."

4. "Uh, speaking of voters..." mutters Sandy Berman, the Minister of Domestic Affairs. "Remember them? You're all so focused on getting your own agendas passed that you've forgotten why we're here in the first place! The voters didn't send us here to squabble like screaming children about who didn't support someone's National Moose Empowerment Act! They want us to get things done, and they'll bring home anyone who's not pulling their weight. Recall elections will make those rebels the local whipping boys. Forget secret ballots, we need to SPREAD the word who voted for what - the electorate will send us the right people if we just give them a chance."

5. "This word 'whip' has me thinking," ponders your old friend and chief-of-staff @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Brutus, who is also the odds-on favorite to replace you one day. "What if we let everyone vote as usual, but every time some upstart so-called 'statesman' votes against your wishes, you ACTUALLY get to whip them! Live, in the public square! Wouldn't that be a delicious spectacle? The sting of the lash, the sound of leather striking flesh... I can't imagine anyone wanting to lead @@NAME@@ without it."

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#542: What A Waste [Atomic Utopia; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Nuclear energy, the source of much of your growing nation's electricity, has been generating radioactive waste as a by-product. As the shadows cast by the mounting piles of warning-emblazoned concrete casks grow ever longer, a concerned populace is looking to you for a more permanent solution.

The Debate
1. "There's a boring and sensible approach," suggests corduroy-clad grey-haired engineer @@RANDOMNAME@@, rolling out a blueprint in front of you and ignoring the yawns of those attending the presentation. "Deep geologic disposal. My team has determined several sites for the construction of an extremely deep shaft underground to dispose of the nuclear waste. It's relatively inexpensive, we can mostly guarantee that the waste will never reach the surface, and it will be far safer than our current storage system. Exciting stuff, eh?"

2. "Let me tell you a story," says Stanley Leigh, the local representative of protest group Citizens Rejecting Atomic Power. "One day, some bad companies mix up this toxic cocktail that can poison people for thousands or millions of years. Then, they bury it, and think nothing more of it. Then, some kid in ten thousand years winds up a one-eyed mutant cyclops, and has no clue why. Turn off the reactors, buddy, and find a better way. Sure it's hard, but people like us have to make hard decisions."

3. "Once again, Science has the answer!" proclaims physics professor @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, striking her best heroic pose and pointing symbolically to the distant horizon. "Vitrification! Ion exchange! Synroc! We can separate out the components of the waste, burn off the long-lived stuff in fast reactors, reallocate the plutonium to weapons manufacture, and leave only short-lived waste that lasts merely hundreds of years. This will mean that we will not run out of fuel, and the environment will be spared from contamination. Increased industrial expenses? Yes. Necessary security costs and extensive safety regulations? Yes, sure, whatever. But, awesome Super Science? Triple yes, yes, yes!"

4. "I feel ashamed to be offering you an even better and easier solution, one that won't cost you a thing and might even make you a little money," simpers Snidely Industries CEO Cornelius Davidson Snidely while twirling his handlebar moustache. "Why, this waste could be sold to some very special international clients who would be very discreet about where they bought it from. I just recently sold them a batch of suitcases and plenty of dynamite: your waste products are the last missing ingredient they need. Dirty money from dirty bombs? No... clean profit margins from a clean sale!"

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#543: Flash, Aaaaaargh! [The Called; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A flash mob caused a public health risk and thousands of @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ in damage after being directed by an online user calling himself Flashy_G. Apparently, the stunt has left the affected area suffused with a choking stench and at least six terrified onlookers have been admitted to hospital with panic attacks and nervous breakdowns. Many of those impacted are demanding you take action.

The Debate
1. "They can't keep getting away with this," states Chief of Police @@RANDOMNAME@@ calmly, eyes fixed on a slow motion playback of the incident's CCTV footage. "This snot nosed little punk wasted an entire day's worth of police time with unnecessary evacuations and dealing with panicking crowds. An online perpetual ID system should be used, so home-grown terrorists can't hide behind their shrouds of anonymity."

2. "I thought it was pretty funny," says Barry Yalen, an itchy-looking teenager scratching at his crotch. "All he said was that it might be droll if a couple of thousand people all showed up to the mall on Tuesday the 18th at 11:32 am and did the Lice Bucket Challenge. He never TOLD anyone to do it. Just that, you know, it'd be funny if people did! You can't start getting mad at people for saying something would be cool. Don't step on our freedoms, man!"

3. "We shouldn't infringe freedom of speech, but we need to do something," grumbles janitor @@RANDOMNAME@@, wielding a pest-spray and mop. "As far as I'm concerned, it's the kids who empty out buckets of bugs who need to be punished. If I told them to jump in front of a bus, would they do it? Personal responsibility is what I'm talking about - have the system sentence all two thousand of these idiots, and put them to community service making the nation a better place."

4. "You know the real problem is how fast Flashy_G was able to spread chaos," observes your Minister of Memetic Warfare, carefully replacing the ink cartridge in her fountain pen. "These little online social media apps can reach hundreds of thousands of people in seconds. That's faster than the police can act or we can counter it. This could escalate from pesky teens spreading pests, to actual mobs destroying our government. On the other hand, if we can control the flow of information, then we can control the country. My people can secretly take control of the social media sites and track down this troublemaker and any others who emerge. Then, rather than silence them, we can adjust their activities to suit our needs."

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#544: Object-Oriented Programming [Lubrumia; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Triple-A videogame title "Panty Theft Auto" has caused a stir amongst feminists and concerned parents, with many demanding government action against objectification and sexualization of women in the game industry.

The Debate
1. "This is disgusting!" cries Alice N. Beck-Dell, a proudly feminist media commentator. "Look at these bimbos in all of these games! They'd need back braces to stand up if they were real! The male protagonist can rack up passive female conquests, and even gets a set of pornographic virtual trading cards for each one he collects. Can't we apply some modern day standards to this growing industry, to limit the objectification? Drooling teenage boys might admittedly be a significant market, but there are adult and women gamers too! Isn't some censorship worth it, for a less misogynistic society?"

2. "You can't be serious," complains Stan Houser, creative director of the game, covertly slipping you some special edition artwork of a chain-mail bikini elf-knight in a brown paper bag. "I like pretty girls. My customers like pretty girls. Pretty girls sell games. It isn't the job of the gaming industry to spread a social message and if these moral crusaders don't like it, they don't have to buy the game. Don't restrict the free market, or freedom of expression."

3. "Whatever Panty Theft Auto is doing is what we real men want!" squeaks nerdy 13-year old @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, stroking his caterpillar-like moustache as he sneaks the chainmail-elf picture into his own pocket. "If anything, we should apply this principle to every piece of media we make and import! Instead of making a censor board, you should have an UNcensor board! Give every female huge pair... uh... personality! Add CGI cut-scenes where we can give these ladies what they need! Hell, make sure ALL media is as sexy as hell! Not only it would benefit us men, it would benefit the economy too!"

4. "The problem here isn't some video games, it's ALL video games," observes disbarred attorney Tom Jackson, peering at you over a stack of lawsuit documents. "Video games keep kids - and adults for that matter - on the couch all day. They rot brains, cause moral decay and encourage violence. I'm not blaming kids here, I'm blaming the media we feed them: don't hate the players, hate the game! Ban this trash, and get kids back outdoors playing healthy and wholesome games like mumbletypeg or pinfinger!"

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#545: Expats On The Electoral Roll? [Nuremgard; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
As an election looms, a controversy arose when an elderly war veteran who lived in Brancaland for the past thirty years was thrown out of an advance polling station. Other @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ living abroad are now demanding that they be allowed to vote, prompting angry responses from voters living in @@NAME@@.

The Debate
1. "We should damn well get a vote!" splutters @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, the expat at the heart of the furore, over the phone from his Brancalandian retirement resort. "We are born and bred citizens of @@NAME@@ and we are entitled to the same basic rights as everyone else, including the right to suffrage. You fascists can't deny us that! Yeah, okay, so the outcome probably won't affect me personally, but I have family in @@CAPITAL@@! Maybe I will come back home someday. Maybe."

2. "Absolute nonsense," refutes pawnbroker, @@RANDOMNAME@@, after taking a break from trying to sell your frustrated staffers a defective blender supposedly owned by the former Mayor of @@CAPITAL@@. "These traitors are whining and entitled shysters who chose to leave our great country, but now want a say in how @@NAME@@ is governed? You can't just waltz back to the home you abandoned and think you understand what life is like here! Restrict voting to all @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ who still live in the homeland. Those living abroad can cry into their Manamana tequilas for all I care!"

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#546: Dumpster Divers Dividing Denizens [A Humanist Science; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Freegans - people who eat food, wear clothes, and use other goods retrieved from trash bins - have created a big stink across @@NAME@@. They've especially gotten up the noses of retail business owners, who say the practice pongs. The disputants have dumped themselves in your office, insisting you dispose of the issue.

The Debate
1. "Freeganism promotes environmental responsibility by reducing consumption," says Gaia @@ANIMAL@@ Rainbow, while rifling through your waste basket and pocketing a piece of used gum. "Our consumerist economy wastes an obscene amount of natural resources by throwing away perfectly good and usable items! In fact, most food that reaches it's 'sell by' date is still perfectly safe to eat. Greedy corporate interests are slapping the faces of the poor, the wretched and the needy when you consider how much they waste. The government needs to support freegans, and help us trash waste!"

2. @@RANDOMNAME@@, President of the @@CAPITAL@@ Chamber of Commerce, passes around free embossed air fresheners before interjecting. "That smelly anarchist fails to mention the huge mess created by everyone digging around in our dumpsters, which scares away our customers! Eating expired food out of the trash is dangerously unhealthy, not to mention totally gross. Look, the bottom line is we're losing business because of these vultures. Can you get the police to arrest them? If they want food and clothing, they should have to work hard to buy them like any other @@DEMONYMNOUN@@."

3. "YO! DOWN HERE!" bellows a voice through your office window. You look down at the street to see @@RANDOMNAME@@, a municipal garbage collector. "Look, it ain't safe to have people diggin' through dumpsters. But hey, I get it. It ain't right to have good food thrown away when so many are hungry. YO SAL!" The worker whacks the side of the truck a couple of times, and the compactor inside begins to roar. "Why don't you boost welfare spendin', and require shops to donate past-'sell-by'... wha?... um, but safe goods to food banks? Make 'em an offer they can't scrap."

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#547: Fantastic Beasts And How @@NAME@@ Harmed Them [Outer Sparta; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
A shocking exposé on tourist attraction OceanWorld has revealed the mistreatment of captive orcas and other marine animals. Your office has since faced a tidal wave of complaints demanding government action.

The Debate
1. "This is torture!" shouts renowned whale biologist Willy Free, seen wearing an orca costume. "These poor and mistreated creatures can't experience their natural habitat, and frankly live solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short lives! They can handle living in the wilderness and thrive better there. We must end these inhumane captivity programs. The same can go for zoos, circuses, and aquariums, too."

*2. "You can't do that, you ignorant whale lovers!" pleads CEO of OceanWorld, @@RANDOMNAME@@, while counting OceanWorld @@CAPITAL@@'s daily intake. "If you ban institutions like OceanWorld, how are endangered species going to survive in this big bad world? Isn't it better that their populations thrive in our viewing tanks, rather than struggling in prime fishing waters? Besides, your average @@DEMONYMNOUN@@ will never get the chance to see these animals except at a zoo. Do you want to deny them that experience? Not to mention zoos and conservation programs like ours are a great way to get people interested in the environment. Everyone wins with OceanWorld!" [Must have private industry]

*3. “You can’t do that, you ignorant whale lovers!” pleads Marine Director of OceanWorld, @@RANDOMNAME@@. “If you ban institutions like OceanWorld, how are endangered species going to survive in this big bad world? Isn’t it better that their populations thrive in our viewing tanks, rather than struggling in prime fishing waters? Besides, your average @@DEMONYM@@ will never get the chance to see these animals except at a zoo. Do you want to deny them that experience? Not to mention zoos and conservation programs like ours are a great way to get people interested in the environment. Everyone wins with OceanWorld!” [Must not have private industry]

4. "Perhaps there could be a compromise?" queries your Minister of Environment, @@RANDOMNAME@@, who has been smelling like grass lately. "Ending zoos would harm the tourism industry, and we can't deny that these programs help endangered species. Why don't we set a limit on what animals they take? Specifically the endangered ones? I'm sure that we can also force tougher standards to ensure OceanWorld treats the animals humanely as well."

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#548: Appointment Of A Science Advisor [Golgothastan; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
After the government's chief science advisor accidentally disintegrated himself in his latest experiment, you have come under pressure to appoint someone new to the position - but the leading candidates to replace him all have different priorities.

The Debate
1. "Science is critical to understanding our place in the natural world," writes biologist @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ in his application letter, which is covered in paw-prints and smells faintly of @@ANIMAL@@ dung. "I believe we need to look more closely at how our actions affect the environment, and if I'm appointed as advisor, I'll make sure the government takes the long term view to ecological preservation - even if that does mean putting a few public works projects and industry partnerships on hold."

[2]. "Now now, you're not going to listen to all that tree-hugging nonsense, are you?" cajoles chemist @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, introduced to you at a cocktail party thrown by one of your biggest corporate donors. "The government needs to be partnering up with industry, not making things harder for them. If I'm appointed, I'll make sure the government promotes innovation and invention - and if that means loosening up some of those silly environmental laws, then so be it!" [Must have private industry]

3. "Typical: a new vacancy for a government science advisor opens up, and it immediately becomes a boys' club," sighs physicist @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, sporting a rather fetching pink lab coat. "Do you realize that girls outperform boys in science at every grade in school, but that far fewer women end up taking jobs in the sciences than men? Appointing a woman as the nation's science advisor would be a great first step to improving access to the sciences for everyone - and I'd use the position to lobby for universities and research centres to hire more women, too."

4. "Whomever you appoint will just end up leading @@NAME@@ into further damnation!" rants fundamentalist preacher @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ in one of her sermons, replete with typically alarming - and anatomically explicit - descriptions of what this damnation will actually entail. "It's time we purged the government of all its heathen influences, and that includes removing anyone who might go around using words like evolution, or entropy, or evidence!" She breaks off to chase after a group of scientists passing by, waving a pitchfork at them.

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#549: Feasting Or Fasting? [The Free Joy State; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
After a month spent surveying the country and asking adolescents to bend over and touch their toes, researchers from the Healthy Eating Analytical Research Think Tank limped home to nurse some black eyes and calculate their figures. They found that @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ teenagers are among the fattest in the world. Now, as you sit down to a sumptuous seven-course meal and a decent Marche Noirian red, your guests are all keen to opine on the topic.

The Debate
1. "You know what you should do?" says your nephew, @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, cramming a slice of peacock-stuffed-ostrich into his mouth. "You should have a big annual games, just like the Ancient Maxtopians did, where gladiators fight to the death with spears. Except this time, the fatties get thrown into the arena. The winners would receive hundreds of thousands of @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@," he jumps in his seat excitedly, "A- And t-the losers," a little peacock flies out of his mouth, "would perish like the wimps they are. I bet you anything people will flock to @@CAPITAL@@ to see jumbo mortal combat!"

2. "Why have teens fight with sticks when you can offer them carrots instead?" asks @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, the catering assistant who always wanted to be a chef, while wheeling in a cake tray. "Just replace all those nasty sugars and fats with healthy alternatives." She places a meringue beneath your nose, smiling with pleasure as you take a bite, "You'd never guess that meringue's made with stevia, agar gel and chickpea aquafaba egg substitute!" She beams, as you spit the chemical concoction discretely into a napkin, "Just force manufacturers to take all those nasty ingredients out of our food, and our young people will be fitter in no time."

3. "Yea, verily we are a nation of gluttons, forgive us," pontificates the Archbishop of @@CAPITAL@@, @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, before cracking open his sixth lobster-claw. "If we are to be absolved, we must fast. Make it compulsory that every @@DEMONYMNOUN@@, children included, fast for forty days every year in accordance with our religious principles... except those of advanced spiritual enlightenment, like us," he adds, out of the corner of his mouth, "That'll trim waistlines and straighten out a few souls too."

4. "How 'bout this for an idea?" blurts @@RANDOMNAME@@, author of popular self-help manual 'Big, Brainy and Beautiful'. "Just butt out. Big is who I am, and big is beautiful. Stop trying to legislate our teens' behinds, and instead promote plus-size beauty for the betterment of our national self-esteem. A little butter never hurt no one; that's what I've always said!"

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#550: 10 Awful Crimes You Just Won't Believe! [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
A disturbing new fad has arisen on social media and clickbait sites, featuring linking videos of people suffering violence at the hand of criminals. Muggings, murders, and gang violence are all trending like crazy, and the nation's youthful populace seems to be addicted to online schadenfreude.

The Debate
1. "REPOST THIS TO SHOW YOU CARE!!!" posts popular blogger @@RANDOMNAME@@, grinning inappropriately while watching a video of a rather savage beating. "Hey, there's nothing wrong with showing the world as it is, especially if it increases the hits on my website. How am I supposed to persuade advertisers to sponsor me unless I have the freedom to publish the most shocking content?"

2. "There's a moral sickness to this nation!" proclaims frocked pastor @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, seen smiling as he flagellates a penitent fellow clergyman with a rubber whip. "We can only remedy this by proper schooling, with properly funded religious authority imprinting a sense of right and wrong from an early age. When we have young people who are more interested in acting right rather than watching wrong, @@NAME@@ will be a better place."

3. "Gahh! I can't even tell what's real and isn't real anymore!" moans your social media handler @@RANDOMNAME@@, while fighting a losing battle against pop-ups and clickbait sites. "Whatever happened to the good old days of internet journalism, back when they weren't littered with ads... and when ads themselves weren't disguised as news? This sort of practice ought to be banned! The internet needs to return to a place of intellectual discussion and education, not this cesspool of clickbait, gross-out violence, and trolling."

4. "Social media made this problem; let social media fix it," suggests too-reasonable seeming taxi driver @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, who considers himself an expert on how @@NAME@@ is run after driving around several politicians. "Tell the big companies behind these sites that they have to police their own sites and enforce better standards, or face financial penalties. They've got huge profit margins, and they pay barely any tax, so let them shoulder the cost of the problems they've created."

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#551: The Big Fat @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Wedding [Cazalius Lodra; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
During the preparations of your niece's wedding, you publicly announced the government would be paying for the massive and public event, as fulfillment of a promise made to her when she was six years old. A bucketful of economists, a gaggle of giggling advisers, a susurration of confused affiliates, and an infestation of wedding planners are presently debating this matter of 'national importance'... and are forcing you to join in.

The Debate
1. "You promised!" screeches your visibly upset niece who has turned into a bridezilla. "I deserve a proper marriage! By proper, I mean all princess-like and suitable for someone of such affluence! So what if the money for that comes from the treasury? It is a TREASURE-y right? That money should be spent on important occasions, like this one! It's not like I'm going to have another wedding, unless, you know. Besides, you're @@NAME@@'s leader. Family occasions matter!"

[2]. "Why not let us do all the work?" suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@, @@NAME@@'s top wedding planner and chief editor of Bonjour Magazine. "We'll do everything necessary for the wedding, cakes, wedding gowns, the flowers, you name it! Sponsoring your niece's wedding will be the greatest endorsement we could ask for. All you need to do is broadcast the wedding all over @@REGION@@. The profits will be through the roof! It's a win-win!" [Must have private industry]

3. "This looks like an excellent diplomatic opportunity, @@LEADER@@," muses obnoxious Maxtopian diplomat @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, who has been stuffing his face with hors d'oeuvre all day. "The leaders of Maxtopia and Blackacre would love the chance for some civil and peaceful discussion. We're talking about major conflict resolutions and a few trade agreements. This could all be done with a couple simple arranged marriages, as we noticed you have other nieces and nephews at the right age. They may not like marrying into our royalty, but don't you want to be remembered as the leader who helped bring about global peace and stability?"

4. "Nobody asked me whether I wanna pay for this!" exclaims disgruntled baker, @@RANDOMNAME@@, who is using a piping bag to write anti-government messages on the cake. "The answer is: I don't! I pay taxes for important things like police, education, and fixing potholes. If you want a wedding, spend your own damn money. Oh wait, I forgot, the people pay your salary. So quit wastin' our money on this load of hokey and spend it where it really matters. I think it's time we people know where we're putting our labor, and who's gettin' what in return!"

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#552: Must Be A Full Moon [Australian Republic; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
At last night's press conference in @@CAPITAL@@ you were mooned by three drunk young men. Security has caught them, and they are claiming that this was a 'political protest' against 'government and stuff'. Rather than just throw them in a cell to sleep it off, they're asking if you would like them to deal with the matter in any particular way.

The Debate
*1. "These people should be locked up!" snarls @@RANDOMNAME@@, an angry ex-soldier turned criminal prosecutor. "The fact that they believe that this is acceptable behaviour shows a complete lack of respect of authority! They like showing their butts? Stick them in prison, but issue them no trousers!" [Must have prisons]

*2. “These people should be locked up!” snarls @@RANDOMNAME@@, an angry ex-soldier turned criminal prosecutor. “But as some idiot got rid of our jails, we’ve got to teach them respect of authority some other way! They like showing their butts? Put them over the knee, and paddle them till they cry!” [Must not have prisons]

3. "We showed The Man our cracks, man! To... to... show the cracks in the system!" slurs inebriated offender @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, a little too loudly, and standing a little too close to you. "We were mooning the government, not you! This is democracy, man! You gotta give us freedom of... freedom of... whatever this is." The police restrain him as he goes to pull his pants down again.

4. "Okay, boss, here's what you're gonna do!" asserts @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of @@NAME@@'s foremost TV pranksters, wearing a mock military uniform, and leaving security to wonder to how your office was penetrated. "You're gonna get the police to find where these people live. Then you're gonna get in your car, wait till they're on their walk to work... and then... BAM! Drive-by mooning! Come on, it'll be awesome! You want to grab a beer or six to get in the mood?"

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#553: Cede Our Seeds? [A Humanist Science; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Biotech firm McSanto LLC has developed a new genetically engineered corn, with 200% more "butter" flavor and a guarantee to be free of those stringy bits that get stuck in your teeth. They've also engineered every mature kernel to be sterile, while marketing a special starter seed at premium prices. Angry supporters of small farms are demanding you lend an ear.

The Debate
1. "These Frankenfood monstrosities are nothing more than a means for McSanto to drive its competition out of business," complains Maize Zea, founder of Stop Engineering Edibles Darnit! "Engineered sterilization prevents small family and subsistence farmers from saving and reusing seed. This means they have to buy all new and expensive seed for every single crop... and only from McSanto! Do the right thing by abolishing genetically modified organisms and engineered sterilization! Don't let the big biotech firms grind @@NAME@@ into cornmeal!"

2. "Engineered sterilization provides us with the ability to ensure that genetically modified organisms stay targeted to farms and orchards, allowing our precious natural spaces and native species remain unblemished. This way, future generations can prosper from better foods and a greener world," recites Stover Cob, CEO of McSanto LLC, reading from a prepared statement, and setting a gourmet popcorn gift basket on your desk. "Besides, without the ability to draw new agricultural business, McSanto wouldn't be able to recover the millions of @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ it spends on research and development. That means less buttery goodness on the table! Show you have some grits - support agriculture and support McSanto!"

3. While fiddling with a toothpick, Dr. Flint Shoepeg chimes in: "No doubt everyone benefits from the improvements companies like McSanto make to our crops. Those stringy bits really are - OW! - um, really are very annoying. But driving Mom 'n Pop out of business wouldn't be right either. Why don't you discourage engineered sterilization, but support my research in chemical-based genetic rights management?" He retrieves some dental floss from a pocket before continuing: "This way, small farmers can still save seed, but McSanto can require the purchase of an activator spray that will turn their value-added features on. Sure, there's a small risk from runoff, but - OW!"

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#554: Welcome To --CENSORED-- [Nation of Quebec; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A small town in Southern @@NAME@@ has a name so offensive that many official cartographers and government officials are refusing to acknowledge it. The debate has thrust --CENSORED-- into the spotlight, and many concerned citizens are asking the government to step in.

The Debate
1. "Well, I never!" gasps your easily offended Minister of Municipalities, dropping her monocle in surprise, directly into her champagne. "How this town ended up with such a dreadfully appalling name is beyond me. For all that is good and decent in @@REGION@@, I must ask you to change this town's name. Something functional and sensible like 'Pleasant-town' or 'Stepfjord' would have a much better ring to it. Then they can learn to behave like proper, civilised people."

2. "Now wait just a **** chicken *****ing minute!" exclaims @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ '****hand' @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, the eccentric mayor of --CENSORED--. "The residents of our fine town are ****** happy with our name just the way it ****ing is! Our name is part of our heritage and you can't go around changing it just because some do-gooders find it offensive! We'll be keeping our name thank you very *******ing much and you prudes can **** right out of our ********ing business."

3. "Is plenty clear we need to reach a compromise, ya ken?" suggests @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ MacDiarmid, a noted devolutionist who attends every public debate possible. "Seems like majority dinnae want that name appearin' on official maps and websites and suchlike, but guv-ment choosin' a spankin' noo name seems a wee bit too bossy, if yer see what I'm sayin' in the noo. Why not have yer provincial votes on yer town nomenclature like? Have any petition with a dram of signatures be triggerin' a referendum: then all the people can decide how settlements are named, y'ken? Granted there, there may be a-one or a-two grumpy locals fashin' themselves like wee bairns aboot it, but as me gran-da used to say, ye cannae please all of the people all of the time."

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#555: It's An Honor Just To Be Nominated! [Omigodtheykilledkenny; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Since the news broke that corrupt party boss Tim A. Kneehall allegedly used his influence and cash to secure nominations to Parliament for more than a dozen of his closest friends, including both his wife and his favorite mistress, voters have been clamoring for a more open and transparent process to determine which candidates parties nominate for office.

The Debate
1. "What a clustershag," despairs powerless opposition backbencher @@RANDOMNAME@@, who somehow managed to sneak into your meeting. "I mean, even I have to admit, that mistress has a nice pair of 'assets' on her, but are they really qualifications for public office? This demonstrates more than ever the need to take power away from the establishment and the big donors and put it in the hands of the constituents. Let the parties hold open preliminary votes to decide who the nominees for office are. It's fair, it's transparent, it's democratic, and sure, parties may be stuck with a complete basketcase who doesn't know his behind from his elbow, but if it's what the people want, how could anyone possibly object?"

2. "That's a good start, but we have to make sure that voting is limited to members of our Party only," replies @@RANDOMNAME@@, a small town mayor who has jumped ship to national politics. "If we open things up to everyone, the Opposition could sneak in and plant their own candidates. Remember that blowhard nominee who turned out to be an East Lebatukese spy a few elections back? That was an embarrassment I think we'd all want to avoid again. It may mean losing the swing voters and independents, but we can't let anyone walk in and claim they uphold our values without being properly vetted."

3. "Don't be tempted by populism," warns a shadowy political advisor, speaking from a dark corner while closing the blinds in your office. "Primary elections are costly, they encourage a lot of unproductive infighting, and, frankly, they take too much power away from @@CAPITAL@@. There is a much simpler way to make nominations less corrupt, and that's to make sure every candidate who runs goes through a rigorous ideological purity test. That way the most loyal, and therefore most qualified, candidates are the ones nominated."

4. "I've got a much more classy idea!" declares @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ mogul @@RANDOMNAME@@, while ogling all your interns. "Why waste our time with votes or vetoes, when we can force all candidates, even the men, to compete in a beauty pageant! It'll be a fabulous show, everyone will love it. Just imagine, a leading candidate breezes through the talent and interview portions, but gets blown away in the swimsuit competition! I know I'd want to watch! The best part is that it won't cost you a single @@CURRENCY@@! Just let me throw in a few ads for my company and products, and I'll pay for everything!"

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#556: Here Be Dragons? [Golgothastan; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
The discovery of an ancient map that says "Here Be Dragons" at an archaeological dig close to @@CAPITAL@@ has generated a storm of public interest, and a disturbingly high percentage of the population has indicated on a survey that they actually believe dragons exist.

The Debate
1. "Do we really have to go through this again?" sighs Education Minister @@RANDOMNAME@@, while reading through a woefully inaccurate high school history textbook. "The map was obviously just talking about lizards or something. Dragons aren't real! If the people really are this credulous, then it's just a sign that we need to give the education budget another boost. If you need the funding, you can take it from that religious ministry. It's that superstitious mumbo-jumbo that has people believing in imaginary creatures anyway."

2. "It most certainly does not!" protests Religious Affairs Minister @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Do you really think our sacred books are full of seven-headed ten-crowned dragons? If you want to find someone to blame, the fault is clearly with those godless fantasy authors and television producers, filling our young people's heads with rubbish and anti-religious propaganda. We must censor works like that hedonistic Play of Crowns series so they can't corrupt our children!"

3. "Okay, so dragons don't exist... yet," agrees Minister of Science and Technology @@RANDOMNAME@@, while poking a strange-looking animal with a cattle prod. "Although with recent advances in biological splicing, who knows? If you allotted a little extra in the budget for science, and eased up on some of those research restrictions, we could start creating all sorts of creatures in our labs. Maybe we could even try a field test of Prototype #42?"

4. "I'm not sure there's anything actually wrong with the public believing dragons exist," muses Minister of Whispers @@RANDOMNAME@@, while feeding a flock of little birds. "If you ask me, they've been getting a little uppity lately. Remember that protest last week, simply because you wanted to erect your statue in @@CAPITAL@@ Square? Let's start spreading rumours that you really do have dragons - a whole flight of them! They'll think twice about speaking out over the new tax bill then! Fire and blood!"

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#557: Take A Hike! [A Humanist Science; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
While you were conducting an operational inspection of a new @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ National Guard search and rescue helicopter, dispatch received a distress signal from a Personal Locator Beacon, a GPS-enhanced device wilderness adventurers use to request life-saving help. The helicopter immediately raced to the scene, setting down in a remote sun-baked meadow. Unfortunately, the distressed hiker refused rescue, saying "my stubbed toe is feeling better now."

The Debate
1. @@RANDOMNAME@@, a National Guard rescue operative, is exasperated. "This situation is intolerable, @@LEADER@@! In a genuine emergency, these beacons save lives. Now that they're so cheap, more and more people are using them as a crutch to attempt dangerous hikes they aren't prepared for. As you can see, we have to carry the huge risks and costs! Beacon users should have to register with the government, so we know who to fine for false alarms."

2. The helicopter crew patches an incoming call through to your headset. "Hello?" asks famed luxury safari hunter Beauregard Leopold Addington III, Esq. "You know, my friend's business makes satellite phones that can allow rescuers to contact hikers and assess the situation before calling out the cavalry. Sure, the service subscriptions are pricey, and your signa**SSHBZZZTPSSHFTZZPFT**ways get through, but mandatory sat-phones for hikers will reduce false alarms and are great for checking your stock portfolio from any summit!"

3. By this point, you've been standing in the sun for a while, and a mild heat stroke is setting in. Wait - is that bear wearing a tie? "You know, expensive fines and equipment will only discourage people seeking help when they really need it," says the bear while munching a stolen packet of Honey Burr-Berry cereal. "That'll cost lives too. The better solution is to increase funding to national parks, with safe trails, visitor centers, and campsites. Then the common @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ can enjoy @@NAME@@'s natural wonder without the corporations getting their grubby hands on it. It's smarter than the average policy!"

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#558: Turning A Blind Eye? [The Aurora Archipelago; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
When a blind man and his guide @@ANIMAL@@ were recently refused service in @@CAPITAL@@ restaurant 'The Haute Potato', it started a heated debate that few had seen coming.

The Debate
1. "This is a real eye-opener!" exclaims Mathias Murdock, head of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Blind Trust, speaking to a large group of cane-wielding protesters. "This discrimination against the blind and partially-sighted has gone on for too long. Not only should we be allowed to take our companions and guardians wherever we go, now is the time to realize our vision of a society completely accessible for the visually impaired!"

2. "@@ANIMALPLURAL@@ must be kept out of restaurants; why can't these people see that?" queries @@RANDOMNAME@@, a young chef from 'The Haute Potato', reeking of paprika. "It's not that I don't understand, really, I do, but it's a health issue, you know. Imagine that thing entering the kitchen; you'd get their fur or scales or whathaveyou all over the buffet," she asserts confidently while her sweat trickles down into tonight's babaganuche. "He should just tie his @@ANIMAL@@ outside along with any other mutt. They still have their canes, don't they?"

3. Your @@ANIMAL@@-walker, @@RANDOMNAME@@, who has 20/20 vision, rambles at you whilst untangling several leads. "Why are we only thinking of the blind here? I can't see why the blind should be able take their @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ into restaurants, while my poor babies still have to be tied out in the rain. You'll let me take my @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ into restaurants as well, right?"

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#559: The Low Aspiration Nation [The New Bluestocking Homeland; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
High unemployment is ravaging @@NAME@@. A recent career fair in @@CAPITAL@@ consisted of a tumbleweed rolling through empty booths, and the @@NAME@@ Career Shopper is only two pages long and stuffed with ads for pizza parlors and discreet massages. They're just not hiring. In an attempt to get your economy jumping again, a trio of self-professed experts have come forward to proffer advice.

The Debate
1. "The problem is lack of opportunity," says @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, who so far has been unable to use her underwater basket weaving degree. "The government needs to guarantee that every young person can get a job, maybe to build parks or repairs bridges or design specialty baskets. That's the only permanent way to get @@NAME@@ working again."

2. "What?! Excuse me?" rages industrialist Richard Noseworthy III, nearly knocking over his bikini-clad daughter, who is uploading a pouting selfie to Rich Kids of Instasnap. "The problem isn't lack of opportunity; the problem is greed! The working man is just too greedy! If you scrapped those pesky labor laws, I could employ twice the number of people for the same amount of money, if I so felt like it."

3. "That's an interesting idea, but does it go far enough?" muses @@RANDOMNAME@@, while gazing nostalgically at a dilapidated sugar plantation. "There used to be a time when workers and managers didn't have a hostile relationship. Master and chattel worked together to bring prosperity to the land. Slaves served their drivers out of love, and masters provided their slaves with everything they needed, treating them just like their own children. Implementing slavery would bring harmony to the labor process, and it would guarantee job security too."
Last edited by Jutsa on Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:37 pm, edited 39 times in total.

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Jutsa
Minister
 
Posts: 3157
Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#560: Bicameral Backlash [Christian Democrats; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
The @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ upper house recently voted down a major @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ bill, provoking significant backlash in the lower house. Legislators have gathered in your office, and they’re now debating whether @@NAME@@ truly needs an upper house.

The Debate
1. “The upper house is outdated and elitist,” argues one of your rather ambitious backbenchers, MP @@RANDOMNAME@@, who is a favorite of the @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ industry. “It’s an anachronism, a holdover of a bygone era. Bicameralism belongs to an age when the population was divided into patrician and plebeian classes. In the modern day, it doesn’t make any sense. The upper house is a needless and inefficient institution full of overeducated and uppity old farts who only exist to obstruct our progress. It’s a roadblock to the will of the lobby - um, the people. @@LEADER@@, empower the people’s house! Abolish the upper house now!”

2. “The @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ bill was corporate welfare pure and simple, and that hack knows it,” rebukes Lady @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, the Mother of the Upper House as she enjoys her snack of camembert and caviar. “We need an upper chamber to give each piece of legislation a sober second thought. Our job is to scrutinize bills for errors and temper the transient passions of the lower house. We need to be given more power, including vetoing dreadful legislation that comes out of the lower house that violates @@NAME@@’s values and customs.”

3. “The old woman is right,” comments @@RANDOMNAME@@, the head of the @@DEMONYMAJDECTIVE@@ Electoral Commission. “Our nation needs an upper house to be a check on the lower. After all unicameralism would basically make you an elected dictator with all that unchecked power. At the same time, the upper house’s disapproval should not be a death knell for otherwise popular legislation. I have a compromise. Let’s allow the lower house to call a snap election if the upper house blocks one of its bills. If the lower house, after the election, passes the same bill again, then it becomes law regardless of what the upper legislators think. Expensive? Sure, but at least we give the people the right to break parliamentary stalemates whenever they happen.”

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#561: Plug In and Play [Katalaysia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Bored by their games of breeze block Tetris and live action Pong, former gamers have arrived in droves to protest against the ban on video games. The gamers, dressed as their favorite Maxemon characters, have asked that you bring back their controllers and consoles.

The Debate
1. “Well, um... you see here, this research shows that video games improve hand-eye coordination, decision-making skills, and encourage creativity and problem solving,” mumbles the meek, bespectacled, and incredibly uncharismatic @@RANDOMNAME@@, shuffling some papers on your desk awkwardly. “I mean, yeah, the games can be addicting and maybe some people were copying what they were doing in the games in real life. You still shouldn’t punish everyone just because some noobs can’t tell the difference between fiction and reality.”

2. “Our children have never been healthier!” joyously exclaims your Minister For Youth And Families, pushing aside disgruntled teens. “Children are actually bothering to learn about their world and getting fresh air and exercise. The problem isn’t that they haven’t got their digital toys. The problem is that you haven’t given them anything to replace it with. Fund more museums, parks, and libraries, and force these tykes to make use of them. The next generation will be better than ever! Sure, it might cost a pretty penny, but it’s for the children.”

3. “For the children?” yells the stern 64-Star Commodore @@RANDOMNAME@@, causing the younger children to run away in tears. “When I was a kid, nobody cared about what I wanted. I studied, exercised, and worked my behind off, as these punks should be doing now!” The Commodore glares at the remaining children, causing them to flee the room. “If our children had mandatory exercise or military school, then they won’t need video games. We’d turn these hooligans and nerds into model citizens in mere weeks!”

4. “Okay, maybe we shouldn’t go that far,” muses your cat-obsessed secretary who has pictures of her felines scattered all over your office. “Why not allow some games, but just not the violent ones? There’s nothing wrong with innocent games like Gumdrop Kart and Halo Kitten. Just allow games that any child can play without being scared or inclined to violence, and set up a council to rate the games. That way everyone is happy.”

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#562: Return to Sender [Lenyo; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
South Tasmanian separatists rebelling against the autocratic Central Tasmanian government have long held public sympathy in @@NAME@@. However, a recent deployment of WMDs against the rebels’ de facto capital city has shattered their burgeoning resistance movement. The source of these WMDs? @@NAME@@.

The Debate
1. “I can no longer sit back and allow these rebels to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids!” hollers the Central Tasmanian Supreme General somewhat confusedly and confusingly, while seated atop a newly bought @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ ballistic missile. “Fluoride factories, in the rebel heartland. A conspiracy, a foreign substance to poison our essence. Strategic Air Command has the go-code to finish the job. We need another bomb or ten. Here, your cheque, @@LEADER@@. Bombs, please, now.”

2. “Have we learned nothing from this fiasco?” rhetorically asks Nick Leader, a peace-loving @@DEMONYMNOUN@@. “We’ve got no place providing the tools of megadeath in these overseas conflicts. Let’s cut our losses and can the WMD sales before they end up being turned on @@NAME@@!”

3. “What? What? No, don’t stop selling weapons, we are not asking for that! Just stop selling weapons to the wrong people!” demands rebel leader Baylor Garner, commander of the Southern Tasmanian Freedom Union. “We can only pay half what the evil Supreme General can, but we are closer to your nation culturally and ideologically, and we’re frankly more decent human beings than our mutual enemies. Just limit your weapons trade to people who can be trusted to use armed might for what is right, and you will create a world filled with nations that are more like your own.”

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#563: Resistance Is Fertile [Fotila; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
An outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant super-bacterium has killed five people in @@CAPITAL@@, and epidemiologists are linking the emergence of this strain to contaminated chicken meat from poultry given regular doses of antibiotics. Health officials, farmers and consumers are searching for solutions to prevent another outbreak.

The Debate
1. "There's a simple solution," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, head of the @@NAME@@ Public Health Board. "Ban antibiotic use on animals. Antibiotic overuse promotes drug-resistant bacteria, and the chemicals involved are also tainting the food chain. If animals get sick and die, cull them. Super-bugs will be a thing of the past!"

2. "The government must not do that!" shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, Head Poultry Butcher at ChickensBoxed Inc. "We will lose revenue and efficiency! We raise thousands of birds here and antibiotics allow us more meat per unit, more units per square metre and more units per @@CURRENCY@@. You should allow us to use whatever drugs we need to keep the farming industry strong!"

3. "Does anyone forget to mention why chickens get sick?" asks young farmer @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, as he pets Mrs. Tweedy, the favourite of his five chickens. "It's because they are cooped up in cages, unable to move, to develop their bodies, and exercise. The solution is for free-range farming to be mandatory. Meat will then be fresher, healthier and better tasting. We'll need more room, of course, so perhaps the government could donate us some city parks to convert?"

4. "Wait a minute! Has anybody thought about the little guy here? By which I mean, the poor, destitute pharmaceuticals industry?" questions Big Pharma executive @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, as he steps off his private jet. "If you block out sales, our profits will fall by several percent, and jobs will be lost. Perhaps instead subsidise investment into the NEXT generation of antibiotics? That way farmers can use antibioitics all day long, and we'll likely still have new tools to treat sick patients with."

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#564: Do Good Intentions Make Good Samaritans? [Saint Emygdius; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
Yesterday, a man was struck with a heart-attack in the middle of a busy @@CAPITAL@@ square. As the average @@DEMONYMNOUN@@ simply passed by, a foreigner in traditional garb stepped up and administered an unconventional form of CPR, involving stamping repeatedly on the man’s chest, which did indeed save the man from certain death on the street. Unfortunately, the excessive force broke a rib and punctured a lung in the process, and the man later died from complications of this injury.

The Debate
1. “I did what was best to save this person’s life, and I did, momentarily,” shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, while pouring oil and wine on your dying cactus. “I know I’m a shepherd, not a doctor, and the technique I used was only certified to be used on sheep, it is true, but that man would’ve died without me! It’s a moral imperative to help your fellow man, and if people mean well and act accordingly, they should not face punishment for any unintentional and unfortunate consequences.”

2. “I saw the whole thing,” says @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Demosthenes, who was too busy painting @@HIS@@ nails to actually help. “Now, I don’t doubt that this person tried to save the old man, not at all. At the same time, though, that stranger jumped on top of him and began stomping on his chest, and now he’s gone; I mean, think of the family and stuff. Some just retribution, or at least a little compensation, is in order, don’t you think? That foreigner ought to pay for the damage done. Good intentions can’t be enough, it’s what comes out the other end that counts.”

3. “Hey, who’s the doctor, er, nurse here?” bellows Nurse @@RANDOMNAME@@, whose head mirror is both upside down and facing the wrong way. “Emergency medical staff are the only ones who know what’s what when it comes to these situations. I’m so sick and tired of amateurs blazing in, failing at cowboy techniques they picked up from some Whotube-channel and doing more damage than good. Laymen shouldn’t be allowed to meddle; what we need are organized health patrols with uniformed EMTs on the beat, just like cops. That way, when there’s an emergency, people who really know their stuff will be there to help.”

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#565: ‘A’ Is For Academic Doping [Golgothastan; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
The problem of ‘academic doping’ has reared its head after a group of students were caught taking ‘smart’ drugs ahead of high school exam season. An alliance of concerned educators, anti-drug crusaders, and C-grade students have demanded an end to this practice to make sure that @@NAME@@’s youth don’t become a generation of cheaters.

The Debate
1. “These students are doping themselves up to the gills in the hope it’ll improve their academic performance,” explains Student Union Vice-President for Welfare @@RANDOMNAME@@, while hurriedly trying to finish an assignment. “However noble their intentions, the reality is that they’re abusing drugs. We need the government to fund an education and outreach program, warning of the dangers and offering counselling and therapy. Outreach and therapy will solve this problem more than blunt law enforcement ever will.”

2. “Education and outreach? How about I demonstrate some outreach with my truncheon!” screams the Head of Narcotics Control @@RANDOMNAME@@, accidentally knocking over a plant pot while demonstrating. “I don’t care what they’re studying: these kids are junkies and derelicts, and we need to clamp down on them. We need strong enforcement, including random drug testing, strip searches, and sniffer dogs in exam halls! Just give us the go - and the money.”

3. “Please, show a little compassion. C-O-M-P-A-S-S-I-O-N. Compassion!” pleads national spelling champion @@RANDOMNAME@@, while frantically chewing @@HIS@@ nails and twitching uncontrollably. “I have to concentrate if I’m going to get into a top university, and if a little pill can help me, then why shouldn’t it be my choice? Some students guzzle coffee or chain-smoke cigarettes, and those are much worse for their health. Cracking down on academic doping would only be punishing those who want to perform well. That would be counterproductive. C-O-U-N-T...”

4. “Why have exams at all? Everyone knows that they’re a waste of everybody’s time,” admits visibly stressed out teacher Edna Crandall, who is on her tenth cigarette of the day. “In fact, do we really need a proper curriculum to follow? Schools and teachers should be able to teach whatever they think is relevant. This can be learning a new language or the intricacies of soap opera love triangles. The schools would save some cash, and it would make my job much easier too.”

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#566: Drive My Car [Louisadam; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
While parking your car for a short press conference to pander to families in @@CAPITAL@@, you are besieged by citizens and cops fighting over parking tickets, of all things. All sides seem unusually passionate about the topic, and you are doing your best to calm down the angry crowd.

The Debate
1. “These deadbeats think that if they neglect to pay their tickets for a few months, we’ll just forget all about them,” rants Police Chief @@RANDOMNAME@@ while pushing aside some irritated motorists. “Well they’re wrong. The government needs more severe penalties to make an example of these criminals. After all, mis-parked cars obstruct the normal flow of traffic and annoy everybody. Hike up the fines, even take cars away from people that refuse to pay for their crimes. Then punks will know to respect my authori-tay!”

2. “You know the real reason we have so many unpaid tickets? They are already too damn expensive!” fumes @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of the city’s poorest citizens. “How can someone who barely makes enough to eat possibly pay for a parking ticket? One ticket sets me back half a month and a rich guy only a minute. Tickets have to be proportional to people’s income. Then the punishment would actually fit the crime.”

3. “How about we, the citizens of @@NAME@@, finally get a break for once?” complains @@RANDOMNAME@@ while parking in a public fountain and splashing everyone nearby, yourself included. “It’s not fair to make my kids wait five minutes just to find an ‘acceptable’ place to park. Let’s just get rid of all of these silly tickets once and for all. After all, who’s to say where is or isn’t a logical place to park?”

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#567: Syntax Destruction [Drasnia; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Your Minister for the Treasury, Allen Redbridge, has come under fire as market analysts and journalists complain that his predictions about the future of @@NAME@@’s economy are vague to the point of uselessness. His detractors are dubbing his avoidance of clear statements ‘Syntax Destruction’: the presentation of extremely long and obfuscated reports that have little real content.

The Debate
1. “I shouldn’t have to spend hours poring over reams of government documents for just one story!” complains @@RANDOMNAME@@, reporter for the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Enquirer, slamming a large stack of papers onto your desk. “Look at this! One thousand nine hundred eighty-four pages! What Minister Redbridge is doing is dishonest and despicable. You need to force him and those like him to use plain language and get to the point, so that the common people of @@NAME@@ will be able decipher what’s going on in the government.”

2. “It has been demonstrated,” Minister Allen Redbridge replies during an interview, “that markets affect an unexpected multitude of industries at even the slightest suspicion of an impending perturbation. Thus, it behooves those knowledgeable in its idiosyncrasies to uphold their responsibilities in defending such precipitous gateways to knowledge, and acting in such a manner of least reaction, to satisfy their due diligence to avoid creating a condition which could potentially upset the precarious balance between bears and bulls, be they platitudes, or omissions. Indeed, one who acts in contravention to the aforementioned manner also acts against their own best interests, and thereby undermines status as well as dispels their cloak of competence. Such a transgressor shall be dismissed by the knowledgeable majority, of course, thus not necessitating any external provocation.”

3. “Spoken or written words, delivered on matters of policy by person or persons within the government, hereafter referred to as a government commentary, constitute a legal statement,” explains prominent lawyer @@RANDOMNAME@@. “It is my professional opinion that a government commentary should use only legal terminology to ensure clarity of meaning.”

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#568: Dismissal Denied! [Human Olympus; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
After a recent petition to lower @@NAME@@'s infamous "Reading Tax" was found in a dumpster, debate has sparked over the government's abuse of veto powers.

The Debate
1. "@@SLOGAN@@, my foot!" protests aspiring revolutionary @@RANDOMNAME@@. "If you aren't going to listen to the people, at least be honest about it. Go ahead! Try your little mad grab for power, @@LEADER@@! The people dare you!"

2. "Don't let these warmongers bait you!" cautions your trusted adviser, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Obviously, we can't just eliminate your veto power, but what if you just made a super sincere promise to use more restraint with it? That might satisfy the angry mobs."

3. "But some of these proposals make my head spin," opines @@CAPITAL@@ Senator @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Who would really blame us for dismissing a petition to eat alien first born? The point is: people are dumb, and the only way to make them less dumb is to finally invest in our failing education system."

4. Your paper shredder looks at you, knowingly. It doesn't talk, of course, but you know what it's trying to say. It beckons you. Go on... One more can't hurt, can it?

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#569: Grand Prix De @@NAME@@? [Montagna; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
FeAR, the Federation of Automobile Racing, has suggested to you that @@NAME@@ would be a great site for a World Championship F1 Grand Prix circuit. The only problem is that you don't have a racetrack built.

The Debate
*1. Alexis Lefévre, head of the Grand Prix governing body, suggests the construction of a new top-end racing facility in largely uninhabited swampland in the east of your nation. "It'll be a boost to tourism and the broader economy in @@NAME@@, and it'll bring this whole dreary swampland area to life!" He stubs out his cigar on a nearby swamp frog, to emphasise his point. "Now, if you have the time, I have some contracts for you to consider with regards to construction, event management, and security firms, all with reputable, established companies and firms that I can vouch for personally..." [Smoking is legal]]

*2. Alexis Lefévre, head of the Grand Prix governing body, suggests the construction of a new top end racing facility in largely uninhabited swampland in the east of your nation. “It’ll be a boost to tourism and the broader economy in @@NAME@@, and it’ll bring this whole dreary swampland area to life!” He stamps emphatically on a nearby swamp frog, to emphasise his point. “Now, if you have the time, I have some contracts for you to consider with regards to construction, event management, and security firms, all with reputable, established companies and firms that I can vouch for personally...” [Smoking is illegal]

[3]. "I don't see why we need an expensive new track wasting taxpayer money when we've already got a great ring road in @@CAPITAL@@," says Mayor @@RANDOMNAME@@, well-known to be a die-hard racing fan. "The city has a vibrant atmosphere and stunning architecture, compared to the blandness and soullessness of modern autodromes. You know where your heart lies: bring this event to the capital!" [Must have unlocked @@CAPITAL@@]

**4. "Grand Prix racing is completely unrelated to what happens with road cars," argues Ruri Hoshino, CEO of Kadai Engineering Automotive Firm Incorporated, "but sports car racing drives forward automotive technology. Say no to the Grand Prix, and instead let the World Sports Prototype Championship hold round-the-clock endurance races at a stadium that we'll happily foot the bill for. All you need to do is repeal some crazy noise and air pollution laws. Sure, it may not be as glamorous, but it'll let us show off our wares and will encourage engineering innovation." [Must have private industry]

**5. “Grand Prix racing is completely unrelated to what happens with road cars,” argues Ruri Hoshino, Director of Ophidian State Automotive Research, “but sports car racing drives forward automotive technology. Say no to the Grand Prix, and instead let the World Sports Prototype Championship hold round-the-clock endurance races at a stadium that we’ll happily foot the bill for. All you need to do is repeal some crazy noise and air pollution laws. Sure, it may not be as glamorous, but it’ll let us show off our wares and will encourage engineering innovation.” [Must not have private industry]

6. "Why are these petrolheads so obsessed with auto racing anyway?" asks migraine-suffering riding enthusiast @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, from the back of a stallion that has just evacuated manure onto the pavement. "It's just noise, smelly fumes and testosterone! Ban motor racing, and invest that pot of money into equestrianism. It's a genteel racing event for a civilised society." Her horse glares at you threateningly, as if to support the argument.

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#570: Clerical Errors [Christian Democrats; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
As the General Synod of @@FAITH@@ gathers in @@CAPITAL@@ for its quinquennial meeting, a group of reformist delegates has proposed an ordinance that would allow both men and women to serve as clerics. The proposal has significant support among @@FAITH@@’s more progressive adherents, but there is a strong opposition movement. The measure needs your backing if it is going to obtain the appropriate amount of support.

The Debate
1. “The times are changing, and @@FAITH@@ needs to change with them,” remarks progressive reformist leader @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, bringing out a copy of the Sacred Scriptures. “The Almighty said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image and likeness.’ And so they were created, male and female the Almighty created them.” He turns his head up from the text and looks you right in the eyes. “We’re all made equal, @@LEADER@@. That the clergy hierarchy has blocked change for so long is an injustice. We must insist that they permit ordination of both women and men. You know deep down in your soul that it’s the right thing to do.”

2. “The right thing to do, really?” rebuts @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, president of the Traditionalist League of @@FAITH@@. “For ages, our clergy has been just how it is now. This proposed change has nothing to do with doctrine and everything to do with the creep of secular values into @@FAITH@@.” She takes a deep breath and continues. “Women and men, you see, were both created in the divine image and were created as equals, yes. But the Almighty made us for different, complementary roles. The sexes were not, are not, and never will be interchangeable, and @@FAITH@@ should acknowledge this eternal truth by rejecting this heretical proposal.”

3. “Science H Logic! Why is this the government’s concern?” complains science fiction author and well-known secularist @@RANDOMNAME@@. “You have far more important things to do than to listen all day to debates on dogma and the merits and demerits of the sexual composition of their clergy. Frankly, the average @@DEMONYMNOUN@@ on the street doesn’t really care about this issue. If anything, you should cut all funding to @@FAITH@@. It’s a drain on the budget, and that’ll teach these superstitious bigots to stop bothering you with their trivial ecclesiastical disputes.”

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#571: Family Feud [Appalatchia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
In a backwoods part of @@NAME@@, two neighboring families who have been feuding for generations are continuing to commit acts of violence upon each other. Members of the Caphill family killed a beloved friend of the MacDoogle family, “Ol’ Man Jack”, after a dispute over a farm @@ANIMAL@@. In response, a group of MacDoogles raided the Caphill household and killed the three men responsible for Ol’ Man Jack’s murder. The case of the Caphill-MacDoogle feud has gained national media attention, and there are calls for you to step in.

The Debate
1. “THEY DONE STARTED IT!” thunders Young Man Jack, waving a pitchfork menacingly toward the Caphills. “They killed my friend! Now, lookie here @@LEADER@@, we done did what we knew was right and avenged ‘im. So why don’t you and the coppers just stay outta our affairs, ya hear?”

2. “Three of my boys are gone ‘cause of them. I thought I’d have their love till the end of my days, but it turns out there’s no love in this story, just tragedy,” weeps Anna Caphill, who has been alive for eighty years and has almost as many children. “ @@LEADER@@, I demand you take in the ones responsible for this and hang ‘em high, just like the good ‘ol days.”

3. “Now now, clearly the issue at hand goes back much further than this unfortunate incident,” quips Dr. Laurence Friar, one of @@NAME@@’s top psychiatrists as he scribbles on his notepad. “There are decades of resentment and misunderstanding to be worked out. It is obvious that these slack-jawed yokels need some therapy and reeducation in order to be integrated back into civilized society. If they don’t come willingly to their sessions, then the government can take their children away until they do. Give me some time, and some funding, and I’ll transform these backwoods delinquents into model citizens in no time.”

4. “Reminds me of a similar situation a few years back with the Jetter and Sharkley families,” recalls @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Krupke, a cop from the west side of @@CAPITAL@@. “Tragic business, we had to end up relocating both families to opposite ends of the country. Just do the same with the Caphills and the MacWhoevers, and if they start up feuds with their new neighbors, I’m sure there’s some barren, uninhabited islands we can ship them off to.”

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#572: Reading, Your Rights [Gelimor; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Schools and public libraries have historically selected what books can be found on their respective properties, and many have taken this a step further, actively banning unsuitable books from being read under their roofs. A group of legally-minded high school students are challenging this practice, claiming that this is an infringement of their civil rights.

The Debate
1. “My brain, my choice what to read!” exclaims 11-year-old prodigy @@RANDOMNAME@@, waving a copy of the controversial novel Fifteen Shades of Violet. “How can we learn and be exposed to new ideas if not through the words of great authors and writers? People need books for thought like they need air to breathe. No authority, be they governmental, religious or corporate should be allowed to ban books for any reason. Now, if you could ask Teacher to return my copies of The Manual of Home-Made Explosives and Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience, that’d be great.”

2. A woman with a bright red face storms into your office with a toddler hanging off her leg. “Think of the children! Actually, think of the parents! How can we relax if our children are reading books about crime or sex or worst of all, liberal politics? If a library or school thinks a book shouldn’t be read, then we should show a little trust in their judgement. Now, my son is very advanced...” She pauses to stop the tyke picking his nose. “...and when he’s older, he can read more at home. But not at this age, and not without supervision!”

3. Online a guy with a unicorn pizza avatar named xChickSaitama93 sends you an Insta-Message, which pops up on your screen. “LOL. Y U need books NEway? Duz NE1 even reads those things anymor anyway. =S havnt picked 1 up since highschool ... you shud ban paper. #4ENVIROMENT yeh?”

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#573: The Road To Blackacre Ends Here? [Zwangzug; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
As the Blackacre Olympics approaches, your diplomatic advisors have questioned whether @@NAME@@’s athletes should travel to a country known for civil rights abuses. Activists and athletes alike are taking their marks in your mountainside chateau, ready and set to go on with the debate.

The Debate
1. “You cannot deny us this opportunity after we’ve been training for years!” proclaims champion shotputter @@RANDOMNAME@@ while descending into a crouch. “By sending our finest athletes to Blackacre, we can show the world what @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ are made of. Let’s show the world how much better our glorious @@TYPE@@ is. These fascist Blackacre weaklings will have no choice but to bow down before our athletic superiority. Give us a chance to succeed on the world stage, and we’ll make @@NAME@@ proud!”

2. “Have you seen what they do to — GAAAA!” shouts Foreign Minister @@RANDOMNAME@@, dodging a cast iron ball flying toward your desk. “...ahem, uh...wa-what they do to peaceful protestors? Attending these games would make a mockery of everything our great @@TYPE@@ stands for. For the sake of our values and everything that is good and decent in @@REGION@@, @@NAME@@ must boycott the games!”

3. A flurry of snow bursts through your door, followed by a cross-country skier. “Their internal politics are none of our business,” says National Sporting Committee President @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, as she stows her ski poles and rifle in a large hole in your desk. “Look, why not let our qualified athletes compete independently? That way, the government can officially disavow the games, while @@NAME@@ still unofficially kicks some backside in the field. Plus, this will make it easier for us to get around restrictions on, um, nutritional supplements. Yeah. Supplements.”

4. As soon as your aides close the door, it bursts open again as an upside down bobsled drifts into your chateau, stopping just before your priceless Maxtopian vase. Your aides turn around the bobsled, revealing the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ bobsled team, who came in last place at the previous Winter Olympics. “Yo, mon, what if @@NAME@@ hosted its own sporting competition for like-minded nations?” asks the captain of the team, @@RANDOMNAME@@, as the team steps up to lift the bobsled over their heads. “Our sportsmen and women deserve the chance to compete in these games, but most of us don’t feel comfortable in these tin-pot dictatorships. This way we all get to compete and we send a message to our enemies.” The bobsledders walk out of your office, as everyone in the room begins to slowly applaud the team.

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#574: One Small Step For Private Enterprise? [New Birgland; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Private space companies have expressed a desire to launch a space probe to the moon and other planets in the solar system. To avoid any legal entanglements, they have asked for permission from the government to launch.

The Debate
1. "The sooner we get off this rock, the better," grimly predicts daredevil CEO Dick Benson, who recently broke the record for the world's highest skydive. "We all know it's a matter of time before we destroy this planet, and exploring the vastness of space is our only salvation. Private enterprise must be allowed to develop space technologies. I'd go so far as to subsidize private space companies to help them on the way to the stars. 'Per pecunia ad astra', as I always say."

2. "Space shouldn't be opened to corporations!" exclaims buxom @@NAMEINITIALS@@SA engineer turned beachwear model Ellen Janeway. "These companies just want to grab our heavenly bodies and make money from them. The stars themselves will be exploited and stripped bare! Only the government - by which I mean you - can be trusted to handle things properly."

3. "Both sides have a point," acknowledges your diplomatic Science Minister Bill deGrasse Hawking. "The free market must be allowed to operate, but with reasonable rules and regulations. The idea sounds daft, but an asteroid mining company should be subject to the same laws governing terrestrial mining companies. We should have some sort of prime directive that state what we can and can't do up there. This needn't cost us tax dollars either: just have the enterprises involved sign an agreement to abide by the rules, then let them go boldly where no corporation has gone before."

4. "You've ruined this planet. Now you want to ruin outer space?" queries Gaia Peacedove, an eccentric environmentalist and host of the esoteric television show 'Antiquated Aliens', seen dressed in hemp fiber. "Cleanliness is next to godliness, after all. The Ancient Ones didn't want us to come to them, they will come to us. Stop polluting space with your fancy-schmancy space probes and rockets! Ban all space exploration, and focus on protecting the environment. They will surely see this as a sign that we are ready for their arrival!"

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#575: Sick Days For Sick Waves [Australian Republic; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
At the height of an extremely hot summer along the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ coastline, many workers have taken multiple ‘sick days’ to go to the beach and had the misfortune to run into their bosses, who have ‘taken work home’ to their seaside properties. Your chief employment analyst has estimated that the economic damage of the good weather has been significant, though he says he’ll get back to you on exact figures once he recovers from an unexpected bout of period cramps that are keeping him off work today.

The Debate
*1. “We lost a whole summer!” says @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, your Minister of Productivity, while adjusting his swimming costume. “We can’t just shut @@NAME@@ down whenever it’s a bit too hot - our economy would go broke. Of course there’s nothing wrong with bumming around the beach, but not while you’re being paid... How about we allow companies, rather than employees, decide when somebody is sick enough to stay home from work. That’ll put an end to their malingering tricks!” [Must have private industry]

*2. "We lost a whole summer!" says @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, your Minister of Productivity, while adjusting his swimming costume. "We can't just shut @@NAME@@ down whenever it's a bit too hot - our economy would go broke. Of course, there's nothing wrong with bumming around the beach, but not while you're being paid... How about we allow the government, rather than the people, decide when somebody is sick enough to stay home from work. That'll put an end to their malingering tricks!" [Must not have private industry]

3. “I’m not a bludger because I take a few sickies,” complains @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, a surprisingly tanned data entry worker from his basement cubicle. “I mean cm’on, you can’t ‘spect us to work on bloody scortcha! Maybe you could make all places of work close down when the weather is really good, then we can go to the beach and not worry ‘bout it. I mean, what’s more important, a barbie and some beers with yer mates, or more bleedin’ work?”

4. “Why can’t we just start working on beaches?” asks @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a bikini-clad beach beauty who persuaded your doorman to let her into the meeting. “I mean let people take the papers and printers and stuff to the beach and do the work there! Pay people for the work they do, not the hours they are in the office. Flexible workplaces are more productive, so you should be subsidising and encouraging with appropriate legislation.”

5. “I don’t really understand what the attraction of sunny beaches is supposed to be,” notes dermatologist Dr. @@RANDOMNAME@@, closing your blinds for you. ” People just need to be reminded that too much sunshine and beach-side indulgence can be bad for you. There’s skin cancer, sunburn and all sorts of nasty creatures, like sharks and jellyfish. Have you seen the size of their teeth? Sharks, I mean, not jellyfish. Here, look at this photo of this man whose skin fell off after he got stung. I’ve got that picture in a Public Health leaflet, you just need to distribute them...”

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#576: Light At The End Of The Tunnel [Kievan Rusk; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A 33-year-old man, who has chosen to remain anonymous, has been refused state-sanctioned euthanasia by his doctors because of his diagnosis of severe depression. He's pointing out that this depression is exactly why he wants to die, and is asking that the right to merciful death be extended to allow his medically-assisted suicide.

The Debate
1. The patient in question, avoiding eye contact and speaking flatly, makes his case: "I've felt like this since I was a child, I've been through every medication, seen a hundred counsellors, even had ECT blasting my brain. They've all done nothing, nothing at all. I'll take my own life if I have to, but wouldn't it be better if I could end my life painlessly and comfortably?"

2. "You see where this slippery slope has brought us to?" asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, of lobby group 1stDoNoHarm. "You tell people it's okay to kill themselves, and that's what they'll do. You tell doctors its okay to let people die, and that's what they'll do. What's next? Murdering the learning-disabled or those with the wrong skin colour? Change the government's message, @@LEADER@@. Choose life."

3. "I sympathise with this man's situation," says neuropsychologist @@RANDOMNAME@@, showing no outward signs of being sympathetic at all, "but allowing suicide and banning euthanasia are both choices that are just running away from the bigger problem: chronic, intractable depression. We need a review of root causes, more mental health funding and a drive towards exploring experimental new treatments, like neuroaffective immunotherapy. Spend more on mental health and social services; cut other departments or raise taxes if you have to: this is a national crisis."

4. "Well, life is pretty damn pointless," says Nia Liszt, leader of a new movement calling themselves the Self-Destructivists, "so why don't we just end people's misery once and for all? We humans have had a terrible impact on the planet and suffering is inherent to life. You should donate some public money to my crowdfunded "kill-starter": I'm looking to engineer the perfect virus that will wipe out all human life forever. There's a little fine tuning to be done, but in the meantime, you can buy access to my existing research, which will probably help you develop some biological WMDs, or whatever else you like to occupy yourself with. I mean, who cares? It's all ridiculous, anyway."

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#577: Second World Problems [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
The ongoing ideological struggle between capitalist and communist nations shows no sign of letting up. At a meeting of 'second world' nations, opinions vary on how international socialism can be best achieved. The Party has asked you to put your weight behind one of the more popular approaches.

The Debate
1. "We're surrounded by a hostile camp of capitalist powers," lectures the borderline paranoid @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ after preemptively surrounding her lectern with concertina wire. "The only logical solution is building a bastion of socialism impervious to any and all foreign aggression. @@LEADER@@, with closed borders and an ever-increasing military budget, we will finally be safe from imperialist encirclement."

2. "Come join the bloc party!" enthuses @@RANDOMNAME@@ while handing out BBQ to everyone in attendance. "We need to form a Solidarity Pact, committing our nations to mutual defense and strategic cooperation. By sharing administrative functions and industrial investment, we can create a group of communist countries with steadily increasing living standards, and isn't that what socialism's all about? Who wants a kebab?"

3. "We have a duty to publicize the wonders of socialism," preaches socialist realist @@RANDOMNAME@@ while coloring in propaganda posters with a red felt-tip pen. "People suffering under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie need to know that true happiness, by which I mean their class interests, lies with the worldwide proletarian movement. After all, winning the battle of ideas is far more important than getting stuck in another arms race."

4. "Hmmm, sorry what? I wasn't listening," says a rotund Party member with an expensive watch and the latest media tablet. "Perhaps we can get some sort of compromise between the economic benefits of private industry, alongside our ongoing socialist program. I mean, have you seen some of the cool stuff coming out of those capitalist countries?"

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#578: Support Your Local Arms Manufacturer [Golgothastan; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
After the Conglomerated @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Arms Syndicate announced yet another setback in the development of a promised new fighter jet, the Hell-@@ANIMAL@@ 3000, the Ministry of Defense is considering the previously unthinkable: importing from overseas.

The Debate
1. "You can't! If you cancel the order, we'll go out of business, putting @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ workers out of a job," pleads Conglomerated @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Arms Syndicate liaison, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "We couldn't have reasonably anticipated the problems refitting the cockpit to make it windproof. We'll have the jet finished soon; I swear. In the meantime, maybe a generous contribution to your PR campaign would help convince you?"

2. Commodore @@RANDOMNAME@@, Navy Chief of Procurement, is sick of the delays and cost overruns in the Hell-@@ANIMAL@@ 3000 project. "We were promised this plane three years ago, at half the price. This is getting ridiculous. It's time we found a supplier who can actually deliver on what they promised - even if that means importing from one of our overseas rivals."

3. "Why stop at fighter jets?" argues Colonel @@RANDOMNAME@@, who has recently returned from an officer exchange program with suitcases brimming with gadgetry. "We should be inviting all the foreign arms firms to come and bid to completely replace all the rusting junk our Armed Forces currently has to put up with. Just imagine our brave soldiers fighting with cutting-edge jet packs, thermal detonators, and knockout gas! Some would call importing supplies un-@@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@; I call it progress."

4. "Do you realize how many jobs that would cost, you blithering idiot?" foams union organizer @@RANDOMNAME@@, diplomatic as ever. "Our arms industry employs people in every one of your marginal electoral districts, so you'd better listen to us... and if the fat cat bosses aren't running things well, then maybe it's time we re-nationalized! Under government control the factories will be churning out guns and ammo at twice the rate! And twice the price..."

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#579: Real Handwriting Has Curves [The Rejected Realms Issue Committee; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
"Concerned for Cursive", a mothers' advocacy group, have staged a mock funeral for handwriting - a practice which, they claim, nears extinction.

The Debate
1. "We are gathered here today to pay our respects to the memory of our nearly departed: cursive handwriting!" says head of the CFC @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@. "The government must act now. Require handwriting for all school assignments or watch our sweet and beloved cursive fall by the wayside like, err, stamp-collecting... and erm, the neighborhood milkman."

2. "I OBJECT!" shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, nosy parker. "We do that at funerals, right? 'Object'? But I object to this nonsense. It doesn't matter how kids are writing, but what kids are writing. We should be giving them free laptops to keep up with the times and stay competitive rather than keeping them in the dark ages!"

3. "Nev'r understood what all them fuss was about 'andwriting," mumbles Deegan Holhs, an illiterate gravedigger. "Them schools should be teach'n kids the very basics. I nev'r needed to write nuff'n, so why should they? Quit that academic blither-blather and set our youngins up with them thar marketable skills."
Last edited by Jutsa on Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:20 pm, edited 40 times in total.

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Jutsa
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Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#580: @@NAME@@ Taking Leave Of Its Census? [Zwangzug; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
When the latest National Census asked citizens to specify everything from their shoe size to number of sexual partners, leading privacy activists and the casually paranoid started raging that the process has become too intrusive and that the anonymity of the respondents is at risk. 

The Debate
1. "Enough, I say!" melodramatically rails Warren Brandeis, while angrily doodling crude images of the male anatomy in every tick box on the census form. "With this level of detail, any hope of anonymity and personal privacy will be but a distant whisper. Why should we trust the blasted establishment to know every single detail of our lives, let alone where we live? I have no intention of entrusting the government with my full demographic profile, and I implore anyone with a shred of decency and respect for the sanctity of the domestic sphere to opt-out of this Orwellian intrusion!"

2. "Nonsense!" counters @@RANDOMNAME@@, policy wonk at the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Bureau of Statistics, dotting the i's and crossing the t's of an essay question. "Without accurate and meticulously detailed census data we'll be completely lost! How can we make informed decisions when there's no information? How will we know what areas of the country to target with our... welfare programs? No, we need to have greater authority to make sure everyone is filling out the census!"

3. "Yee-haw, pardners," strums country-music star @@RANDOMNAME@@. "No need to bring out the big guns there fella, I'm sure these fine folks would be just gosh-durned happy to fill out all of your ticky boxes, if you get them in the right mood. Let me and my friends churn out some songs advertising the glories of checking boxes, and you'll have them lining up to submit all the data you want in no time! To make sure they really, really get the message, you should make all them medias play our hearty honky tonk exclusively during census-time! Now ain't that a peach?"

4. "Let's be reasonable here," suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@, manager at 'Surveys R Us', while wielding a sharp pair of scissors. "Me and the gang can trim down and freshen up the census for you - a slice here, a dice there - and make it into something so feel-good and inoffensive that nobody will object to answering it. Granted, the results will have to be a bit more, eh, let's say 'aggregated', but I'm sure the boys at the Bureau will manage to make somewhat informed and semi-relevant estimates nonetheless."

[5]. "Do we really need a national census anyway?" yawns @@RANDOMNAME@@, a meme-analyst at social media site MyFace, who is using the form as a paper airplane. "It's a lot of trouble for nothing, if you ask me. If you want to know where someone lives or what their spiritual animal is, you add them on MyFace like everybody else. Why spend a lot of money doing an official census, @@LEADER@@, when you can easily set up a profile with us and just add everybody?" [Must have internet]

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#581: Fair To Say...? [Unibot III; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
At last year's World Fair many said that @@NAME@@'s exhibition pavilion was "okay, considering," and "not bad, for a nation on a tight budget." This year, national organizers want to make your expo presence bigger, better, and more impressive than ever before.

The Debate
1. "We need more shiny stuff! We need lasers, and twenty-foot-tall robots!" squeaks General @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Honda, hoverboarding excitedly round you in a wide circle. "Let's show off our tech to the rest of the world! We need flying cars and… and… cyber@@ANIMALPLURAL@@! Yes, a cyber@@ANIMAL@@, with a frickin' laser beam on its head!"

2. "My, how gauche!" sneers Martina Amis, an esteemed novelist. "Culture is the lifeblood of @@NAME@@. We should create a gallery-slash-library to celebrate @@NAME@@'s arts and literature abroad. Nothing less could represent our brilliance."

3. "Give the fair-goers what they want! FOOOOOOOOD!" yells Adam Richbloke, generously-proportioned foodie holding a generous portion of battered chicken chunks. "Visitors to the fair aren't going to visit every tent: you know how many nations there are in the world now? But everyone has gotta eat! Chocolate donut lasagna, deep-fried pancake soups and orange truffle crabcakes with butter, pork and loads of sweet custard. Hmm, hmmm, hmmm, looks like everyone will be stopping by the @@NAME@@ pavillion!"

4. "Everyone likes tofu, don't they?" suggests frizzy-haired vegetarian @@RANDOMNAME@@, offering you a mug of tofu-and-cress soup. "We should be pushing out the vegetarian agenda with a 'Wonders of Tofu' celebration. Tofu-desserts, tofu-lasagne, tofu-coffee, tofu-with-extra-tofu... Is there anything that tofu can't do?"

5. "We're glossing over a real opportunity here," says Carla Marks, a vocal advocate for global Communism. "Across the world, citizens are suffering in poverty and being oppressed by the capitalist miser-nations. This is our chance to give Communism a voice on the global stage, and to use that voice to point out the sickening excesses of neighbouring nations!"

6. "I smell economic opportunity," says your Commerce Minister @@RANDOMNAME@@. "We should showcase what a great place for investors we are, emphasising our flexible taxation arrangements for valued corporate investors and our latest moves to stamp out the unions. We should literally get on our knees, and beg the biggest businesses to bring jobs and prosperity to @@NAME@@."

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#582: Augmented Reality Check [Enthusiasm; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Following the release of hit mobile game Maxémon Woah, which requires players to walk around in order to find mythical creatures, many of @@NAME@@'s pedestrians have been hit by unseen vehicles in an effort to snatch 'em all.

The Debate
1. "These are needless tragedies!" complains your concerned Public Safety Minister, angrily smacking your phone out of your hands, and denying you the ultra-rare Lenyutwo you were about to snatch. "Hundreds of people have already been hurt and we had our first death just last week, all just to get some virtual monster thing! I won't begin to get into all the trespassing charges that have been filed!" She continues her tirade as you pick up your phone and manage to snatch a Slowbrophyllia Raticalia. "This game is a disaster waiting to happen! At the very least, prohibit the use of the game within urban areas."

2. "Not even then are we truly safe!" preaches @@RANDOMNAME@@, a belligerent religious leader who previously accused you of colluding with demons. "That 'game' is nothing short of the work of the damned, what with the conjuring of cyber demons in our beautiful nation! Have you even looked at a Sedgetoise? It's clearly modeled after the devil, and the Amorlax represents a forbidden depiction of the archangel! Did you know that you have to evolve them? In the name of all that is holy, forbid this Maxey-Pokey-Heresy!"

3. "Ah, the game is just some harmless fun," retorts @@RANDOMNAME@@, the director of the Barrysonian Museum of Political History. "Ever since we started advertising as a Maxéstop, we've had record attendance. Our visitors have been putting aside their differences to catch their Gnejgars, Sleepypuffs, and Clefrissies. In fact, we really ought to be using this game to get people interested in politics and history again. Start putting Maxéstops and Maxégyms at archives, museums, and educational centers. Maxémon will bring everyone together, provided you're on Team Insightful of course."

4. Out of the corner of your eye, a teenager wearing a bright red tracksuit and visor climbs in through your window. "Absolutely we should encourage people to play, and make sure it's safe for...wait a second..." He swipes his phone, not having looked up since he entered. "Sorry about that. I'm Dash Snatchum, and in order to be the very best, I gotta divert all of my attention! You should just make a whole lot more stop signs and streetlights so we can get to those Noqorans and Charchivemanders faster! After all, you gotta snatch 'em all!"

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#583: Don't Be A Busk-Kill [Oisinistan; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A recent video shoot of newly sworn-in cabinet ministers being broadcast on live TV was disrupted by an enthusiastic but loud vuvuzela-player busking nearby. Most viewers reported they couldn't hear a word being spoken over the noise. This incident has raised some smiles, but also sparked a debate over busking in general.

The Debate
*1. “NOISY PESTS!” yells inner city resident @@RANDOMNAME@@, straight into your left ear from just two feet away. “While I’m trying to get my beauty sleep at 3 in the afternoon, I’m being disturbed by moronic musicians, talentless thespians and hopeless harlequins! They’re just beggars, but with added irritation and noise. Ban busking! Lock up these feckless fools!” [Must have private industry AND Must have prisons]

*2. “NOISY PESTS!” yells inner city resident @@RANDOMNAME@@, straight into your left ear from just two feet away. “While I’m trying to get my beauty sleep at 3 in the afternoon, I’m being disturbed by moronic musicians, talentless thespians and hopeless harlequins! They’re just beggars, but with added irritation and noise. Ban busking! Smash up their instruments, and take away all their earnings!” [Must have private industry AND Must not have prisons]

*3. “NOISY PESTS! DECADENT IMPERIALISTS!” yells inner city resident @@RANDOMNAME@@, straight into your left ear from just two feet away. “Not only are these moronic musicians, talentless thespians and hopeless harlequins disturbing the peace, they are doing so for filthy capitalist motives! They’re just profiteers, but with added irritation and noise. Exile these feckless fools from our beloved nation!” [Must not have private industry]

4. "Eish! Em not justa musician, mos," protests @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, the busker in question, "Em a one-man entertainment experience, with Hlokoloza dancing for the bokkies an' gooses, befok naartjie juggling and even face painting for the laaities! Surely busking adds a bit a music and colour to life, nè? The government should pay buskers to be on every street. Let's make everyone's life happier now now!"

5. "I know a way we could make both sides happy," remarks your Minister for Fine Arts, @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, pressing play on her cassette of patriotic anthems to create the right mood. "We could introduce national performance licenses, and only allow public performance by those who have attained a certain standard. As a nice side effect, this will let us make sure that our nation's culture is both highbrow and patriotic."

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#584: The Cake Is A Lie [Felucian Planetary republic; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
In recent weeks, a neighbouring nation in @@REGION@@ released a controversial and gory movie about @@NAME@@, entitled The Baker Of @@NAME@@. The movie, which follows the horrifying journey of a hapless ex-baker into the criminal underworld of @@CAPITAL@@, seems to imply that @@NAME@@ is a dystopian hellhole filled with violent crime. Unsurprisingly your citizenry is offended.

The Debate
1. "This movie makes us look like lawless bloodthirsty savages... and they claimed we eat @@CAPITAL@@ Cakes all year round, when everybody knows that we like @@CAPITAL@@ Scones these days!" complains scowling patriot Marshall Kim J. Unn, dousing a stack of movie promotional posters in kerosene, tossing the offending nation's flag onto the pile, and lighting a match. "Not only should we ban this evil slanderous movie, we should also demand an apology! Deploy tanks along their border, and warn them to withdraw the film, or face the consequences."

2. "Woah, like chill out dude, get a sense of humour," says satirist Sacha Sagdiyev, lighting a spliff from the bonfire. "These people just don't know what it is actually like to live here. So, why don't we show them? Get some tourists in, get them high on magic mushroom muffins, flood them with love. Getting angry never solved anything, man."

3. "Lies and videotape, eh?" muses Lenny Groovesteel, your Propaganda Minister, reading a psychology article on The Triumph Of The Will. "Two can play at that game. We should direct our own movie directors to churn out some counter-information, singing our nation's praises and fabricating something nasty about theirs. Have you heard people talking about the disgusting Dog-Hair Muffins they bake? No? We will fix that."

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#585: Are You Not Entertained? [Socialist Nordia; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Last weekend, a roller coaster malfunction at Six-hundred Flags Theme Park resulted in dozens of people left hanging upside down from stationary carriages for almost half an hour and one passenger injured badly from the fall after she released her own safety harness to get down. Outraged by a perceived lack of safety, concerned parents are now pushing to have something done about the dangers posed by amusement park rides.

The Debate
1. "MY CHILD COULD HAVE DIED ON THAT THING!" vents overprotective mother, @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@. "And the mess... vomit in his hair was the least of his problems: he's always had weak bowels, poor thing. These roller coasters are clearly a danger to the public. Not to mention that people actually waste money on those godforsaken things. I say we ban them right away, along with any other rides that could put my baby boy at risk."

2. "That's a little excessive," concludes your uncle, @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, while attempting to child-proof your office. "When properly regulated, amusement park rides pose no danger. So the only reasonable thing to do is to hire a lot more health and safety inspectors. That way tourists can visit our nation's rides and restaurants without fretting about their own safety."

3. "That sounds like a waste of money," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, director of the infamous amusement park, after literally taking candy from a baby. "This was totally an isolated incident that in no way reflects upon my park's safety or popularity. I can't believe people are panicking so much over a couple of broken ribs and a snapped neck. Everyone knows that necks naturally repair themselves. Let me reopen my park tomorrow, and I'll have all the ride malfunctions fixed. Eventually."

4. "Woah, so cool!" opines wannabe daredevil @@RANDOMNAME@@, who appears to be improvising a motorcycle out of scrap iron and kerosene. "The only thing cooler than feeling like you're on the brink of death is actually being on the brink of death. Just scrap all those lame safety rules so we can get some real excitement! Super dangerous, but that's just part of the thrill, man."

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#586: School's In For Summer? [Aipotu Ruo; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Your Education Minister recently proposed abolishing the traditional @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ school schedule, which included seasonal breaks, and replacing it with one in which school days were evenly distributed over an entire year. In response, concerned administrators, parents, and educators have asked for your support.

The Debate
1. "Everyone knows how much time parents and educators waste regurgitating the same information every year," complains obnoxious parent @@RANDOMNAME@@, seen wearing a 'My Child Is An Honor Roll Student' button. "Students often forget things when they spend long periods of time without learning. In order for these young minds to flourish, we should keep the same number of weeks of education per annum, but spread them out evenly across the year. That will make my - I mean, @@NAME@@'s - children's successes even more pronounced!"

2. "That is ridiculous. Can you even imagine all the overhaul that would require?" questions principal @@RANDOMNAME@@, after giving two of your squabbling aides a time out. "The budget is strapped enough as it is! A better solution would be to allow each school to determine its own schedule. That's better for the administrative workings of this public school system, and our finances. Besides, educators need breaks too! Teaching those little hellions is far more stressful than it looks!" The aides begin squabbling again, prompting a stern glare from the principal. "You two! My office! Now!"

3. "Restructuring alone won't keep our children ahead of the curve!" opines @@RANDOMNAME@@, Comptroller of the @@CAPITAL@@ District School Board who had been grading everyone on their posture and speeches. "What we need to do is make education free and mandatory all year round, fifty-two weeks a year and six days a week. Yes, that means massive spending towards the education budget, but you can't put a price on knowledge. Well, I guess you can depending on how much goes into the budget."

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#587: I, Robot, Do Solemnly Swear [Luna Amore; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
Last week, a humanoid robot announced its intentions to serve as a the nation's first android federal judge. Concerned citizens have come to you as to the implications and legality of this potential appointment.

The Debate
1. "Surely we cannot allow this, right?" asks Chief Justice @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ while curling the end of his beard around his finger. "Letting them vote would be one thing, but robot judges? What if it malfunctions or someone tampers with it? We need to put an end to this right now. If we manufactured it, it shouldn't be allowed to serve in the judiciary."

2. "He's a – it's a WHAT?" yells @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Zero Tolerance. "This robot had to be made by someone right? You don't see how that could go horribly, horribly wrong? It's clearly a power grab by someone with deep connections at the Friendly Robot Company. We need to conduct a full on investigation of the entire industry and this robot; who made him, who paid for him, what he is capable of – the works!"

3. "If I may disagree," politely asks iCroft Holmes, the robot nominee. "A robotic judge has numerous benefits that the esteemed gentlemen are deliberately omitting. We can view decisions in a rational and analytical manner, unburdened by emotions. We would make decisions for the betterment of the people. The judiciary would become streamlined and efficient. Surely, these are virtues the government wants?"

4. "I warned you!" scolds noted technophobe @@RANDOMNAME@@ after smashing your telephone. "But no one would listen. You became dependent on these soulless machines, integrated them into every facet of your lives, and look, now they dare to judge us! We've got to rid @@NAME@@ of these toasters once and for all! Ban artificial intelligence and bring some sanity back to our country!"

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#588: Last Call For Alcohol? [The Dalatian Republic; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
The @@CAPITAL@@ Police Department has reported an upsurge in alcohol-related crime in recent weeks, with bar-fights, vandalism, and street violence all on the rise. Now, with a drunken city councilor involved in a street brawl with an equally drunk Brancalandian ambassador, it is perhaps time for you to intervene in the embarrassing levels of booze-fueled mayhem.

The Debate
1. "These pubs are cesspools of crime and delinquency!" rages Temperance League founder and avowed pacifist @@RANDOMNAME@@, throwing a bottle full of perfectly good beer on the floor, smashing it. "And don't forget the broken families and long-term health problems associated with drinking yourself to death! The government must ban all alcoholic drinks and shut down every last bar in @@NAME@@ in order to safeguard public safety."

2. "Maybe just a selective ban? After all, beer doesn't get you drunk nearly as quickly as whiskey or vodka," proposes @@RANDOMNAME@@, who has the difficult job of cleaning up all the messes in the Surly Wench Pub. "Just set an upper limit of 6% ABV. That way people still have a way to blow off steam, but they'll be a little less likely to smash bottles or brawl over the @@ANIMAL@@ball game."

3. "I can do... what I want... with my body," staggers @@RANDOMNAME@@, who is already drunk at 10 in the morning. "The government should just get off my... back." The sot abruptly falls down.

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#589: To Boldly Go? [Nation of Quebec; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
As the government prepares for its latest budget, the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Space Agency is looking for direction from you. Petitioners have been transported to your office to present their ideas.

The Debate
1. "We should seek out new life and new civilisation," implores William Kirk, an elderly utopian SF author and astronomer. "There are trillions of stars, and it's mad to believe Earth alone harbours intelligence. There might be alien green-skinned lovelies, just waiting for contact with a real man. We need telescopes and exploration probes, aimed at the second star to the right, and straight on till morning. Show some enterprise. See what's out there... That-away."

2. "They call it a space race, but being first at any cost is not always the point," suggests reformist politician Patrick Picard, looking suspiciously at five lightbulbs illuminating the room. "Attend to the small details at the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Space Agency. Are they assimilating all the men and women needed, in an equal and fair fashion? Sometimes a counsellor can be of as much value as a pilot." He takes a sip of hot Earl Violet tea. "I may be accused of being overly methodical, but these things matter. Suspend launches for now, and attend to infrastructure. Make it so."

3. "Space, I regret to say, is a dangerous place," offers gruff base-commander and part-time gourmet chef Avery Sisko. "It's not just about science, nor about being an emissary for corporate profits. It's about security. Near-Earth space is getting crowded, with a multitude of nations seeking absolute dominion. You don't want the East Lebatuckese to get any further with their space program, do you? Who knows what they're doing up there with that Sputnak satellite? We need a new kind of space ship, to show our defiance of those agendas. One with guns. Lots of guns."

4. "Is anyone else here kind of bored?" yells young tearaway William Kirk Jr., revving his motorbike as he rides into your office, in clear contravention of rules and regulations. "We gotta make space exciting again for people, make the old things new again! Not just dry data and lore for tech-geeks, but awesomeness for ordinary people who like explosions, and lens-flared sunsets, and stuff like that. Reboot the Space Agency! Let's have firework displays, televised low orbit skydiving, and celebrity astronauts with great hair! I dare you to do better!"

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#590: When Trees Hug Back [Czechostan; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
With a significant portion of deaths in @@NAME@@ stemming from people simply getting lost in the vast wilderness, a debate has commenced on the merit of having such an expansive and bustling environment.

The Debate
1. "Seriously, the trees are out of control, man," complains aging hippie @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, while wrapping a warm blanket around his cold feet. "Look, I love Momma Green as much as the next guy, but there are literally trees and foliage everywhere! I can't even see the street from my house, and this morning I was nearly mauled to death by a pack of saber-toothed @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ when I went on a trek to retrieve my mail. Can't the government lay off on a few of the environmental regulations and stop declaring anything with leaves a national park? You know, at least let me mow my lawn, man."

2. "Okay, so some people are getting lost in the woods," remarks Minister of Environmental Affairs @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a bureaucrat so grey she makes pavement look like the Technicolor Dreamcoat. "Don't blame nature for human error. Give my department some increased funding, and I'll have the Rangers go out and discreetly mark some safe trails between our major population centers." She ogles your shriveled potted plants with cold, dead eyes, and says: "You know you're required by law to water those bi-daily, right?"

3. "Behold! What we are witnessing is the twilight of modern civilization and the grunge of industrialization," declares aspiring primitivist @@RANDOMNAME@@, clothed solely in @@A(ANIMAL)@@ pelt, while stretching both arms upward and revealing two miniature valleys of woodland. "I read somewhere that before the emergence of states and industrialism, everyone lived peacefully in small, egalitarian, cohesive societies. We're almost there again, and to ensure that everyone can truly live and die among the roots and vegetation of nature, we must begin the complete deindustrialization of @@NAME@@. It'll sound terrible to some, sure, but don't knock it til you try it."

4. "Talk about missing the point!" coaxes @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, known biophobe and CEO of an all-but-destitute wood-chipping and mining firm, 'Tree's Company, So Mine Your Own Business'. "The rising percentage of people dying in the wilderness is proof that man and nature were never made to interact beyond the shaft of an axe or a shov…" He pauses mid-sentence, face turning wan and frozen at the sight of your potted plant. After regaining his composure, he continues in a high-pitched voice: "Eh, where was I… Yes, that's it! Abolish all green regulations and spending, and allow the eager lumberjacks and miners of @@NAME@@ to access forest and field so we can fight back and civilize the environment! Trees will always grow back, and surely the hippies at the Ministry of Environmental Affairs can't demonize a few subterranean rocks being removed?"

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#591: Bait And Switch [Lenyo; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
Children wept today, as only a handful of fish showed up for the 'Dance of Salmon' – an eagerly awaited tradition celebrating wild salmon migration from the ocean to the riverbeds of @@NAME@@. Experts and deep-sea anglers have pointed fingers at the abundance of open-net fish farms dotting the coast, which allow sea lice-infected farmed salmon to contaminate migrating wild salmon, threatening the very survival of the species.

The Debate
1. "Salmon are a crucial link in the food chains of both the ocean AND river systems!" asserts @@RANDOMNAME@@, a surprisingly knowledgeable 10-year old, clutching a tear-drenched plush salmon. "The wild stocks of both Maxtopia and Blackacre are already irreparably depleted by sea lice and overfishing, and if we do nothing, @@NAME@@ is next. You need to severely tighten regulations for the farm barons: make them clean up their act before it's too late!"

2. "What's the worst-case scenario? They're extinct in twenty years or so? I'm eighty-six; I'll be extinct in ten," reasons ridiculously wealthy fish farm owner, Bjørnar Laksekonge. "This is really making a mountain out of a molehill. Look, if you just equate wild salmon with caged salmon in your government counts, I think you'll see the problem disappearing overnight. I'm sure my boys can train a couple of our fish to swim upriver once or twice a year, nobody will care: a salmon is a salmon, right?"

3. "People, people! Let's forget about the salmon for a while and talk about the lice!" pleads @@RANDOMNAME@@, disgraced marine biologist and amateur chemist. "The louse - scourge of the salmon, free or farmed; wouldn't it be nice if you could just make them go away? Well, you can! I've been working on a new type of pesticide targeting just this kind of situation. It's still experimental, that's for sure, but if you let fish farmers douse their tanks with my stuff I'll guarantee that your lice problem will be a thing of the past, all while keeping your fish nice and sound. Actually, I'm not 100% sure about the fish, but the lice will definitely die!"

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#592: Infamy! Infamy! They've All Got It In For Me! [Annihilators of Chan Island; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Two days ago a series of pipe bombs in @@ANIMAL@@ City killed two people and injured twelve more. By yesterday morning, the news was full of pictures of the perpetrator, with reporters explaining his twisted manifesto and giving the terrorist's ideology far more exposure and media presence than he could ever have achieved without violence. Like many others, you find yourself watching an evening TV program dissecting the events of the last few days.

The Debate
1. "Boy, am I glad they caught that monster?" asks chat show host @@RANDOMNAME@@ hopefully rhetorically, just after airing a thirty minute segment profiling the killer. "Now... some on this panel were saying earlier that having his face and picture all over the airwaves was counter-productive. I disagree! We're showing the public that crime doesn't pay. It's in the public interest, because... uh... because the public is interested! It's also about history, and recording events for posterity. That means it's actually the duty of the media to put up the names, faces, methods and manifesto of these ratings-boosting psychopaths."

2. "With that haircut, I'm surprised YOU aren't the one we're condemning," jokes fellow panellist @@RANDOMNAME@@, to thunderous audience applause. "In all seriousness though, it's not right that we're playing right into this terrorist's hands, spreading his message of hate and making him a celebrity. People died, man! We should have an enforced code of conduct, asking the media to be responsible in reporting. After all, publicising an agenda of hate is the same as promoting it. Consign these killers and their whack-job thoughts to the oblivion of history where they belong."

3. "Why don't you all shut up and go home?" yells a heckler from the audience. The camera pans round to show an angry red-faced fellow with a cooking apron on. "I had tickets for Celebrity @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Bake-Off Factor Live, and then they tell me that it's been cancelled to make room for this stupid show. Hey, @@LEADER@@, if you're watching, ban this sort of news and documentaries, and keep TV for what it was made for... Entertainment!"

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#593: A Right to Bare Arms? [Escalan Corps-Star Island; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Despite a conservative attitude towards nudity in @@NAME@@, recent analyses of fashion trends suggest that women's sleeves have been getting progressively shorter in the last few months, sometimes to well above the elbows. Outraged moral guardians have come to you to ask for nationally enforced standards of dress.

The Debate
1. "This is outrageous!" wails @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, founder and chairwoman of the conservative activism group Modicum Of Modesty. "@@LEADER@@, everyone knows that increased promiscuity among young girls can be directly linked to the square footage of skin showing! Sexual abuse, objectification and falling educational standards are all direct consequences of nudity: I have the statistics and evidence, from a study that my own organisation completed! I beg you, mandate conservative skirts and long-sleeved blouses. A lady's wrists and ankles should be covered!'

2. "Don't listen to that harridan: she's got ugly arms, and that's why she wants to hide," scoffs @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, a teenage student at one of @@CAPITAL@@'s rowdiest schools. "Look, I don't get over-excited every time I catch a glimpse of shoulder or thigh. I mean sure, some people take it a little too far, but shouldn't that be their responsibility? She can cover up if she wants, but prettier girls should be able to show a little skin."

3. "I think we all know what's going on here," chides popular feminist speaker @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ as she bashes the previous speaker over the head with her protest sign. "We hear stories of assault and abuse, and it's chalked up to be the girl's fault for wearing something that 'invites it'. This is a clear case of double standards – nobody ever says anything when a man rolls up his sleeves to get to work. We need to change the mentality that holds women's clothing choices to blame for the actions of men. We should be able to walk down the street naked if we want to, and not be blamed or shamed from doing so."

4. "Since when have we let the women of this country determine its morality?" rages traditionalist @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, his wife and daughters standing behind him in fearful silence. "A woman's nakedness is for her husband to behold, and for none other. All women should be forced to cover themselves head-to-toe while in public, and should not venture out of the home without permission. They should obey their husbands or male relatives in all things, including their clothing choices."

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#594: Tie Fighters [Drasnia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
The national election is over and election officials are painstakingly counting every vote. The results are expected to be close and one electoral district, @@ANIMAL@@ Valley, has already seen a tie. The incumbent, cabinet minister Jennifer Nike and her challenger, Violet Utopia each amassed exactly the same number of votes. The candidates have already begun fighting, both with each other and with election officials at the Electoral Commission of @@NAME@@, prompting the first major debate of the new political session.

The Debate
1. "@@LEADER@@, as the incumbent for @@ANIMAL@@ Valley I believe I have the right to represent it again," demands Mrs. Nike after arguing with a nearby election official over whether an 'X' or a check-mark constitutes a spoiled ballot. "Precedent should always be given to maintaining the status quo, and officials should not be deposed or replaced except by a two-thirds majority. That'll give us some political stability, and give you and me a chance to get things done."

2. "@@LEADER@@, I demand a re-vote!" exclaims the increasingly paranoid Violet as she meticulously reviews paragraph forty, subsection two of the Election Code, which deals with re-votes. "We all know how corrupt this government is. I swear your goons have been stalking me! We need to hold a new election for the district. If the results are within 10% of a draw, then we'll keep on holding re-votes until I, uh, someone wins!"

3. "As always @@LEADER@@, I have the perfect solution!" declares your gambling addict brother who makes life decisions by the roll of the dice. "Why not have tie votes determined by a coin toss? It's simple, fun, and doesn't show any favoritism. We could bet on the outcomes and even apply the same principle to the legislature!" He then takes your prized antique ancient golden Maxtopian coin and flips it. "Fifty @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ on tails!"

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#595: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? [Saint Emygdius; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A high profile case where a police officer used lethal force against a criminal suspect that he claimed "posed immediate danger" has the populace divided. Some claim he was defending himself in the line of duty, others that he was abusing his power. Lack of witness testimonies or evidence is making investigation difficult, and many are suggesting that the government should outfit all of its police force with camera equipment to record events as they transpire.

The Debate
1. "Cameras. Cameras would be good." intones Patrol Officer and jungle war veteran @@RANDOMNAME@@, twitching nervously and scanning the skyline for rooftop snipers. He takes a moment to look a thousand yards into the distance. "People don't know what we've seen. They don't know what it's like to wear this uniform, to be a target, to know that each patrol might be the last. I know war, and it's war out there on the streets. If people could see what we have to deal with each day... they'd understand. Give me a camera, and I'll show them what it's like out there."

*2. "Look, I'm not saying I don't trust our fine police officers," whispers transparency advocate @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Juvenal, carefully moving any weapons and sharp objects away from the tremulous police officer, "but cameras are needed not just to support police testimony but also to protect the public from police excesses. The only way they can serve that dual purpose is if the police don't control the cameras. Have 24/7 cameras on every police vehicle, surveillance drones following cops on patrol, all the footage streamed live on the internet, and stored on an open-access cloud. That way, we can keep an eye on those jackbooted th... uh... on our valued law enforcement officials." [Must have internet]

*3. "Look, I'm not saying I don't trust our fine police officers," whispers transparency advocate @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Juvenal, carefully moving any weapons and sharp objects away from the tremulous police officer, "but cameras are needed not just to support police testimony but also to protect the public from police excesses. The only way they can serve that dual purpose is if the police don't control the cameras. Have 24/7 cameras on every police vehicle, surveillance drones following cops on patrol, all the taped footage put into an open-access public archive. That way, we can keep an eye on those jackbooted th... uh... on our valued law enforcement officials." [Must not have internet]

4. "Bwaahh?!?" exclaims moustache-twirling driving-goggle-wearing charlatan @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, who was definitely not trying to tie your secretary to his toy train tracks. "Police with cameras? This is a breach of my civil liberties! What about privacy? Do we not have the inherent right to go about our daily, lawfully abiding lives without fearing these paparazzi pigs parading our precious picturesque moments to the putrid public as perfidious publications? Say no to copper cameras! Keep your eyes off my private business!"

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#596: Primogeniture Problems [Nuremgard; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Due to the reigning monarch's lack of heirs, which could conceivably cause a succession crisis, the aristocratic elite have begun to question the ancient law of primogeniture.

The Debate
*1. "I'm the eldest child, so I should get the throne!" shouts Princess @@RANDOMFEMALEFIRSTNAME@@, who has a reputation for being completely undiplomatic. "It doesn't matter that I'm a woman. I should have the same rights as a man to the throne. Why should the crown pass over me because of my genitals? It's arcane! I mean, having a monarchy is arcane too, but never mind that..." [Must be a patriarchy]

*2. "I'm the eldest child, so I should get the throne!" shouts Prince @@RANDOMMALEFIRSTNAME@@, who has a reputation for being completely undiplomatic. "It doesn't matter that I'm a man. I should have the same rights as a woman to the throne. Why should the crown pass over me because of my genitals? It's arcane! I mean, having a monarchy is arcane too, but never mind that..." [Must be a matriarchy]

**3. "Don't be so preposterous!" splutters dusty old courtier @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ as he pulls out an even dustier family tree of the royal family which trails on the floor. "Generations of proud, strong kings have ruled this land with conviction and certainty! That's why the country has done so well for so long. It's clear that women should not be allowed to succeed the throne. They're much too emotional. Besides, do you really want the Princess meeting other heads of state when it's her... time of the month?" He shudders. [Must be a patriarchy]

**4. "Don't be so preposterous!" splutters dusty old courtier @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ as she pulls out an even dustier family tree of the royal family which trails on the floor. "Generations of proud, strong queens have ruled this land with conviction and certainty! That's why the country has done so well for so long. It's clear that men should not be allowed to succeed the throne. They're much too emotional. Besides, do you really want the Prince meeting other heads of state? Women think with their heads and hearts; men think with their..." She shudders. [Must be a matriarchy]

***5. "We need a radical reshaping of our country's power structure!" bellows crazed usurper @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ as she brandishes a blade at the terrified male courtier's privates. "For too long the patriarchy has oppressed us and denied us our natural rights to rule! Abolish primogeniture and ensure that only women may inherit the throne! We shall usher in a golden age of feminine supremacy!" The courtier shrieks as she accidentally cuts his trousers in excitement.
[Must be a patriarchy]

***6. "We need a radical reshaping of our country's power structure!" bellows crazed usurper @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ as he brandishes a blade at the terrified female courtier's décolletage. "For too long the matriarchy has oppressed us and denied us our natural rights to rule! Ensure that only men may inherit the throne! We shall usher in a golden age of masculine supremacy!" The courtier shrieks as he accidentally cuts her frock in excitement. [Must be a matriarchy]

7. "All this nonsense about succession has got me thinking," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, esquire, who is 456,789th in line for the throne. "Does the monarchy actually serve a purpose anymore? Seems to me that it would just be cheaper to not have a head of state at all. Royalty mostly exist today for photo ops, anyways."

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#597: You Can't Handle The Tooth [A Humanist Science; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
A few days ago you needed triple root-canal surgery, and despite your codeine-enhanced prescription you're still in agony. However, your dentist has refused to prescribe anything stronger! You're now back for your check-up, wondering if it's time to think about relaxing the regulations around the most powerful painkillers.

The Debate
1. Dr. @@RANDOMNAME@@, your personal dental care professional, sits down on a stool next to you, and lowers the back of the chair to the horizontal. "Open, please? Good. I'm sorry @@LEADER@@, but you know the drill. Easier access to narcotics will only lead to more widespread abuse. In reality, many pain 'patients' are just junkies looking for a fix. The primary purpose of medicine is to cure disease, not to enable addiction! Instead, consider adjusting healthcare policy to stress cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, and other non-pharmacological interventions. Spit, please?"

2. "ummm**HUUURP**..uh, yuck," says Dental Nurse @@RANDOMNAME@@, who you know is also a spokesperson for Patients Against Interdicting Narcotics, while emptying a recently-soiled emesis dish into the medical waste sluice. "Yeah, that's precisely the wrong thing to do. Insufficient treatment of pain is very common, especially among women, ethnic minorities, and the poor. The elderly are also at risk, since many wrongly think that pain is just a 'normal' part of aging. The most severe cases can even drive people to suicide! Medicine should focus on quality of life, not just curing disease. Do the right thing, and ease restrictions on powerful painkillers now!"

3. While you're still supine, a strange pale-skinned man shines the dentist's lamp directly into your eyes and begins loading a large metal syringe from an unmarked vial. "I have your solution right here, dear leader. Why not add these powerful painkillers to the water supply, under the banner of a new healthcare initiative aimed at relieving stress and improving quality of life? Then you can use mass addiction to control the population! A particular district doesn't like your new absolutist platform? Just reduce their 'pain relief' until they do! Imagine the whole populace desperately begging you for another hit!"

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#598: A Violet Trojan Horse [Crazy Girl; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Rumors tell that the Order of Violet has infiltrated schools in @@NAME@@ to brainwash the youngest generations. Fears of Violetist takeover have prompted all other faiths to unite for the first time ever.

The Debate
1. "Preposterous!" dismisses @@RANDOMNAME@@, the head of the @@CAPITAL@@ District School Board, while hiding an Order of Violet signet ring. "Our schools are performing well, and the children are merely learning to understand different points of view. The only hatred I see is from the hypocrites and paranoid kooks who have no problems forcing their values on our innocent children."

2. "Terrorists! Terrorists everywhere!" shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, a controversial and xenophobic politician, who inevitably tries to win every debate by claiming all opposing views equate to supporting terrorism. "Screen all teachers, headmasters, and aides for possible Violetist ties. Force the schools to adopt an unapologetic pro-@@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ curriculum. We all know these Violetists hate everything @@NAME@@ stands for! Anyone who disagrees is a terrorist-sympathizing, Violetist-loving, traitor!"

3. "That doesn't go far enough," claims the leader of The Tranquility of Yellow, an ancient religion that has a just as ancient feud with Violetism. "These heretics have been a danger ever since the Grand Schism, and they must be dealt with accordingly. I suggest we start up an inquisition. My people will find these Violetists, and see if they can be converted to our true religion or renounce their faith. Whichever one the government prefers. We're not picky. If not... the stake. BURN THEM ALL! Or hang them. Just get rid of those creepy Violetists, okay?"

4. "What are we? Barbarians?" queries popular agnostic speaker @@RANDOMNAME@@, whose personal motto is 'Question Everything'. "I don't see anything wrong with teaching Violetism. Not every Violetist is some crazed wacko, you know. However, schools should teach all different faiths, including non-belief, in a neutral and understanding way in the interest of fairness. If we want to eliminate hatred, the schools are a good place to start."

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#599: Dead In The Water [Aculea; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Massive fertilizer-fueled algae blooms in the South @@ANIMAL@@ Sea are quickly depleting aquatic oxygen levels and suffocating marine life. Vaguely aware of this fact, you are on a poorly-planned fishing trip in the South @@ANIMAL@@ Sea arranged by the Ministry of Agriculture. The fishing expedition is intended to impress foreign dignitaries, but you can't help but notice that there are more strategic locales for a PR stunt, areas that aren't a sickly brown color. All the same, you cast a line into the water, and a few seconds later the fishing rod bends and flexes wildly.

The Debate
*1. "That must be a big piece of garbage. There's no way you'll catch any fish in that dead water." concludes @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, an unabashed nihilist and CEO of DrillBabyDrill. She jabs a finger at the open sea, adding, "This proves that it's high time to give up on environmental regulation altogether. If you want to squeeze some more production from this pool of filth, abolish those obsolete pollution laws hindering my offshore oil rigs. There's nothing left to protect, after all." [Must have private industry]

*2. “That must be a big piece of garbage. There’s no way you’ll catch any fish in that dead water.” concludes @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, State Director of National Oil. She jabs a finger at the open sea, adding, “This proves that it’s high time to give up on environmental regulation altogether. If you want to squeeze some more production from this pool of filth, abolish those obsolete pollution laws hindering my offshore oil rigs. There’s nothing left to protect, after all.” [Must not have private industry]

3. A hard pull on the line drags the rod out of your hands. @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, a retired senior captain from Something Fishy, makes a diving catch for it and wrestles with whatever is on the other end. He exclaims, "If that's a fish, we must find out how it miraculously lives in lifeless water!" He continues to struggle with the fishing rod. "But if it's only trash out there, then the only way to save the fishing industry - and the environment - is to strictly limit the fertilizers causing this dead zone in the first place."

4. With a wrench and some salty language, the captain lands the 'fish,' a woman in a scuba suit. Floundering on deck, she fumes, "Aggh! I can't see anything down there, with all that gunk from the estuary! Rumor has it there's shipwrecks down there, but I've never seen one. Look, the problem here is chemical fertilizer run off from farms, so why not fix the problem back at the farms with better chemicals? Oblige the farmers to add chlorine bleach to the water supply in proportion to the fertilizers they use, and your rivers and seas will boast crystal clear water!"
Last edited by Jutsa on Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:48 pm, edited 26 times in total.

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Jutsa
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Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#600: Making A House A Home [The Grim Reaper; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After the street outside your personal residence proved incapable of handling a diplomatic motorcade and @@NAME@@'s biggest house party at the same time, your Foreign Minister has suggested that the state procure and maintain an official residence for you to live in.

The Debate
1. "It is absolutely essential that you have a home away from home," insists your Foreign Minister, pointing excitedly at an interior design magazine from before you were born. "Imagine if the ambassador had been run over by that party bus! An official residence would keep you and your honoured guests safe from the hooligans, the thugs, and the public. In fact, we can turn the residence into a Museum of @@NAME@@'s History, with a veritable cornucopia of cultural artifacts on display. It would be a perfect reconstruction of our glory days and as an added bonus, the police can keep the kids off your lawn."

*[2]. "You're not just a memory - you're our future," chimes in t-shirt aficionado and social media CEO @@RANDOMNAME@@. "@@NAME@@ doesn't need to be reminded of its past! This won't just be a home - this will be a technological revolution! It'll house its own webservers, a television-quality livestreaming studio, and a digital personality, all powered by ethically sourced solar panels. The youth and the technophiles will adore you, from a safe distance." [Must have private industry AND [Must have internet]

*[3]. "You're not just a memory - you're our future," chimes in t-shirt aficionado and head of State Social Media @@RANDOMNAME@@. "@@NAME@@ doesn't need to be reminded of its past! This won't just be a home - this will be a technological revolution! It'll house its own webservers, a television-quality livestreaming studio, and a digital personality, all powered by ethically sourced solar panels. The youth and the technophiles will adore you, from a safe distance." [Must not have private industry AND [Must have internet]

4. "Oh, please. I'm all for keeping government out of the bedroom, and that counts doubly for yours," snarls libertarian and small-government proponent, @@RANDOMNAME@@, who gets worked up if the government so much as fixes a pothole. "You can drive, or take a cab, or hire a personal bus at your own cost. A house shouldn't be any different. Since when should the taxpayers be asked to foot the bill when half of us don't even like you? If you want to be taken seriously, go and rent an apartment in @@CAPITAL@@ with a couple of roommates. Leave us taxpayers out of it, okay?"

5. "I'm with the anarchist, I want no part in building your ivory tower!" declares decentralization activist, @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, founder of several, competing local governance associations. "What you need is to really get out there and see all that @@NAME@@ has to offer. You need an official, open, and accessible residence. Why not get yourself a mobile home and tour it around the country, town by town, like a rock star? You aren't too good to talk to us commoners, you know - if anything, it's the other way around!" He spits on your desk and turns his back on you.

6. "Don't listen to that traitorous anarchist!" pipes up your lazy, entitled niece who just woke up from a nap on your couch. "Of course you need a personal residence, for you and your family! Imagine a grand castle, complete with servants, a hedge maze, and massive golden statues of yourself! Your home would be the envy of leaders across @@REGION@@, and anybody who complains can be thrown in the dungeons for our amusement. Just bulldoze a forest somewhere and start construction NOW!"

[7]. "Come on, the ambassadors love my mojitos!" drawls your neighbour, and now-legendary party host, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "What if, like, your current digs were just a bit more open? You wouldn't need an official residence. We'd just use your place! My home is your home, and I'm sure all the fun people of @@NAME@@ would love to party with those foreign dignitaries of yours. Besides, I'm sure a few drunken ambassadors would spill out our enemies' secrets, am I right?" [Alcohol is legal]

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#601: Lawyers On Trial [Tzarsgrad; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Notorious gangster Johnny 'Stab-Stab' @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@ was recently found 'not guilty' on multiple charges leveled against him, despite a broad expectation from citizens and the media that he would be convicted. Experts are saying that the surprising result was the consequence of Johnny hiring the very best private defence lawyers, while the prosecution was led by an inexperienced and overworked public prosecutor who was so tired he could barely keep his eyes open through the case.

The Debate
1. "Zzzzzz... Huh? What? Wasafargit blarg?" garbles public prosecutor Ivan Anap, as you nudge him into wakefulness. "Uh... Look, I've done a bad job, clearly. But have you seen my case load? I gotta represent the downtrodden masses and the... wossname... penniless crowds. The system deserves more money, so we can get better public servants, and so I can get some... some... slee..." He collapses, face-first onto the floor.

2. "Don't mind Rip Van Winkle here," growls 'Filthy' Harold Callahan, a cop with little love for lawyers, kicking the sleeping attorney in the gut. "All these 'public servants' are doing is clogging up the system, and keeping justice from being served. I say scrap the system entirely and keep honest taxpayers from paying for the bureaucracy of criminality. Let people hire their fancy-schmancy punk lawyers if they want to, but don't make ME pay for those bottom-feeding scum. Let's have less talk and more justice."

3. "That's ridiculous, obviously," says government minister Justitia Caecus, as she searches for a pair of dropped contact lenses. "Public defenders and prosecutors are obviously something we can't afford to lose. But why not go further? Why not have every individual be assigned state representation only, regardless of financial standing? That would go a long way toward promoting true justice within our nation. Sure, the lawyers might complain that you'll be making them public servants on a public service wage, but don't we care about fairness and justice?"

4. "But still, it won't be truly fair, will it?" muses futurist Diana Moon. "Even randomly allocated lawyers will vary in ability. I've been reading about something called Vonnegut-handicapping: using external devices to create equality of ability. Allow both private and state-funded lawyers, but fit them with a shock collar that gives them distracting electrical shocks throughout a court case. The greater their recorded success rate, the more often they will receive shocks. That way, everyone will eventually receive the same level of expertise in their legal counsel. Flawless logic, correct?"

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#602: Hobby Lobby [Drasnia; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A recent poll has suggested that many ordinary people don't consider national leader @@LEADER@@ to be very 'relatable'. Your advisers are perplexed as to the reasons why, and have suggested that taking up a hobby might boost your ratings, as well as tell the people what sort of person you are.

The Debate
[1]. "Everybody in @@REGION@@ loves basketball," exaggerates famed athlete @@RANDOMNAME@@, dribbling on your carpet. "Catch! Pass it here! Look at that: Nothing but net." [Sports are legal]

2. Dance instructor @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ waltzes into your office. He takes your hand and begins a foxtrot. "Isn’t this invigorating? Come, let me teach you to pirouette around delicate situations you may encounter."

3. "Crikey!" nature documentarian @@RANDOMNAME@@ exclaims, creeping into your office. "What we've got 'ere is a politician in its natural 'abitat. If only it would get outside and let its wild side out, it wouldn't have near so many national crises to deal with."

[4]. Your niece suddenly squeals. "Look at this adorable puppy! I need to share it with my friends! Do you have a Farcebook account? It would really help connect with people and let me send you this GIF." [Must have internet]

5. Your nephew appears and rolls a set of dice on your desk. "According to my manual of Castles & Kobolds, I just rolled a 20 on my Charisma-check for you to game with me. Come on, we need a healer: got a fizzy Eckie-Cola here with your name on it."

6. Flat-cap wearing Heritage Locomotive Enthusiast @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ snorts in laughter at the geekiness on display. "You'll be wantin' a proper hobby: model engines, to show yer love of craftsmanship, and of steel, steam and smoke."

7 . "Just tell them your hobbies are reading, and walking, and socialising," suggests CV-writer @@RANDOMNAME@@. "That way nobody can judge you or form conclusions about you."

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#603: Not My Idea [Faehig; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
In the throes of an exceptionally lethargic news cycle, the media is turning its attention on the unusual absence of copyright law in @@NAME@@. At the centre of this debate is the author of an obscure book series, who is demanding artistic justice after an online fan fiction based on his work eclipsed its inspiration in popularity.

The Debate
1. "This is just... uurrggghh!" slurs @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, author of The Demon-Wizards of D'haw'e'na'wor, holding an empty bottle of scotch. "I work, nnhh, slave my whole life, put my soul into this... Only to be overshadowed by some, some half-brained teenager who... who... stole my ideas! We need copyright laws back to protect... uh... the dignity of authors!" Finishing his rant, he vomits into a nearby bucket.

2. "I don't see what the big problem is, tbh," remarks TwiliteSlaya123 in an author's note in the latest chapter of Fifty Shades of The Demon-Wizards. "It's just like, I wrote this, kay? Lay off plz! Imo, the government should be supporting us artists! Like by giving me money for being awesome. Next story haz Gay Gandledore setting a dozen Angel-Dragon-Goblins ablaze. 4 teh lulz."

*3. "There is a solution to this issue that is absolutely fair, though its a teensy bit complicated," says @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a former copyright lawyer begging for change on the street corner. "You can let people write freely, but at the same time allow for civil court claims for portions of profit, based on the contribution to the creative process the original ideas-makers have. So, if you've got a Demon-Wizard in there, then the author can claim a few percent; if you've got an orc in there, then the George JK Token estate can have a chunk; if you've got a style reminiscent of another author a few percentage to them; and so on. Sure, that'll require a lot of court time and complex legal arguments, but... but... I NEED A JOB! I'm begging you, please!" As the closing statement of her argument, she collapses sobbing, hugging your leg. [Must have private industry]

*4. “There is a solution to this issue that is absolutely fair, and free of complications,” says Otohime Leach, a former frustrated author turned Communist Party bureaucrat. “You can let people write freely, but make it clear that the idea of ownership of creative works is capitalist decadence, and that the state holds all copyrights and indeed, all written works of any sort. That way, we get to be the arbiters of what may and may not be published.” [Must not have private industry]

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#604: Food Behind Bars [Barunia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After renowned food critic and criminal mastermind Hannibal Terwilliger published a book entitled Food Behind Bars: A Gourmet's Journey through @@NAME@@'s Prisons, a debate has sprung up over the quality of food served to prisoners.

The Debate
1. "This is ridiculous!" fumes single mother of three @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, whose ex-husband is currently behind bars. "Here's me struggling just to give my kids the basics, and he's sitting in a nice warm cell with nothing to do all day but eat like a king! I say we stop this extravagance and redirect the funding into something more appropriate, like welfare for single parents. Prisoners should only be fed what they need to survive."

2. "Oh come now, there's no need to treat us like animals for the sake of a few misdemeanours," says Mr. Terwilliger via a satellite link from an undisclosed minimum security prison. "We prisoners have rights too, you know. Oh what a cruel world we would live in, if a man can't chow down on cordon bleu just because he's behind bars. Now warden, can I have some fava beans and a nice chianti delivered to my cell? I'm starving."

3. "Of course you have to feed prisoners, but what kind of food?" muses oblivious naturalist @@RANDOMNAME@@ while watering your plastic office plants. "It's all these preservatives and cheap imported foods that have made these people violent in the first place! Why not establish prison farms and have inmates eat what they grow? Sure, it would tie up lots of fertile land, and there's always the risk of an escape, but the benefits to society are worth it."

*4. "If you've got many mouths to feed, and not enough food, then the solution is simple," says Internment Facilitator Earl Herrelko, from the Chief Directorate of Camps. "Just reduce the number of mouths! Have your prison facilities in regions with sub-zero temperatures, leave the heating off, and by winter's end the problems will have self-resolved." [Must not have private enterprise]

*5. "Well, look here, you've got all these mouths to feed, and you don't want the expense?" queries @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Fried @@ANIMAL@@, one of @@NAME@@'s most popular fast food chains. "Looks like this here's something the private sector can help you with, and by private sector I mean my company! Just grant us the exclusive right to provide catering in all of @@NAME@@'s prisons, and we'll keep all those prisoners stuffed for a fraction of the cost! The government saves, the prisoners eat, and I cut out the compet-, er, provide a vital service to the community. It's a win-win!" [Must have private enterprise AND Must not be vegetarian]

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#605: The Noblest Of Intentions [The Grim Reaper; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
Outraged serfs are striking in the streets today, after the newly appointed Duke of @@CAPITAL@@ flippantly subinfeudated the capital's West End to a wealthy foreign investor, bestowing upon him peons, mesne lordship rights and a lesser noble title.

The Debate
1. "Bringing back the oppression of serfdom was bad enough, but now you're giving away our homes, us, even, to a foreigner?" shouts a mud-stained @@RANDOMNAME@@, proud WestEnder and this week's executive officer of a local anarcho-syndicalist commune. "The only thing that outlander ever did for @@NAME@@ was invest in that so-called Duke's business! There's nothing noble about perpetuating the economic and social differences in our society. Down with feudalism! Give us back @@NAME@@ the way we like it. Boo!!!"

2. "Frankly, you should be thanking me for helping @@NAME@@ recruit business leaders from all over the world," drawls the Duke of @@CAPITAL@@, laughing maniacally as he thumbs through one of his many passports. "Remember why we did this in the first place: to ensure an obedient and productive workforce that will help us win a place as a powerhouse in the international economy. Let us quell the commoners and teach them their proper place! Anyway, my old Maxtopian mate from boarding school is looking to get into cotton - are you terribly attached to @@ANIMAL@@ Park?"

3. "We need to return to the good old days, when a noble title was recognition of good blood," contends @@RANDOMNAME@@, draped in the flag and failing miserably to rip a foreign banknote in half. "Our nobility shouldn't bring dirty foreigners into the centre of our economy; the only people allowed to own businesses and serfs should be @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ through and through - people like you and me."

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#606: In The Black [Gharoukannia; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Determined to make their point strongly, an intimidating gang of Customs Police Officers and Revenue officials have arrived at your front door with sacks full of junk: home-copied DVDs, knock-off imitation designer clothes and dodgy electronics gear. All these are illegally traded goods, seized today within a mile's distance of your own home. The black market is out of control, they say, circumventing both industrial standards and retail taxation.

The Debate
1. "We must break illegal trade with the direct application of brute force!" roars Revenue Officer @@RANDOMNAME@@, incandescent with rage. "Send in the police force! Send in SWAT teams! Destroy these outlaws and punish their customers! Undeclared trade is tax evasion, and tax evasion is rebellion. Crush the rebels!"

2. A cockney fellow in a long trench coat sidles up to you and whips it open in front of you. To your relief, the only thing he is exposing is a selection of fake watches hanging from the inner lining. "Cor blimey, guv'nor, the black market is just us geezers exercising a bit of cheeky chappy freedom! Duzzit do yer harm? No it don't! Duzzit make people chipper? Yes it does! Just have the old rozzers leave us in peace, and turn a blind eye or two to stuff falling off a lorry, and we'll all be laffin' our way to the bank. Now, would you like two Rowlex timepieces for the price of one?"

3. “He has a point... The black market’s size is indicative of a free economy’s response to government over-regulation,” observes @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, a far-more respectable looking businessman, presenting you with some colourful line-graphs to support his argument. “Relax those regulations, and economies of scale will allow legitimate private industry to triumph, and the proportion of economic activity dominated by the black market will likely fall. The black market is just a symptom. Wage laws, bureaucratic red tape, excessive industrial standards: they’re the real sickness.”

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#607: If Your Election Lasts Longer Than Four Weeks... [Nation of Quebec; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
The next election is drawing near, and over drinks you flippantly mentioned to a few Party loyalists the idea of extending the political season to a whopping sixty-nine days. Upon hearing the plan, your campaign manager immediately passed out from an overwhelming panic attack, fearing the agony of such a long campaign.

The Debate
1. "I'm not sure what you hope to gain with this," gasps @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, your trusted campaign manager, while holding a cold flannel to his forehead. "The Party's funds can only be stretched so thin, and it's only a matter of time before one of our candidates does something outrageously stupid that sabotages our reputation. What we need to do is make sure the election dates are fixed, with a fixed length and fixed results... I mean, fixed rules on campaign spending! Once the people see how open and transparent we are, we'll all be re-elected in a landslide."

2. "The longer, the better!" enthuses @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of your top donors, who is rumored to have made a killing off the Wezeltonian War. "Prolonged election campaigns will bleed the Opposition dry of their campaign funds, while giving us more time to ask for donations and publicize the competition's scandals. I'm sure some voters will get sick of the incessant ads, but their irritation is my golden opportunity!"

3. "No! No! I can't take another election circus!" panics @@RANDOMNAME@@, a refugee from the United Federation. "Where I come from, election season lasts a painful twenty-four months, and the endless mudslinging during debates and advertisements between TV shows are slowly driving everyone insane. Insane I tell you! Please, for the sake of common decency, ban all political campaigns. We're better off not being constantly bothered by political hacks, anyways."

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#608: Thrown Into Sharp Relief [Dman4835; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A 3-year-old girl, named @@RANDOMFEMALEFIRSTNAME@@, recently died from a nasty chest infection. The case was notable, as doctors are claiming that a simple course of penicillin could easily have saved her life, and are laying blame for the death upon the advice of a ‘spirit-energy healer’ who advised the girl’s parents to treat their child with acupuncture.

The Debate
1. “Allowing these fraudsters to kill children with their pseudo-medical claptrap should be criminal!” shouts Dr. @@RANDOMNAME@@, a famed debunker of alternative medicine, as @@HE@@ slaps a hot mug of soothing echinacea tea out of your hands. “The same standards of evidence-based practice and criminal responsibility that doctors face should be forced on these conmen. Also, any parents who deny their children proper medical treatment should be held accountable for criminal neglect.”

2. “What happened to that child was a tragedy,” concedes animistic healer @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ as she hangs amethyst pendants around the room to absorb the negative energies being generated, “but my prescribed treatments would have saved his life, if only they hadn’t been disrupted by the scepticism and disbelief from his biomedical doctors. I can show you the logical arguments that underpin my science, but ultimately, shouldn’t everyone have the freedom to choose their own health care provider?”

3. “Look, I love freedom as much as the next passer-by who needs to crash at your place,” comments @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@, a random hobo rousing from a nap on your couch to voice an opinion, “but to me it sounds like this is about the state’s responsibility for the safety of children. Why not just force parents to take their kids to an actual doctor, but let the adults do whatever they want with their own bodies? Also, are you going to finish that sandwich?”

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#609: @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@, Drugs, And Rock'n'Roll [Minglewood; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A group of surprisingly hip and mellow businessmen have meandered over to your office, with paperwork to propose @@ANIMAL@@fest, a celebration of music, dance and good times that will incidentally make them a truckload of money. They see your nation not only as the new stomping grounds for this annual music festival, but also as a place that could be seen as being friendly to festival culture in general, welcoming the dread-locked (and sometimes nude) bear-dancing nomads, with their mind-altering substances, groovy music and economy-stimulating disposable incomes.

The Debate
1. “This festeroo is gonna be groovy, man!” croons @@RANDOMNAME@@, famous lead guitarist of Grateful Floyd. “I can’t wait to transcend the minds of all that watch me, man! My guitar just may steal your face right off your head, stick it on a rock-rocket and then set the controls for the heart of the sun! Ya know, man?! Leader, you can even jam with us if you give us the space for this festival!”

2. “I don’t know about this!” worries @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, an angry old man. “These darn hippies want to be flooding my town with their drug paraphernalia, their smelly bodies, their electronical guitars and their ‘popping’ music! Keep these drug-fuelled, fried-egg-brained layabouts out of our great nation! Say no to drugs! Say no to subversive drug music! Say no to young people!”

3. “How about we have the festival, but supply enough police presence to keep the drugs out?” asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, a former weed-smoking spiritualist turned substance-abuse counsellor. “We can have our police force monitor the festival, and maybe also have an anti-drug awareness campaign working the festival, and some consultation work to minimise local disruption and environmental impact. We can have a good time and keep the drugs away... It’s all about the music, isn’t it?”

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#610: Only @@LEADER@@ Could Go To Dàguó [Drasnia; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
The Holy Emperor of the militaristic and isolationist nation Dàguó has invited you to his palace for a state dinner in an attempt to warm decades of frosty relations.

The Debate
1. “IT’S A TRAP!” shouts Admiral @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ de Calamari, a military attaché who seems borderline paranoid. “Isn’t it obvious? They’re only inviting you over there so they can KILL you! They’ll either poison you or stab you in your sleep. Trust me, you can’t trust these Dàguó animals. They will kill you the moment you let your guard down.”

2. “I agree that we shouldn’t go over there,” replies @@RANDOMNAME@@, your personal chef, who is always dying to experiment with new cuisine. “However, that doesn’t mean we should ourselves embark on a policy of isolationism. Why not invite this Emperor of theirs over here and treat him to a state dinner? There’s much to discuss like their Tasmanian trade sanctions or the steady stream of refugees from the Maxtopian Civil War.”

3. “Dàguó’s leaders have historically denounced our great nation for covert operations that, err, officially, we still deny,” mentions Professor @@RANDOMNAME@@ between introductory college lectures. “Meeting with Dàguó’s Holy Emperor would be a perfect way to begin to mend relations. Accept the invitation, respect their customs regardless of how strange they might seem, and act like a real national leader for once! Go out there and start advocating for world peace, and history will thank you.”

[4]. After repeatedly hitting on your secretary, a somewhat suave secret agent introduces himself as, “Bont ... James Bont. Go over to Dàguó on the pretext of a diplomatic mission. Meanwhile, I will pose as a Marche Noirian master chef so I can poison the Emperor’s meal. Once he drops dead, his security is going to suspect foul play, but I’ll be there to extract you back to @@CAPITAL@@ via rocketcar. There’s a chance my scheme will end up causing a war, but if worst comes to worst, I’ve still got my jetpack and exploding attaché case.” [???]

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#611: Blundering Battle Bureaucrats [Free Syllvin; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After stepping off the path in @@CAPITAL@@ Park to take a picture of an @@ANIMAL@@, a Bigtopian tourist was subject to @@NAME@@ Defense Regulations Volume 4, Bylaw 8-A, Chapter 23, Section G-17-5, Paragraph 4b and was subsequently obliterated by a full battalion of @@NAME@@’s finest.

The Debate
1. “That’s just how our glorious nation operates!” says @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, the Sub-Minister of Internal Affairs of the Defense of the Internal Affairs of the National Sub-Committee of Sovereign Urban Parks. “We didn’t get where we are today by letting those dirty, out-of-line foreigners trample our carefully manicured petunia bushes!” She tries to wave a copy of the @@NAME@@ Defense Regulations Volume 4 at you for emphasis, the sheer bulk of the tome forces her to resort to instead slamming the book onto your desk. The legs creak under the weight. “We need more safeguards against external aggression: no entry signs in multiple languages, tracking anklets issued at the border, oodles of barbed wire, and high-yield minefields! Summer tourists and all other miscreants like them are a threat to society, and if we need to have a show of force to keep them in line, by the @@TYPE@@ we should do so!”

2. You can hear yelling and a rising deep rumbling crescendo of noise, then a main battle tank bursts through the doors... and part of the wall. The top hatch opens, and Colonel @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ (the officer in charge of the “apprehension” of the unfortunate tourist) pops out. “Now you listen to me, @@LEADER@@, the last thing we need is more handsy-pansy suits getting in the way of our work! We should have no more requests to obliterate, signed in triplicate, sent in between 0800 and 1500 hours, sent back, queried, lost, found, subject to public inquiry, lost again, and finally discovered in the basement of @@CAPITAL@@ Library underneath a treatise about gummy worms!” The Colonel pulls a handgun the size of a small dog from his waistband and drops in onto the regulation almanac. The legs of your desk groan. “Give the military control over how to dispose of all these pesky law-breakers. We’ve been dying to test out these new @@NAME@@-made Super Obliterator 3000s, anyway!”

3. Your butler pours you a cup of tea, having materialized from the mysterious dimension butlers go to when they don’t want to be noticed. “It appears to me, @@LEADER@@, that the problem lies within @@NAME@@ rather than without it. You can hardly blame people who visit our glorious cities for being in awe and thus forgetting their place and indeed, what place they are in.” He places the delicate teacup on top of the obscenely large gun and size-of-a-child rulebook. “Having too many government committees, unnecessary departments, and too many soldiers can only lead to more debacles like this. Cut the administrative overgrowth, downsize the defense forces, and possibly funnel that money into something more productive, like education, or butler salaries.” His thin mustache quivers expectantly.

4. The family of the dead tourist manages to climb over the armored vehicle in your doorway and into your office. The deceased’s mother, who is especially distraught, approaches you with tears in her eyes. “Why does no one ever think of the people affected by all this! We’re here to sight-see, not to get our family killed by your thugs! How does stepping off a park path even warrant deployment of a surface-to-air missile truck or a ninja team? We can’t keep on going not knowing when the next of us will step out of line and be run over by a tank! We demand an apology, a change to the law and reparations!” The distraught woman gently places a photo of her dead son on your desk, which promptly collapses.

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#612: A Petty Issue [Sammuramat; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Your cousin’s adored pet @@ANIMAL@@ has died.

The Debate
1. “It would mean the world to me to have my loss properly recognised,” sobs your cousin, dabbing tears away with a gold-embroidered handkerchief. “My poor little baby deserves a state funeral. Imagine... people crying in the streets, a band playing funeral dirges on golden tubas, and my dearest little @@RANDOMFEMALEFIRSTNAME@@ McFluff immortalised in a memorial forever... you’d do it for your own pets, wouldn’t you?”

[2]. “Y’know how many people this could feed?” asks roadkill-chef @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, sniffing at the carcass, and licking her lips. “And y’know how many people you’re takin’ cash away from with a big state funeral? Burying @@AN@@ @@ANIMAL@@ is a waste of good meat, and a waste of money. Y’should buy up all the dead pets, butcher them for meat, and donate the food to the poor and homeless.” [Must not be vegetarian]

3. “No need to bury the wee beastie!” yells eccentric special effects expert @@RANDOMNAME@@. “I’ve been playing around a lot with taxidermy and animatronics, and I reckon if we fix up damage to the bodywork, apply some preservatives to stop the rot, install some motors and simple AI subroutines, and the little critter will be good as new! Also, why stop with pets? You miss your grandma, right? Let my company work its magic, and look who’s back!”

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#613: A Nude Day, A Nude Awakening... [Nation of Quebec; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Internet news sites and online communities are abuzz over supposed leaked nude images of you that surfaced online this morning. Amateur photo-manipulation experts have concluded that the images are fakes, but the files have already spread across the internet like wildfire. As the victim of this internet trolling campaign, it may be time for you to address the problem of faked images of this sort.

The Debate
1. “Here we have thieves and perverts, stealing your likeness and creating obscenity,” declares @@RANDOMNAME@@, a country singer of dubious talent who claims there have been more downloads of fake nudes of @@HIM@@ than downloads of @@HIM@@ music. “Every time I go online I see these filthy pictures. It’s humiliating, degrading, and feels like a violation of my privacy and a kind of sexual assault. I guess now you know how it feels too! I know this is hard to police, but you could at least make photo-manipulation without the consent of the subject illegal, with fines for those who break this law or who distribute these images.”

2. “@@RANDOMNAME@@ agrees, but @@NAMEfromOption2@@ thinks that we should go further,” agrees the notorious @@NAMEfromOption2@@, a staunch censorship advocate who once tried to remove all references to @@HIS@@ name on the internet. “If it were up to @@NAMEfromOption2@@, any unauthorized image, name usage, or even a likeness of a person without their permission should automatically be taken down whether it’s on the internet, the news, or any random video.”

3. “Either everything is okay, or nothing is,” refutes satirist and online columnist @@RANDOMNAME@@, whilst using a clever piece of software to make a mildly angry photo of you on a bad hair day look like you are a positively psychotic murderer on the verge of going on a killing spree. “Are you going to censor the Moaning Lisa because she was painted without her knowledge? Are you going to ban a schoolboy from drawing a moustache on a newspaper photo of your face? You have no right to censor art, and photo-manipulation is art. Quite frankly, celebrities and politicians should give up their expectations of privacy. If you don’t want people drawing you nude, you shouldn’t have chosen a career that makes you famous.”

4. “Face it, you can’t stop people putting things on the internet,” suggests your tech-savvy nephew, who moonlights as notorious internet troll politichunt42. “But you can affect an image’s notability, by changing its context. Say we fake a few hundred nudes of a dozen other world leaders, and maybe some politicians and public figures you don’t like: we could make it so that your faked nudes are old news, and have everyone laughing at your rivals and opponents instead. Wouldn’t it be fun to watch them like flail around like a @@ANIMAL@@ with its head chopped off? Is it immoral? Sure, if somebody hadn’t obviously already done this to you. Can you say ‘hackers-sponsored-by-Blackacre’?”

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#614: How Much Is That Vote In The Window? [Burned Lands; ed:Nation of Quebec & Logophilia Lyricalia]

The Issue
After recent elections in @@NAME@@, journalists calculated that over eighty percent of the money donated to candidates came from less than a dozen notable corporations. After years of protests about the corruption in the election system, several major voices have finally managed to sneak or bribe their way to your desk.

The Debate
1. “How could we let this happen?” moans @@RANDOMNAME@@, spokesperson for Citizens United for Responsible, Sane Elections. “Well, it’s pretty easy,” @@HE@@ says as @@HE@@ shows you a complicated diagram linking various politicians to numerous corporations. “For years our nation’s elections have been subverted by dark @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ from unaccountable private donors! You can see the chains of corruption laid out right here - go on, look at the flow chart!” Indeed, there are some prominent politicians’ names on the chart, but you don’t have time to make much of it before @@HE@@ continues. “It’s long past time to put real limits on how much can be donated in an election! ARGH,” @@HE@@ faints after being hit with a tranquilizer dart.

2. As your staffers drag the unconscious body of the activist away, two activist CEOs known as the Kone Sisters make their case. “Please don’t listen to this wacko,” pleads @@RANDOMFEMALEFIRSTNAME@@ @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, who donated over a million @@CURRENCY@@ to the mayor of @@CAPITAL@@’s campaign last year. “We need to be able to give freely if we want to truly represent our wealth - I mean, the people’s voice! If anything, we should be thanking the donors for picking the right candidate.” @@RANDOMFEMALEFIRSTNAME@@ @@LASTNAMEfromOption2@@, who donated to the mayor’s rival last year, interjects. “Maybe we could dip into the government’s coffers to refund their donations to the winning campaign. Think of it as a boon to competition – raising the stakes like that will lead to better business models and better candidates!”

3. Out of nowhere @@RANDOMNAME@@, Professor of Economics and Philosophy at the University of @@CAPITAL@@-Oldtown, falls through your ceiling, then still somehow manages to strut calmly to your desk. “Hold up a minute, @@LEADER@@. Neither of these lunatics knows what they’re talking about. Allowing such huge campaign donations is incredibly wasteful; the whole economy would be better off without that drain. Yet we can’t deny that indeed, corporations are people, my friend. So how is it we still haven’t given them the right to vote? Economic justice means instead of ‘one person, one vote,’ we say ‘one @@CURRENCY@@, one vote!’ We’ll just give natural persons AND corporations one vote for each @@CURRENCY@@ they earn every year. If you truly want to hear the voice of the people, not to mention cut way down on tax evasion, then let their wallets speak for them!”

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#615: Tempted By The Fruit Of Another [A Humanist Science; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A Fruit Juicing Plant owned by farming conglomerate @@ANIMAL@@ Farms proved unprofitable and was closed down when everything went pear-shaped, with local employees laid off in their hundreds. A few weeks later, its former workers broke through the padlocked gates and brought the machines inside back to life, starting a collectivist @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Manufacturing Workers' Co-operative which soon turned a modest profit. Now the buildings' owners want their factory back. The workers' co-op has met the police in the streets, and things are about to go bananas.

The Debate
1. "This factory is mine! I have the deed right here!" yells @@ANIMAL@@ Farms majority shareholder @@RANDOMNAME@@ from the safety of a sea of well-armored riot police. "How do you like them apples? Really, it's precisely this sort of commie nonsense that is responsible for the economic downturn in @@NAME@@ to begin with! Everyone knows these lazy peasants don't have the plums to build a real enterprise. But, now that MY factory is turning a profit again, I'm happy to buy their labor! You know, at a small discount."

2. "Oh, so you have some quaint little deed? Who gives a fig?" asks @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, an award-winning documentary maker, while simultaneously signing copies of her new book The Shock Logo. "Why does the law protect the rights of failed business owners while leaving the workers out in the cold? Haven't these workers also invested their very lives into this factory? Life gave them lemons, and they made lemonade! Don't sacrifice their families and their lives to that bunch of sour grapes... Change the law to allow workers to take direct and democratic control of abandoned factories!"

3. "Look, this 'self-management' thing sounds all peachy keen, but it just plays into the same tired capitalist narrative," says red turtleneck-clad political theorist @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, while wrinkling his nose at a tattoo-laden protester. "Characterizing the suffering of the working class as merely an 'investment' plays directly into the hands of the bourgeoisie. And what do a bunch of pea-brained individuals know about proper management anyway? Can one factory provide jobs for all? Clearly, the state should seize factories for the good of all @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@!"

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#616: You Are Feeling Very Very Sleepy And Not At All Gay [Golgothastan; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
A controversial new health center has opened in @@CAPITAL@@, offering what it terms “spiritual counseling for young people confused about sex and gender”. Critics charge that its practices amount to conversion therapy: trying to “cure” homosexuality by pressuring vulnerable teenagers.

The Debate
1. “Homosexuality is not something that needs to be ‘cured’ nor is it a choice!” fumes gay rights activist @@RANDOMNAME@@ while burning a feather boa in protest. “We have fought so hard to be recognized as people with the same rights as everyone else, and now we have these quacks taking advantage of vulnerable young people with their religiously-inspired bigotry! Conversion therapy needs to be banned in @@NAME@@ and our rights protected!”

2. “No one is taking advantage of anyone,” counters therapist @@RANDOMNAME@@, a self-declared gay conversion success story, giving it to you straight. “We simply offer a service to families requesting our intervention. Everything is completely voluntary and above board. Don’t ban legitimate medical procedures just because you can’t accept that sexual orientation is a choice! Some of these young people come to us in such a state of misery and confusion, and we offer them solace and comfort. We’re doing the Almighty’s work, after all.”

3. “Compromise, compromise, compromise!” chants your Minister of Compromises and Trust Falls while organizing the next retreat for your cabinet. “If someone agrees to undergo so-called conversion therapy, then it’s no business of the state to interfere in that. However, it should only be available to consenting adults. We also shouldn’t allow parents to force their children to undergo these often humiliating therapies. So let’s keep the centers operating, but only for adults who want the services.”

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#617: Who's This Little Rascal? [The Aran Empire; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
On an expedition to one of the many lush forests in a distant colony, explorers have discovered a previously unknown furry four-legged marsupial. Apparently unsure of which other authority figure to turn to, they have brought the issue of naming the species to your attention.

The Debate
1. “We found this extraordinary specimen in a dense forest deep in the interior of Oogaboogaland,” begins to explain the head of the expedition, @@RANDOMNAME@@, proudly proffering the stuffed beastie in a display case. “It is new to us, but maybe the locals have seen it before and have a name for it. I say we just grab the first tribal native fella we come across, point to the thing, and see what name he gives it.”

2. A rather dashing fellow with a swagger stick and a pith helmet approaches your desk, followed by a train of manservants bent double under his luggage. “Well, as our great nation is in control of their savage land, and the fact that it was we who were the first to find and officially document the varmint, I say we name it something that would be more appealing to the greater @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ culture.”

3. “Oh whatever...” says your Minister of Simplicity, pushing aside their glass of tap water. “Why all the fuss for an animal that has about twenty look-alikes? Why not simply step up and declare that whoever discovers a new species, it gets named after them? That would save us a lot of time!”

4. “NO!” shouts the very patriotic governor of the colony, Viceroy Tiberius @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@. “Don’t let this critter be named after any average Joe! It was you who the explorers have to thank for being able to go on that expedition in the first place, and it was you who established this colony for the betterment of our great nation! I say we name it after you, great @@LEADER@@!”

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#618: The Jaws Of A Dilemma [Team Rhysha; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
After a series of fatal attacks by @@ANIMAL@@ sharks on swimmers during prime vacation time, a debate has arisen over how to respond to the finned danger.

The Debate
1. "My sister was seriously hurt in one of the attacks," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, waving a surfboard with a large chunk bitten out. "Okay, while that isn't the worst possible outcome, these @@ANIMAL@@ sharks are here and are very hungry. We need to properly protect the beaches from them. Guard boats! Shark watchers! Sonic deterrents! It might be expensive, but it's better than serving us up as a smorgasbord, right?"

2. "Oh, no, no, we can't have any of this," pleads local Mayor @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Vaughn, pulling at your sleeve for attention. "If you so much as mention the s-word, we'll have panic on our hands at peak holiday season, and cancellations coming out of our ear-holes! We're a summer town, and we need summer @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@. Tell them it was a boat accident, that it's a beautiful day and that the beaches are open. Then talk about something else - anything - to distract their attention, and remind them why @@NAME@@ is @@REGION@@'s number one tourist destination!"

3. "It's not the @@ANIMAL@@ SHARKS that are the problem," pointedly declares @@RANDOMNAME@@, causing the Mayor to wince. "It's the people! The government should protect the sharks from the beach-goers and industries that steal their food and habitat, forcing them to come closer to humans. The sharks were there first! Just put ‘No Swimming' signs along the beach."

4. "These @@ANIMAL@@ sharks offer us an opportunity," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Tourism, poring over plans for oceanfront tourism development. "Think about it. How much are people willing to pay to see sharks up close? It'll surely attract tons of new visitors to our beaches and aquariums, and we could make a fortune from cage diving. Sure, some people might get chowed upon, but it's for the experience, you know?"

5. "Seems like you got a shark problem on your hands," nonchalantly mutters Quant, a rugged fisherman and captain of the Okra, caressing a harpoon gun. "I've been fishing on the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Bay since before I could walk, I served on the S.S. @@CAPITAL@@ that sunk. I've seen these sharks up close; they've got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. I'll take care of your shark problem, so long as I get paid handsomely. But I'll need a bigger boat."

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#619: X Marks The Cult? [Tykadoro; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
A plot of land, which is simultaneously where the founder of the Order of Violet was allegedly born, where the Tranquility of Yellow claims the Goddess will descend, and where the Cult of Pizza plans to build its temple called The Pizza Church of Pepperoni, has been claimed by all three religions. The three religions’ leaders have cornered you after another ribbon cutting ceremony and have demanded that you settle their conflict.

The Debate
1. “The Dead Ocean Scrolls clearly state that us Violetists are the real owners of this land!” declares the Grand Purplmistress of Violetism as she makes threatening gestures towards you and the other leaders. “We deserve to be able to practice our hum, err, animal sacrifices, so why can’t we go along, take the land, and do it there? No one else is as cra- I mean, unique as we are. The only thing we ask are only a few million @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ to build our temple, and everything else will be taken care of.”

2. “Those scrolls are nothing but mistranslated hogwash! All of this area belongs to us!” asserts Her Jaundiceness, the eccentric and indecisive leader of the Tranquility of Yellow. “Those idiotic Violetists and believers in @@FAITH@@ only care about the majority of people in @@NAME@@. What about the minority, the ones that believe invisible dragons fly around, and that everyone should pay for, uh, make a personal sacrifice to the great Advertising Billboard? We would freely allow all of them to come in and listen to our completely objective teachings. Now as for the majority... they’ll just be banned from coming. What, you thought we would KILL them? We’re not that crazy...”

3. “All must hail His Immaculate Munchiness!” announces @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, a former Luigi Bros pizzeria owner who claims that the franchise’s insane prices literally sent him to a mental hospital. “We are aware that other religions should be allowed to exist in this world, yet these two are claiming the land for inhumane and overall unusual reasons, in the Cult of Pizza’s opinion. The church we will build will have a free pizza buffet for all! The only cost? Well, we aren’t really building a real 'church' per se. We are actually building a pizza store with a church inside of it. That’s a small price to pay for His Holy Crustiness!”

4. “You know, you honestly don’t have to listen to any of these screwballs.” bemoans your politically ambitious cousin, who has been giving you poor leadership advice since you became leader of @@NAME@@. “You can use the area to do other things like, I don’t know, weave baskets? Whatever the case is, it would be much better to do this than let any of these insane religions take a perfectly viable plot of land. Oh, I will also own the plot of land, not you. You know, to avoid a conflict of interest or whatever. You do trust me, right?”

5. “Have you forgotten what I told you about sharing and compromise?” reminds your mother, who returned from a shopping spree at the store you just opened. “Why not force all those religions to share this plot of land? Divide it up into three separate spaces with a communal center in the middle. Some may not like sharing the ground with their mortal enemies and you’ll need extra police presence to curb potential violence, but fair’s fair, right?”
Last edited by Jutsa on Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:45 am, edited 39 times in total.

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Jutsa
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Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#620: No Such Thing As A Free Lunch [Chuporosa; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A recent front page news story reported that “up to 10% of children may be skipping school lunches because they can’t afford them”. The journalist has since admitted that the phrasing of this reporting might have been slightly misleading, but insists that it’s technically true, and is leading a national campaign for you to introduce free school meals for young children.

The Debate
1. “My poor babies are starving,” says @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, the journalist in question, and a father of four, as he unloads his shopping bags full of designer clothes from the back of his sports car. “I’ve got bills to pay and costs to meet: the government has a responsibility to put good food on my children’s plates!”

2. “Now hold on a minute,” interrupts Lady @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, adjusting her platinum-rimmed tiara. “Parents only have a responsibility to provide for their own children, not anybody else’s. Why should the government spend my money feeding the sprogs of peasantry? If they don’t want their children to starve, they should work harder, and make more money. The cream rises to the top, don’t you know?”

3. “Other things rise to the top too,” retorts @@RANDOMNAME@@, a low-paid sewerjack who knows about these things. “Look, free meals should be for them that haven’t got moolah, like my kids. You think I like feeding them fried junk food? I don’t, but it's all I can budget for. You should have vouchers for meals that parents can apply for if they’re poor enough. Schools - and indeed, supermarkets and restaurants - could be obliged to take these vouchers in lieu of cash, then take these vouchers back to the government for reimbursement. Yeah, it’s a bit more complex than a one size fits all approach, but it’s fairer.”

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#621: Blue Collar Blues [TeamNARWiC; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A minor domestic emergency recently left you searching for a call-out plumber, an electrician and a handyman able to rehang a chandelier. Though the sorry incident is now sorted, you've been left aware of how hard it is to find a good tradesmen these days. Your Education Minister tells you that this is because the majority of high school graduates are enrolling in university programs, which is leaving a major skilled labor shortage in the trades industries. There are ample artists, architects and astrophysicists, but a poor proportion of plumbers, painters and plasterers.

The Debate
*1. "We allow immigration for a reason, and this is it," says Immigration Minister, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Why don't we use incentive schemes to increase the number of migrants coming in with the skills we need, to fill the labor shortages? That way our citizens can focus on holding higher paying jobs while immigrants do the jobs nobody else wants." [Immigration is legal]

*2. “This is the reason why we should allow immigrant labor,” says Borders Control Minister, Beverly Chandra. “Why don’t we remove the ban on immigration, and use incentive schemes to increase the number of migrants coming in with the skills we need, to fill the labor shortages? That way our citizens can focus on holding higher paying jobs while immigrants do the jobs nobody else wants.” [Immigration is illegal]

*3. "Seems to me like you've got a captive audience that could be taught new skills," says social reformist @@RANDOMNAME@@. "By which I mean your prison population. Why not offer prison inmates training in the trades that you are lacking, and give them commuted sentences in exchange for attaining qualification? I mean, sure, some of them might misuse training in being able to cut the power to banks and businesses, and a small minority might take these courses just to get out of jail faster, but otherwise, good solution, yes?" [Must have prisons]

4. "Wouldn't it be easier just to get more young people studying trades?" posits Community College tutor @@RANDOMNAME@@. "You could subsidize technical colleges and apprenticeships, and even offer stipends to students as an extra incentive to make these choices. You may have to raise taxes a little, and divert funding from further education courses in arts and science, but practical skills are ultimately more important to our economy."

5. "Sometimes, perhaps it is best to let the ocean currents move you, rather than trying to turn back a rising tide," suggests Taiqiquan practitioner @@RANDOMNAME@@, working through a series of graceful circular movements. "Your nation's economy is changing, and shifting away from manual work. This is natural, and you should move with, never against. Imagine: as graduates become unemployed, the market self-adjusts, and the economy flows back towards its former shape. As pipes become blocked, supply and demand mismatch results in the free market rising to fill a gap. Energy flows through the system like water, and problems resolve themselves."

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#622: Easter Egg: A Holiday Masquerade [The Grim Reaper; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
A group of @@NAME@@'s elite have put together a private party to celebrate the spooky holiday of Halloween in an abandoned and definitely not haunted house, which they got for almost nothing because of all the murders. You and some Ministers have managed to procure invitations, but there's one more question to address: what costume should you wear?

The Debate
1. "I made something perfect for you," enthuses your secretary, who was fired as an elementary school art teacher for having absolutely no artistic talent. "Minimalism is very in this year. I carefully trimmed a few holes in this white sheet for you and voilà: a ghost costume. It's classic, iconic even. And who could possibly be offended by someone wearing a white sheet?"

2. Your Environment Minister hops into the room in a plant-pot costume, and manages to get words out past the alcohol. "The other day, I saw a horror movie about a man who transformed into a half-@@ANIMAL@@ monster. The big twist was that it just wanted to be loved, just like I - er, we people do. Anyway, I've always thought you had a touch of animal magnetism about you. You could be the were-@@ANIMAL@@ that taught @@NAME@@ to love @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ as much as we love ourselves!"

3. "You really shouldn't drink so much," advises your geriatric and usually humorless Health Minister, who has made the shocking choice to dress as a sexy nurse. "If we're going to be sending a message to the public, it should be healthier lifestyle habits. You could wear a lab coat to the masquerade to announce an initiative promoting less alcohol for adults and fewer sweets for kids. Together we'll be the life of the party."

4. Your Minister of the Interior, dressed as a giant bat, steps out into the light before recoiling in horror. "Halloween is a chance to remind your fellow party-goers that you're always the one in charge. Plus, we could go as a pair - I as a bat, and you as a vampire! There's a nice cloak and some sharp canines your size in the wardrobe. Maybe we'll be able to trick, say, a dozen, two dozen potential dissidents to reveal something compromising."

5. Your Defense Minister marches into the room in full parade attire, shouting jovially. "@@SLOGAN@@! The new film Captain @@NAME@@ has seen recruitment numbers triple overnight! Do your part - @@LEADER@@ needs YOU! A nice shield, a big flag as a cape, you'll be a superhero in no time! Well, minus the abs."

6. "What a shame that no one here is celebrating our history," complains your Education Minister, whose knight in shining armor costume reflects an almost blinding amount of light. "This party is the perfect time for you to announce a new educational campaign to recognize the most patriotic moments in the saga of @@NAME@@. I'm sure you can dress up as one of our nation's more distinguished heroes for such an important occasion."

7. "You have very classical proportions," whispers a creepy stranger directly into your ear. "Frankly, you'd look good in whatever costume - or none at all, really. I bet you could find someone drunk enough to even turn it into a fashion line."

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#623: Maison D’Être? [Adregon; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
With housing costs rising at a ridiculous rate, younger citizens find themselves about ten times as unlikely to own a home as their parents. Perturbed youngsters, disgruntled businessmen and the obliviously privileged are shouting at you do to something; anything, really.

The Debate
1. “Where in Violet’s name are these poor kids supposed to live?” cries Ernie Flanders, an elderly, yet surprisingly hip, politician, speaking from the comfort of his second-home garden patio. “This new generation is our future, and we cannot turn away and leave them out in the cold. The government must take charge and push through a massive erection of affordable homes in order to shelter these youngsters. And the top 1% should pay for it; it’s about time that they started paying their fair share.”

2. “As if the youth of today needed any more excuses to be lazy,” sputters construction mogul and landlord extraordinaire @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Buytoleto. “The real problem here is obviously the draconian government planning regulations and ridiculous safety standards you have in place, stifling development and creative solutions. Let the free market take its course and I’ll have all kinds of houses up all over the place. All involved will profit: it will create jobs, get rid of superfluous greenery and settle the problem of homeless ingrat... eh, young people...”

3. “Oh heavens, all of that sounds completely unnecessary, if you ask me,” interjects @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister For Tea And Scones, while preparing warm milk for stray undergrads. “We needn’t do much to make housing more available, really. People like me and others of my generation have more than enough space, be it in our townhouses or the cottage up-north. So why can’t the little ragamuffins come stay with us? They could help out around the house to earn their keep, so to speak. Some of my neighbors might need a little government ‘encouragement’, but all in all, no complete overhaul required.”

4. “It’s so stupid,” says coffee shop barista @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, her milk-steamer fueled solely by resentment towards anyone over the age of forty. “The banks and the old people, like, ruined the economy and everything with their years of loose lending and grabbing anything with a roof; it’s so totally their fault. Haha, what if the government like maxed out taxes on second-homes and upped the interest rates on the oldies’ debts by, like, really, really lot of percentages or whatever. You know, to balance out the damages caused to the housing market. That would be so funny.”

5. “Oh where is your spirit of adventure?” exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, chair of the homeowners association Heart Of Darkness. “What we have is an abundance of young people slouching around without house or home, correct? I say we send them off with a couple of muskets and bayonets to find their own place in the world; settle new colonies and bring the light of @@NAME@@ to all corners of the world! It might affect domestic labor availability slightly, but think of the wealth we would collect with all of the new territory.”

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#624: A Role To Play [Panthera Corpus Renatus; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Perpetual loner and social outcast Eobard Hester made the news after holding five of his schoolmates hostage in a classroom for four hours, forcing them at sword-point (with an excellent replica Toledo Salamanca rapier) to play the popular role-playing game Trials and Trolls. Though everyone was released unharmed and the boy is now under arrest, many are asking if the game is a bad influence...

The Debate
1. “A few months ago, my little boy started playing this so-called game, and just the other day I caught him trying to fight our dog with a toy sword,” sobs distraught parent @@RANDOMNAME@@. “These books can only teach children to solve problems with violence. Kids everywhere are forgetting that they’re not paladins, or wizards, or whatever! It’s dangerous, and you have to ban these corrupting codices, for the good of @@NAME@@!”

2. “People need to mind their own business,” states self-proclaimed nerd and ‘TnT-otaku’ @@RANDOMNAME@@, proudly wearing a ‘Jesus Saves And Takes Half Damage’ t-shirt. “This is a positive activity, which can teach you social skills, maths, story-telling, and stuff! Sure, sometimes a player who has too much soda will fling half a dozen four-sided dice at someone’s head, because you know, magic missiles, ha-ha, but no real harm done by that. If this psycho held his fellow students hostage, it was because he was mentally ill, not because he gamed. Maybe deal with the mental health funding gap, and leave our hobby alone?”

3.“Actually, I think that being taken hostage was our own fault,” suggests @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Stockholm, one of the crime’s victims. “I mean, he had asked us to game with him for months, but we thought we were too cool to play with dice and toy soldiers, and we even made fun of him. Now I’ve been obliged to try out Trials and Trolls, I realise how amazing it is! You should add the game to the national curriculum. It’ll make us better people.”

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#625: Delivering The Goods [Annihilators of Chan Island; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Success! After months of hard work, the police have busted a contraband-smuggling operation of incredible size, with several warehouses of a variety of illegal goods broken open and the ringleaders arrested. As all are cheering the police for their fine work, the question of what you should actually do with all this contraband is being raised.

The Debate
[1]. “These ivory statuettes are from the tusks of endangered species,” says Customs Officer @@RANDOMNAME@@. “We can’t allow them into circulation, but to destroy art like this seems a shame. Maybe put them into a public museum, and preserve them for posterity.” [Endangered species are protected ???]

[2]. “DRUGS!” yells furious Narcotics Investigator @@RANDOMNAME@@, kicking at a polythene sack full of white powder. “We gotta stand firm in condemnation of drugs! We’re going to burn all the contraband to make a statement! Zero tolerance! Zero tolerance!” [Recreational drug use is illegal]

[3]. “Considerable firepower on display here,” says SWAT-team leader @@RANDOMNAME@@. “If I were you, I’d want to know to which dissident group these guns were intended. Put the confiscated firearms in the armoury of the police and military, and give us the all clear to find the terrorists, and deal with them with extreme force. I call it Operation: Ironic Takedown.” [Guns are restricted from public use]

[4]. “Exterminator 4: Salvation, Xenoform Resurrection, Transmorphers Vengeance of the Failbots,” spits Culture Minister @@RANDOMNAME@@ in disgust. “Low-quality illegal sequels are being smuggled into the country. I can feel my IQ dropping just looking at the box covers. It is imperative we mount a counter-assault! Fund original highbrow cinema, and get it to the people before it is too late!” [Sequels are illegal]

[5]. “Dead bodies... Thousands of dead bodies... This isn’t smuggling; it’s evidence of mass murder!” weeps compassionate citizen @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Okay, so maybe the dead are cows and sheep, but animals deserve life too: isn’t that why we’re a vegetarian nation? We should erect a memorial, to pay respect to the souls of these good, deceased animals. Perhaps also, we could have a dignified cremation ceremony.” [Must be vegetarian]

[6]. “That’s... a lot of latex,” observes crime scene cleaner-upper @@RANDOMNAME@@, wading through millions of banned condoms. “Our enemies are determined to over-ride our choice to ban contraception, and we should fight back! I suggest we render these condoms ineffective with a puncture hole or six, then return them to the black market. Then, those who are sinfully engaging in contraception will be stopped from murdering unborn children.” [Contraceptives are illegal

[7]. “Oh my... Are those all V12 Maxati Baryons? The fastest road-legal automobiles in the world?” asks police officer @@RANDOMNAME@@, showing an inappropriate level of enthusiasm. “These have to be destined for illegal race circuits... I say we chip them with GPS trackers, let them slip back into circulation, so we can track down the criminals. I foresee high speed car chases, so you’d better keep a handful back for the police.” [Cars are illegal]

[8]. “Turns out that there was a cache of... adult material,” says Customs and Excise Officer @@RANDOMNAME@@, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively, “depicting illegal scenes of ahem... fellows of the same gender. Disgusting stuff, quite horrible. I’ve examined it at great length, and... yes... great length. We need to crack down, hunt down the secret homosexuals in this nation, and shoot them dead. That’ll teach them to trouble us with these... hard to look at... images.” [Homosexuality is illegal]

9. “This is something of a haul, but these aren’t trade goods anymore: they’re evidence!” says Judiciary Director @@RANDOMNAME@@. “The goods should be stored as such till the legal processes are complete, then they should be carefully destroyed with a clear accounting trail to ensure ethical practice.”

10. “So, I make it almost a billion @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ in goods here,” ponders your Treasury Minister, staring at an unethically-sourced blood diamond. “How about we sell this stuff, as official plunder? The revenue boost would be great for this year’s budget deficit. Tax cuts are good, right? This is our stuff now, after all.”

11. “You know, I can’t help but think that a lot of this contraband wouldn’t be illegal in a more liberal country,” observes one of the smugglers, from the chair your men have tied him to. “You ever considered changing your laws to allow some free trade and personal freedom, maybe? Like, if you could personally free me, that’d be great.”

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#626: Carbon Copied [Plutoniacht; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Leading company in genetic modification and bio-mapping, Interstice Laboratories, claims to be on the verge of a major breakthrough in understanding human consciousness. They report that within a few decades they’ll be able to upload a copy of a human mind-state onto a computer databank.

The Debate
*1. “I wonder if you understand the implications of this technology,” whispers the company’s CEO, @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ ‘Mind-Wizard’ @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, squeezing a lemon-shaped stress ball. “Virtual immortality. Sleeving. Backed-up mind-states. All we need is TONS of fundi- I mean, minimal funding. Oh and a license to cut up the brains of vict... uh... volunteers. We’ll not see results for some time, for sure, but the sooner you invest, the sooner we can usher in Reality 2.0.” [Must have private industry]

*2. “I wonder if you understand the implications of this technology,” whispers National Science Director Bill ‘Mind-Wizard’ Gibson, looking over the state-funded laboratory’s reports. “Virtual immortality. Sleeving. Backed-up mind-states. All we need is TONS of fundi- I mean, minimal funding. Oh and a license to cut up the brains of vict... uh... volunteers. We’ll not see results for some time, for sure, but the sooner you invest, the sooner we can usher in Reality 2.0.” [Must not have private industry]

3. “This. Is. ABOMINABLE! EXECRABLE! DETESTABLE!” yells the Minister of the Church of Weird Gaits, as he marches, then tromps, then slithers into your office and rises before you, his face turning the same color as an old peach pit on your desk. “This is a total abandonment of the world that the Great Lumberer created for us! How will we show our gratitude for the greatest gift bestowed on us, our legs, if we can’t use them! Tens of citizens in @@CAPITAL@@ will be either transferred to a line of 1’s and 0’s and banished from The Lumberer’s Sidewalks, or left behind to die in the ruins of civilization. Shut down this science corporation! Make it no more, ceased to be, expired, bereft of profit, history!”

4. “You don’t need to be a Luddite or a religious fanatic to object to transhumanism,” mutters ethicist @@RANDOMNAME@@, glancing nervously at the wall clock. “Developing these technologies increases the odds of human self-extinction. We need to be sure that any intelligence that ushers in the next century is wholly human, grounded in human biology and human morality. There is no fate but what we make. What future do you want to create?”

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#627: The Bee-Ginning Of A Catastrophe? [Outer Sparta; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
When top scientists started genetically engineering bees in order to make them live longer and resist disease, things went horribly wrong. The result - subsequently dubbed the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Killer Jacket - wiped out their creators within an hour and promptly escaped the lab. Terrified citizens are urging you to stop genetic engineering on bees, citing the unpredictability and potential dangers of this technology.

The Debate
1. “What is this madness?” shouts Doctor Bees, still wearing his trademark bee costume, who has in his suitcase the only bees in @@CAPITAL@@ that aren’t genetically modified. “We’ve created a potential threat to our population. Thanks to genetic tampering, you made killer-bees with GM stingers! Who knows what they’ll do now? The only solution is to ban genetic engineering and shut down the lab immediately. It’s immoral, insane, and incompetent! Cull these modified abominations and encourage the breeding of all-natural, all-organic normal bees... like mine!”

*2. “Don’t you forget why we need this,” reminds @@RANDOMNAME@@, the new CEO of Bees and Genes, aiming an insecticide spray at a small arthropod hovering above your shoulder. “It’s a noble experiment to keep bees from dying off. Genetically engineered bees have a much greater chance of survival, and that’s better for the environment. With some government support, we can do more for our bees and prof... well, you know.” [Must have private industry]

*3. “Don’t you forget why we need this,” reminds @@RANDOMNAME@@, the new Laboratory Director of HIVEMIND, aiming an insecticide spray at a small arthropod hovering above your shoulder. “It’s a noble experiment to keep bees from dying off. Genetically engineered bees have a much greater chance of survival, and that’s better for the environment. With some government support, we can do more for our bees and prof... well, you know.” [Must not have private industry]

4. “We certainly don’t have to be black-and-yellow about this,” asserts @@RANDOMNAME@@, a government scientist who is picking apart your flower display, looking for nectar. “While it’s true that genetic engineering can create some unintended pests, it has potential to help our buzzing friends survive many threats like CCD and parasitic mites. How about we set strict standards for these laboratories? With government oversight, we can watch out for any killer bugs while keeping this technology safe and regulated. True, the scientists may end up trapped in an endless cycle of regulations and inspections, but that’s beside the point.”

4. “The problem was that we trusted this experimentation to the boffs in the labs,” growls your gruff military attaché @@RANDOMNAME@@ while examining a modified bee under a microscope. “Now I’m not much of a scientist, but surely it wouldn’t be too hard for us to round up these modified bees and set them loose on one of our enemies? Imagine if we unleashed some of these bad boys on Maxtopia or Marche Noire. Their ecosystem will be so screwed up they’ll be begging to sign that peace treaty! Now excuse me while I practice my evil laugh.”

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#628: Only @@LEADER@@ Can Prevent Forest Fires [Ransium & Tishanda; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Large forest fires are raging across @@NAME@@. Tens of thousands of acres have already been burned, houses in rural communities have been destroyed, and the resultant smoke has drifted into @@CAPITAL@@, ruining your plans to spend the day tanning.

The Debate
1. “This is just another example of public sector failure,” opines former timber baron and current timber industry lobbyist @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Put these forests back in private hands, and we’ll have these forest humming again in no time - with chainsaws, that is. We’ll clear out all this built-up fuel faster than you can say, ‘TIMBER’. You can even call us environmentalists because it’s in our own interest to plant new trees, and then cut them down again, of course.”

2. “That’s just not cool, man,” mutters Heech, of the stoner comedy duo Heech and Hemp. “These forests have evolved with fire for aeons. The problem is Man, man. We need to stop ‘managing’ forests and just let the fires do their thing. Communities living in forested areas need to either move out or adapt to fires. As for the smoke...” He pauses and takes a long puff of something you can’t quite see, then after coughing uncontrollably for a while adds: “...we just need to adapt.”

3. “No!” cries former martial arts protege and current forest ranger Dirk Frederickson, while bribing you with a picnic basket that was allegedly taken from a bear. “We just need a bit more money. Not just for fire suppression, but for preventative measures, like creating defensible spaces around homes, thinning out logs and small trees, prescribed fire, and arresting potential arsonists. Fires will be smaller and more manageable and everyone will be happy.”

4. “All this hand-wringing about forest land management is so interesting,” sarcastically comments Dave Bergman, whose family lost their home to the fire. “Oh, wait, no, I don’t care, BECAUSE MY HOUSE BURNT DOWN! Thousands of people have lost their homes and what are you doing about it? We need emergency help now. Let’s take all the money we’re wasting on so-called ‘land management’ and put it into something useful, like disaster relief and rebuilding our homes and communities.”

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#629: Boom Or Bust? [The Rejected Realms Issue Committee; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
As a crime wave grips @@NAME@@, a controversial new brassiere, the Hooter Holster, has marketed itself as the ‘modern’ solution for violence against women.

The Debate
1. “The incidence reports are very alarming,” states @@RANDOMNAME@@, consumer safety adviser. “Reports are flooding our offices about these holsters causing the guns to misfire. We must protect consumers and ban these brassieres in the name of public safety! Come to think of it, guns cause nothing but crime and preventable deaths. We’d be better off without them.”

2. “YO, GOOMBA!” shouts @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, whose ears are still ringing after a round at the shooting gallery. “The problem ain’t the guns or the holster: it’s the user. If women were properly educated on gun safety and procedure, there’d be no problemo here. A girl’s gotta learn how to protect herself!”

3. “No, men have to learn to not be violent,” rebuffs outspoken feminist and best-selling author of Chicken Soup for the Schlong, @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@. “We need to stop blaming women for the violence against them and take drastic steps to bring peace and order to our society, and that starts in the schools. We must teach boys to respect women at an early age; otherwise they will never grow out of their misogynistic habits.”

4. “We don’t have this problem in Maxtopia,” reminds the Maxtopian ambassador and self-titled meninist @@RANDOMMALENAME@@. “Do you know why? It’s because we wisely don’t allow women to go out into this big and dangerous world out on their own. There are always going to be rapists and criminals out there. Now if a woman was accompanied by a male relative, friend, or coworker, violence against women would drop overnight. And don’t listen to liberals whining about women’s rights... What about the right of a woman to be free from harassment from strangers, and their right to be protected by their kin?”

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#630: This Green And Pleasant Land [Nova Bulgarija; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Good news, everyone! An unexpected rise in the water table has transformed a thousand acres of former desert into green and fertile and farming-ready land. As the government owns this land, it’s now up to you what you do with it.

The Debate
*1. “Efficiency. Productivity. Produce. Those are the three F’s of New Plus Agro Cycles(tm),” says CEO @@RANDOMNAME@@, “and if you wonder if you failed to spot the third F, it’s all about the customer! Yes, sell us this land and we will turn it into a model of efficiency! No government investment, no taxpayer’s money wasted, just cultivation as far as the eye can see! New jobs will be created, and investors will be attracted. Just sign here!” [Must have private industry]

*2. “Efficiency. Productivity. Produce. Those are the three F’s of the State Collective Farming Initiative,” says Director of Agricultural Cooperation @@RANDOMNAME@@, “and if you wonder if you failed to spot the third F, it’s all about the noble worker! Yes, grant this land to the farming collectives and we will turn it into a model of efficiency! No central government investment, no taxpayer’s money wasted, just cultivation as far as the eye can see! New jobs will be created, and proud and noble farmers will toil in the fields, singing joyous anthems to the Motherland!” [Must not have private industry]

[3]. “Why would you consider that?” yells villager @@RANDOMNAME@@ waving a pitchfork with one hand, and a little red book with the other. “You want to just GIVE IT AWAY to these rich fat cats, so they can get even richer? No! This land should be owned by the state, but worked by a commune of local farmers, with a small plot of land for each farmer! This way is fair for everyone.” [Must have private industry]

4. “No, no, no! It’s like a traffic light, if you want to be green you’ve got to put up a red light and make a green space, because you don’t want to be in the red on being green!” explains @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, her metaphors as messed up as her flower-entangled hair. “We need to turn this into a nature resort, that flora and fauna can make their home!”

5. “Excuse me, is anyone going to ask why this has happened?” asks party-pooping scientist @@RANDOMNAME@@. “We can’t make use of this land till we understand what happened. I suggest establishing a research station here, and getting a better understanding of the ecological changes that led to this fertile land emerging.”

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#631: The Violet Mile [Nation of Quebec; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
With an increasing number of inmates on death row, more commonly referred to as The Violet Mile, concerned experts from all walks of life have asked you about which method of capital punishment is the best to use on @@NAME@@’s felons.

The Debate
1. “Lethal injection is by far the most cost-efficient and clean method of execution,” suggests @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a wild-eyed and grey-haired military scientist who looks as if she hasn’t slept in twenty years. “Also, if we’re disposing of these worthless criminals, we may as well test out some of the more ‘experimental’ lethal chemicals that our R&D department is working on. They’ll require some tweaking to get right, but these scumbags are dead men walking anyway, right?”

2. “What’s wrong with a good, old-fashioned hanging?” proposes @@RANDOMNAME@@, a historical reenactor dressed in a period-accurate Disposable War infantry uniform. “We can hang the criminals in the town square, right in front of the watchful eyes of the public. We could even encourage fruits and vegetables to be thrown at ‘em as they swing! Ah, it’ll be a fine public spectacle, and a grand deterrent too!”

3. “You know, as much as we like to disavow less advanced cultures as ‘primitive’, I think they have some right ideas,” comments big game hunter @@RANDOMNAME@@, who recently returned from a safari in more savage lands. “I visited a tribe who execute troublemakers and the occasional sacrificial virgin by throwing them into an active volcano. They say it pleases the gods, and keeps disaster at bay. Sounds like a sensible plan to me.”

4. “How about a method that’s fun for viewers, and gives criminals a chance to earn a pardon?” asks sleazy reality show producer @@RANDOMNAME@@. “We could place the criminals on an island, each with a weapon, and tell them they have 24 hours to kill each other. The sole survivor would then win his or her freedom. We could broadcast this battle royale live, and the ratings would be through the roof!”

*5. “Maybe we should aim to be as humane as possible when we take life?” asks butcher @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, wiping his work knives clean on his apron. “We got bolt guns we use in the slaughterhouses. BAM. One bolt, one kill. Fast, effective, only a little messy.” He looks down at a circle of splattered mess on the floor. “Is anyone else getting hungry talking about this?” [Must not be vegetarian]

*6. “Maybe we should aim to be as humane as possible when we take life?” asks machine-tool specialist @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, holding a claw hammer in each hand. “We got bolt guns that butchers used to use in the slaughterhouses, back before you put them out of work with those veggie-laws. BAM. One bolt, one kill. Fast, effective, only a little messy.” He looks down at a circle of splattered mess on the floor. “Is anyone else getting hungry talking about this?” [Must be vegetarian]

7. “Kill the death penalty!” chants activist @@RANDOMNAME@@, bursting out of a hiding place in your stationery cupboard. “Cull government sanctioned murder! Destroy these needless acts of revenge violence! An eye for an eye makes the world go blind!” The intruder pokes your security guard in the peepers with a pencil, then flees the room.

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#632: Dying For A Kiss [Palaiologos II; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Hillary Kaine, a 15-year-old immigrant residing in the city of @@CAPITAL@@, was murdered recently. The unusual circumstance here is that her killer was her own father, who had executed her in an ‘Honor Killing’, for sharing a kiss with a @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ boy. The father has now been arrested, but he is showing no remorse.

The Debate
1. “This is what I’ve been saying all along,” says nationalist politician @@RANDOMNAME@@ in a tone that can only be described as a Frankenstein-mix of smugness and fury. “When we let these foreigners into our country, they import barbaric practices. Unless you want us to one day become ‘The Holy Fundamentalist Kingdom of @@NAME@@’, you should set up a vetting process to keep crazies out. Maybe a profiling test that makes sure that immigrants share our values? Oh, and make the immigrants who are already in take that test too!”

2. “And who defines this?” asks @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a human rights lawyer who is herself an immigrant. “What happened here was tragic, but we mustn’t be reactionary. Maybe if @@NAME@@ wasn’t so hostile to immigrants, the dad wouldn’t have minded his daughter dating a local! I don’t condone this murder, but the root cause here is a divided society. Throw some funding into celebrating the religious festivals and cultural practices of the world, and bring the community together as one.”

3. “Am I missing something obvious here?” asks loutish thug @@RANDOMNAME@@, missing something obvious. “Seems to me that the girl dishonored her father, and so her father killed her for the sake of his family name. I mean, why are we saying that’s a bad thing? How could anyone call that a bad thing?”

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#633: Sound Judgement [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
At a recent international sporting event, Bigtopian fans proudly sung their national anthem: Bigger And Cleverer. Meanwhile, the @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ in the crowd each sang half a dozen different tunes, highlighting the fact that @@NAME@@ still doesn't have an official national anthem.

The Debate
1. "We need to have a grand old national anthem," reminiscences retired war veteran @@RANDOMNAME@@. "It ought to be a strong, rousing tune to unite a broken nation. A proud tune for a proud people! Put in some references to a flag stained in the blood of the enemy: if the unpatriotic moralising minority doesn't like it, then they can get the heck out!"

[2]. “@@NAME@@ must be defined by its faith,” voices chorister Al Winters, adopting his favourite holier-than-thou smug expression. “@@FAITH@@ indeed has an anthem you can adopt for @@NAME@@: an old hymn giving thanks for one people under @@FAITH@@. With it, we can lift our prayers to the kingdom above, and tell the world that we are a Chosen People!” [Must have a national faith]

3. "That's not what @@NAME@@ stands for in our modern age," rebuffs avant-garde composer @@RANDOMNAME@@. "We're a pan-cultural nation of pan-humanity. I've composed an audiotheatrical tribute to the tribe of all life, with whale-song, echoing voices in ethnic dialects, and the laughter of children. I call it The Peace of @@NAME@@."

4. "Riiiiight. A whale-song national anthem? He can definitely 'PEACE OFF'!" replies annoying pun-spitting radio DJ @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Of CHORUS we need something catchier and poppier. We shouldn't be aVERSE to a bit of JINGLEISM. Why not let the listeners vote for an anthem? You could call it... COUNTRY'S music. Ha ha, I'm so funny!"

[5]. "Why not an anthem that celebrates our merged culture of artificial and human intelligence?" suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@, a third-generation cloud-based AI. "If you ask me, I'm tired of science taking a backseat to religion and pre-machine pre-history. I can write you a machine-friendly binary pulse barrage that both sounds really funky and has meaningful data within it if you run it as a program." [Must have AI citizens]

[6]. "The nation is you, dear leader, and you are the nation," reminds the biggest suck-up in the office. "An anthem should sing your praises and be entitled Ode To @@LEADER@@. We can work on the words and the tune later: the important thing is the subject matter." [Must have unlocked @@LEADER@@]

7. "We don't need subject matter to worry about or lyrics for the plebs to sing," chimes in snobby classical musician @@RANDOMNAME@@, smacking your staffer's head with a flute. "We must create a modern masterpiece, a magnum opus that will raise @@NAME@@'s spirits, a musical composition to define our nation. Summon the nation's greatest composers and an orchestra of the finest musicians. We'll give you a National Symphony and an anthem that will last forever!"

8. "National anthem? Bah!" scoffs resident anarchist and constant thorn-in-your-side @@RANDOMNAME@@. "We don't need this government forcing that patriotic drivel down our throats! Besides, most @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ are terrible singers! That's the last thing I want to hear at a football game!"

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#634: Bullet Time [Rubyna; ed:Candlewshisper Archive]

The Issue
Regular traffic congestion within @@NAME@@’s interstate highways have resulted in a flurry of petitions being sent to you demanding the development of a Maglev bullet train connecting the nation’s major cities. Apparently there was going to be a demonstration outside your front door as well, but the protesters got stuck in traffic.

The Debate
1. Moments before you are about to go home after a long day at work, an intruder intercepts you at your front door. His face is a deeper shade of red than the sunset outside your window. He yells at you: “Eight hours! Do you have any idea how it feels to sit in traffic for eight hours? Be quiet! How can I do good work when the commute takes the whole day? Listen, most other developed nations already have a high-speed, high-efficiency railway systems, and not having one is not doing us any favors, economically or for our mental health. We Need Bullet Trains! Give us Bullet Trains!”

2. “That angry fellow is correct, you know...” says @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, an agreeable businesswoman who gently guides the furious commuter to the back door, “but who is to say the burden of the cost should be on the government’s back? Me and my colleagues in Budget Rail Incorporated can get @@NAME@@ high speed connections with no cost to your taxpayers. We’ve got suppliers of nearly-new metal, fairly decent quality second hand trains, engines that almost passed emission standards. We’ve even identified which arable land owners you’ll need to force to sell to us to make this service fast and profitable. Just sign, quickly, here, here, here, and umm... initials here...”

3. “You can’t do it!” groans @@RANDOMNAME@@, ecologically minded pop-musician with the recent #1 hit I Hugged A Tree and I Liked It. “Mother Nature gives us love, and look at how we treat Her. We’re binding her flesh with steel rails. I mean, forests, the trees, all that... they give us oxygen and stuff. Dodge the bullet, save the world!”

4. “Slow down, now. Slow down, all...” says @@RANDOMNAME@@, a villager visiting the capital for the first time. “More railways is a fine thing for all, but why have fancy high speed trains that zoom past all the interesting places on the way? I think you should be building a LOW speed rail, that stops at all the picturesque hamlets and towns, and brings visitors to them. Stop by Little Droppings - that’s my own town, by the way - and I’ll brew you a nice cup of tea.”

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#635: Hey Kid, Have A Cigar [Kungyo; ed:Sleep and Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
One of @@NAME@@’s leading tobacco companies, Maxboro, has produced an advertisement depicting children frolicking in a playground while smoking cigars and cigarettes. Predictably, a truckload of angry letters has been dropped on your desk, from angry parents and moralising busy-bodies.

The Debate
1. “This is truly odious!” screeches @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, your Secretary of Political Correctness, as she tries to cover her child’s eyes and ears. “Tobacco companies cannot be allowed to market their death-sticks to our children! Our poor vulnerable youngsters could get hooked, and become chain-smokers before they finish primary school! Advertising dangerous products to children must be banned!”

*2. “Oh, Boo-hoo!” mocks M.B. Winston, CEO of Maxboro, while smoking a SpongeBarry SquareShirt themed cigarette. “Those ads are cute and funny! Kids should be allowed to make up their own minds about our exquisitely smooth leaf blends and candy-flavoured filters! Market restrictions are un-@@DEMONYM@@. We should be able sell our product to anyone who can afford to buy it, no matter how old they are!” [Must have private industry]

*3. “Oh, Boo-hoo!” mocks M.B. Winston, State Factory Director of Maxboro, while smoking an unfiltered cigarette with acrid fumes. “These advertisements remind children that by buying cigarettes, they are supporting the Motherland! You should, in fact, be encouraging this habit, with increased funding for state advertisements encouraging all good children to smoke.” [Must not have private industry]

4. “I have a reasonable third option!” interrupts passing minister @@RANDOMNAME@@, right around the time someone normally interjects with a crazy third option. “Let tobacco companies operate freely, but have them do social good equal to the social harm, according to a fair assessment of externalities. Like, if they advertise to children, then they have to build a kids clinic or a litter picking program, that sort of thing.”

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#636: Going on the Cyber Offensive [Noahs Second Country; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A student was recently suspended by a school for posting negative comments about a fellow classmate on an online gossip column. The offensive message read “Sean’s dad is such a drunk, that he didn’t just lose his front door keys, he lost his whole front door... oh, and his house... and his job. Wow, sucks to be his son, huh?”. As both the suspended student’s parents are celebrities, there’s been a lot of media coverage of the incident, and now everybody is talking about it. Some are calling this harmless fun, while others are labelling it as cyberbullying. It seems like everybody wants to know where you stand on this.

The Debate
1. “This is a complete violation of my rights,” shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, the amateur columnist brat. “I can say what I want outside of school, as long as I like, don’t, like, harm anyone. Like, the whole free speech thing, you know. I wasn’t in school, so they can’t punish me. People just need to be allowed to say whatever. By the way, check out my latest roasting of this one geography teacher at my school who doesn’t take showers.”

2. “Schools need to be stricter,” whispers @@RANDOMNAME@@, worriedly looking around before nibbling on a bar of chocolate. “People used to use my name, but now I’m just ‘Ugly Fat-Face’. Please, make it stop! Schools should strictly punish students who say rude things online.”

3. “Kids these days, they’re geni.. geniei... uh... geniuses!” exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Solutions. “This is the best idea we’ve had in a while! With elections coming up, we can hire a few of these prodigies of the put-down, and pay them to work for us. The kids can, as they say, ‘roast’ the other politicians, and make you look great in comparison!”

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#637: Little Pizza History [Oppressia FTDOF; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Prominent restaurant chain Pop’s Eatery recently announced plans to tear down the historic Cash Mansion in @@CAPITAL@@ and replace it with a fast food restaurant. Disgusted by the impending destruction of a national landmark, two dozen history students have surrounded the site, delaying the building’s demolition and causing just enough ruckus to get your attention.

The Debate
1. “We cannot accept this blatant destruction of our culture!” cries a surprisingly agile social studies teacher, leaping into your office window after scaling the side of the capitol building. “It’s common knowledge that Douglas Cash was the leader of the revolutionaries that founded this country... or was he the inventor of that spinning doohickey? Either way, the Cash residence is a priceless piece of our national history. The government should protect the site as a national landmark... and put more funding towards historical education while you’re at it.”

2. “Out with the old and in with the new!” opines @@RANDOMNAME@@, manager of Pop’s Eatery, while handing out free samples to everyone in sight. “These fried saltballs were invented right here in @@NAME@@ by one of my top chefs, and at least in my opinion, that’s some @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ culture worth celebrating. If you assign a few more cops to keep away the overeducated hooligans from my stores, then I could have a free hand to open Pop’s Eateries on every corner of @@NAME@@.”

3. “Why not have your cake and eat it too?” asks your underachieving Culture Minister, @@RANDOMNAME@@, while tucking into a tray of vol-au-vents taken from a recent gallery opening. “By which I mean have food AND culture at the same time. We should preserve these historical sites and allow - no, actually, make that REQUIRE - that they all have restaurants built within them. Imagine it: a roast on the spit in an old castle, tea and scones in noble palaces, all-you-can-eat-buffets in museums commemorating the Great @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Famine. Now that’s what I call culture!”

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#638: Won't Somebody Think of the Children? [Niklaustan; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
On your way to work this morning, you noticed an unusually high number of orphans pickpocketing and ‘asking for more’ from passing strangers. Realizing that this may put a stain on @@NAME@@’s reputation, you have asked for opinions on how to deal with this orphan overcrowding problem.

The Debate
1. “Gawd bless youse, @@LEADER@@, but can’t ya spare a copper or two for us poor little cherubs?” meekly asks an orphan known as Minuscule Max, who has managed to pick your pocket without you noticing. “The old orphanage is in a right sorry state, an’ no mistake. Just yesterday we ‘ad ta burn our caps and clogs to have somethin’ to warm ourselves by. All we askin’ is that you ‘ave a think about us: maybe them fightin’ soldiers could get less, and we could get more?"

2. “I agree that these children should not be left to fend for themselves, but let’s not be too hasty about lowering military funding,” reminds your semi-compassionate Minister of Defense who prefers to ‘kill enemies kindly’. “In fact, why do we even need these orphanages? These children are sponging off the government’s teat and all we get in return is a bloated welfare budget! All orphaned children should be sent to military training academies, and then they can repay us for our generosity by fighting for our glorious @@TYPE@@!”

3. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing!” gasps factory manager @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Scrooge, whose remarkably clean hands have never known a day of honest labour. “How can we be sinking so low as to even consider wasting such a valuable resource on the military? I agree that we should get these kids off the government teat, but we should lower the working age so they can work and earn money to fend for themselves! Send these orphans to work in my factories and I’ll pay them a very ‘generous’ wage.”

4. “You know, I think our friends in Dàguó have the right idea with their one child policy,” suggests population control expert Oprah Lopez while going over the latest birth statistics. “@@NAME@@ has a population of @@POPULATION@@ and growing. We can barely keep up as it is without adding orphans into the mix. I propose adopting Dàguó’s one child policy here while offering generous tax incentives for the good people of Maljaratas to adopt our remaining orphans. It may be a tad restrictive, but the people will thank me when they aren’t suffocating on the subway.”

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#639: No Country For Old Men [Troperia; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After several incidents which resulted in the loss of millions of @@CURRENCY@@ have been discovered to be caused by senility and feebleness, concerned financial and medical professionals are wondering if retirement should be made mandatory at a certain age.

The Debate
1. “It’s not really such a bad idea,” suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@, your middle-aged medical adviser while checking your pulse to see if you’re still alive. “You see, when some people reach a certain age, they become too weak and mentally incompetent to do their job. Therefore, we need to impose mandatory retirement so our nation wouldn’t have to put up with things like that senile 95-year-old rickshaw driver who caused that day-long traffic jam on the highway. Of course, we mustn’t be cruel: we should also provide better pensions for them so they’ll be content in their dotage.”

2. “Our age has nothing to do with the... uh... what was it... the wild @@ANIMAL@@ hybrids rampaging through @@CAPITAL@@!” states bumbling security guard @@RANDOMNAME@@, who didn’t hear the stampede of hybrids escaping the lab due to a malfunctioning hearing aid. “So you people think that just because we’re old, we can’t do our jobs? Well guess what? I’ve seen younger people who are more lazy, inefficient, and more... something than a sloth! Retirement and firing should be based on capabilities, not age!"

*3. “Why bother with retirement anyway?” asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, a rather young basket weaving CEO whose employees consist mostly of @@HIS@@ aging relatives. “I mean, the only reason it exists is just so old people can laze around doing nothing, right? So why don’t we remove it altogether and make it so that people have to work no matter how old they are? Sure, incidents like the that doctor who left his false teeth inside a patient might be more common than before; but that’s the price you have to pay for the sake of productivity.” [Must have private industry]

*4. “Why bother with retirement anyway?” asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, a rather young basket-weaving commune director, whose subordinate workers consist mostly of @@HIS@@ ageing relatives. “I mean, the only reason it exists is just so old people can laze around doing nothing, right? So why don’t we remove it altogether and make it so that people have to work no matter how old they are? Sure, incidents like that doctor who left his false teeth inside a patient might be more common than before; but that’s the price you have to pay for the sake of productivity.” [Must not have private industry]
Last edited by Jutsa on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:12 am, edited 51 times in total.

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Jutsa
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Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#640: A Clear-Cut Conundrum [Mount Seymour; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
The Shepherds of the Forest - a particularly dedicated section of the The Ramblers' and Hikers' Association - have just completed a long march from the remote Western @@ANIMAL@@ Mountains National Park to @@CAPITAL@@. They come bearing news that elements within the Timber Woodchipping industry have been covertly logging the protected area for over a decade without the government even noticing.

The Debate

1. "I was just hiking quietly along the back of Grand @@ANIMAL@@ Ridge," recounts @@RANDOMNAME@@, a very sturdy forestry professor, with a tall head and hardly any neck. "I rounded a bend and there before me lay the most horrendous sight I ever laid eyes upon. Stands upon stands of trees, butchered like on a battlefield, many of whom were my friends. There is no curse in the tongue of @@NAME@@ for this treachery. O please, @@LEADER@@, make the destroyers who did this replant all the trees they massacred, and stop them from ever coming back!"

2. "Bah, humbug," bellows @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, a sour man representing one of the rogue logging companies, draped in a robe of many colors. "That Western Whatever Park is so far away that no one even goes there anyway, except for those weirdo hikeaholics. Our great and glorious @@TYPE@@ would be best served by burning that old world in the fires of industry. Auction them all off to the highest bidder, foreign or domestic! Forests will fall and @@NAME@@ will make profits you've never dreamed of. Just imagine it."

3. "HOW DARE THEY!" screeches @@RANDOMNAME@@, a self-professed eco-warrior, wielding an elaborately carved battle staff made out of the highly endangered @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ pine. "These evil corporate schemers, planning to destroy the world just to gain wealth! The only way we can keep our parks safe is by allowing not a single person - yes, you heard me - not a single person into them. They need to be off-limits to the inherently greedy, destructive natural tendencies of humans. @@LEADER@@, let me raise a posse of good and green men to guard our forests and bring the sword to any desecrating capitalist pig who dares enter."

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#641: Dirty Little Minds [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
The Health Ministry has expressed serious concerns at new evidence that pollutants in the atmosphere and water supply may be negatively affecting the intelligence and cognitive abilities of the nation’s children.

The Debate
1. “Legislation is the answer,” declares tatty-suited progressive @@RANDOMNAME@@ in the middle of a two-hour slideshow on rainfall. “Crack down on air pollution, regulate vehicle emissions, and heavily tax polluting industry and power generation. The economy may experience a short-term loss, but that sacrifice is worth it for our children’s long-term cognitive function.”

2. “Self-regulation is the answer,” says expensively dressed lawyer @@RANDOMNAME@@, who just finished another fraud trial. “The industry will... uh... establish a voluntary code of conduct, and we will definitely think about cutting into our profit margins and reneging on our obligations to our shareholders to make a fast buck. At the very least, we’ll do some great PR work. And kids getting dumber? Well, I should point out that a dumb populace is a free-spending and unquestioning populace: that sort of thing is great for the economy.”

3. “Science is the answer,” opines overzealous transhumanist @@RANDOMNAME@@, whose clothes are so metallic and futuristic they just look silly. “The problem here is that we’ve got the wrong sort of pollutants. Add the right neuro-stimulant chemicals to the waterways and the air, and I can guarantee you the lovely pollution will start making our kids harder, better, faster, stronger. Sure, they might have increased risk of fatal brain hemorrhage in puberty, but they’ll expand their cognition and consciousness and become Human Plus.”

4. “Creative thinking is the answer,” schemes an intimidating ‘solutions manager,’ @@RANDOMNAME@@. “We can keep making pollutants, so long as we don’t let them get into our nation’s environment. I’ve got half a dozen amazing ideas, from selling our waste to gullible third world nations as fertilizers, to sticking some of the nastier chemicals into a newly rebranded ‘smokey-cola’ and pushing it to export. All extra sludge can just be dumped at sea - far, far away from @@NAME@@. Recategorize waste as product, and we can get it out of the country at a nice profit.”

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#642: This Way's Kinder [Uberreichland; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Hail to you! Hail @@LEADER@@! Patriotism and love for your government is (naturally) on the rise, and one of your closest advisors has suggested to you that @@NAME@@ forms a youth organisation to teach the next generation to love you as much as this one does.

The Debate
1. “Think about it!” says sycophantic Party Coordinator @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, with remnants of silly string and party streamers on his dress uniform suggesting he has perhaps misunderstood his job title. He stands by you on the palace balcony, gesturing to indicate a group of serious-looking children saluting a giant flag. “The patriotism in these kids is admirable! Give them an official youth organisation in the name of our righteous ideology, and call it The Children Of @@LEADER@@! Teach them to sing songs, to swear allegiance to the flag, to camp in the wilderness, maybe how to clean and shoot a rifle. Who knows when a group of wonderfully fit, patriotic boys could come in handy?”

2. “Obviously managing the nation’s youth is sensible, but training and arming them sounds a little incautious,” suggests Security Director @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Teach them to obey, for sure, but put them to work doing socially useful tasks instead: road building, stone breaking, window cleaning, that sort of thing. Childish high spirits are something to be broken, not encouraged.”

3. “What have the schools been teaching my son?” yells angry mother @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ as she drags her spotty teenage sprog into your office. As your guards attempt to remove her, she employs some impressive ju-jitsu to send them flying. “He has turned into an obsessed robot, with more respect for @@LEADER@@ than for his own parents! I will not let my son join an organisation for brainwashed punks! I will not let you do this to anybody’s children! We, the people, say no to state-directed youth organisations!”

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#643: No Small Wonder [Henuld; ed: Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
With economic growth skyrocketing and @@NAME@@'s prosperity rising, prominent business leaders have come to you with proposals to construct a national wonder as a symbol of these successes.

The Debate
1. “To mark this golden age,” declares Leo Tallstoy, CEO of Sky High Company, sitting upright with high hopes, “I suggest we build the tallest building in @@REGION@@! Not only can we finally snatch that tallest building record from the United Federation, but it will break whatever doubts our citizens have about @@NAME@@’s future! It will boost the economy and will be a good source of morale and patriotism. When aiming high, nothing’s worth the sky!”

2. “Why not aim just slightly higher?” asks Anais Skywalker, CEO of Colossal Works Industries, while putting an arm around your shoulder and pointing to a hole in your ceiling you hadn’t noticed previously. “Instead of the conventional skyscraper, we could build a space elevator? We have enough money, resources, and initiative to make sure our @@TYPE@@ is the first to develop one! We’ll need to overcome some tricky technical challenges, but such is the burden of the true pioneer! It’ll benefit us in space exploration, and that will serve to strengthen the legacy of our golden age!”

3.“Have you ever heard of the saying ‘too tall to fall?’” inquires Hugh Mongo, another CEO of a large construction company, who barely fits through your doorway. “Or was it ‘too big to fail?’ Anyway, I think that the answer to mark @@NAME@@ successes is not with something tall, but great. And by great, I mean wide, like a ziggurat or a pyramid. It’s waaay safer than some thousand-story death trap, but it will last for thousands of years without any expensive maintenance. How’s that for a fair bargain?”

4. “Psh,” scoffs Marleen Dodinas, one of your more casual advisers, as she rolls her eyes. “It’s true that @@NAME@@ has reached its zenith, but there is such a thing as modesty. In fact, we could very well do with regulations on the tall and big buildings we already have instead. They are symbols of arrogance, acrophobia... and suggestive imagery. Have you ever seen what the @@CAPITAL@@ Building resembles from a certain angle?”

5. “What’s with @@NAME@@’s obsession with making things all big and futuristic? Compensating for something?” mocks Kendall Rikkard, a gaudy Marche Norian artist-architect. “In Marche Noire we pride ourselves on our spectacular construction projects, some of which are still standing after a thousand years. Our buildings have an ageless and classical beauty to them as opposed to your modern monstrosities. Take a look at our majestic Maxmillia Familia. Granted it’s been under construction for a hundred years, but it’s a far sight prettier than anything proposed here. Take a lesson from the pros, people.”

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#644: The Old Grey Matter [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
When newspaper The @@CAPITAL@@ Herald referred to over 65s as “society’s growing burden” and as “unproductive leeches”, there was outrage amongst the eldest generation. Looking to prove them wrong, a number of them have ganged together to create the Violet Hat Society - a gathering of retirees who are volunteering to contribute to the greater good. They’ve asked you how they can help serve @@NAME@@.

The Debate
1. “I think we’ve got a lot to teach the younger generation,” says Violet Hat founder @@RANDOMNAME@@, putting the finishing touches to an impressive watercolour landscape. “Perhaps we could set up an official Advice Service, to pass the wisdom of a life of experience on to the younger generation?”

[2]. "Personally, I've always wanted to see Brancaland," hints society member @@RANDOMNAME@@, packing a beige floral-print trolley-suitcase. "If the government could see its way to subsidising travel for the elderly, we could spread across the world and sing the praises of our homeland. It'd be good for the @@TYPE@@'s international image, and good for my tan. Win-win, right?" [emigration is legal]

3. “If they really want to help, how about running some childcare for my rugrats?” asks working single dad @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, as he forks over 100 @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ to a gum-chewing young lady that you presume must be his babysitter. “It’d mean people like me could get to work, and maybe even engage in... uh... social activities.” He gives a quick guilty glance at the high-heel wearing girl as she leaves.

4. “Aren’t they lovely, these old gents and biddies?” asks thirty-year old @@RANDOMNAME@@, unaware how condescending this sounds. “No, no, we don’t need them to do anything! They’ve worked away and now they must retire and enjoy the sunshine. They can leave running the country to the young and healthy, while they go play bingo or work their allotments, or whatever it is that crusty old people like to do. Get these Purple Cap People - or whatever they call themselves - to form a working committee where they can debate with each other and keep out of everyone else’s way, then make a policy of ignoring whatever they come up with.”

5. “If they’re healthy and capable, shouldn’t they be in the workplace?” asks tax-paying twenty-something @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Let’s do away with the idea of pensions and retirement, then they can keep contributing economically instead of spending their time pottering about, interfering with everything and asking their grand-kids when they’re going to settle down and stop traveling. Or something.”

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#645: An Unwarranted Intrusion [North China and New India; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
When maverick cop Fang Bullock suspected that city worker Gregory Cobblepot had kidnapped 13-year-old Coraline with murderous intentions, she knew that by the time she applied for a search warrant the poor teen could already be dead. She kicked the door down, and saved the day. In the aftermath, many are asking if she did the right thing, and what lessons Conoistre could learn here.

The Debate

1. “Why do we even need search warrants anyways?” asks gung-ho police officer @@RANDOMNAME@@, grizzled long-time partner of the hero cop. “All this bureaucracy does is make it harder for us to find the people responsible for crimes. If you have nothing to hide, then what’s the problem?”

2. “That’s typical police state thinking! Proper procedure protects the populace!” exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, a representative of anti-corruption foundation World Of Watchdog. “We need to make it clear that a search warrant must be attained before forced entry, and we should prosecute this officer for breach of procedure! Can you imagine the police busting in while you’re sharing an intimate moment with your partner? Can you imagine if a cop with a grudge against you decides to break in and wreak havoc with your house on a whim? Is that what you want?”

3. “We do need warrants for sure, but sometimes officers see something that causes them to make a split second decision, when they have act immediately for the common good, without going through all the proper steps first,” says Chief Lauren Jekyll of the @@CAPITAL@@ Police Department. “I think we should judge breaks in protocol by the results. If the suspects were hiding something, then no problem. But if it the officer finds nothing, then we have to judge whether their actions were reasonable, or illegal.”

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#646: Lesson Learnt [Kynotsu ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Statisticians have noted that the prisons of @@NAME@@ are filled disproportionately by the uneducated poor. Many are now debating the advantages of offering education to inmates during their sentences.

The Debate

1. “It’s astonishing that we didn’t think of this before,” admits Junior Education Minister @@RANDOMNAME@@. “If we provide employment-oriented and life-skill education opportunities, we can turn these crooks into productive citizens! Getting jobs will get them out of a life of crime, and keep them out of prison.”

2. “That’s absolutely ridiculous!” yells retired prison guard @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Criminals are in prison to serve time! What sort of punishment or deterrent is a free evening class? If we educate them and then let them back out into the world, we’ve just created smarter criminals! Make prisons tougher, not cushier... You want to teach these scum a lesson? I got a cat o’ nine tails right here...”

3. “Look, lack of formal education doesn’t mean criminals are ignorant, just that they have specialised skills,” observes primary schoolteacher @@RANDOMNAME@@, handing out ’You’re Special Too!’ stickers to everyone in the room. “Rather that starting from scratch, why not recognise what skills they have and try to find them suitable work? Murderer? Put that killer instinct to use in the army. Arsonist? Get that knowledge of fire into supervising controlled forest fires. Burglar? Re-purpose those skills in climbing and fine motor control into telephone line repair. It’s all about valuing people for who they actually are.”

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#647: Songbirds' Decline Ruffle Feathers [Ransium; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Biologists and birding enthusiasts alike are squawking over the recent yearly declines in the numbers of many migratory songbird species, particularly the @@NAME@@ Breegull. After some study, the unifying factor in the species experiencing decline is that their migratory paths takes them over Tasmania. Coincidentally, Tasmania is known to consider migratory songbirds a delicacy. Your cabinet has convened to discuss the matter.

The Debate
*1. “Those Tasmanians must be taught a lesson!” screeches @@RANDOMNAME@@, your hawkish Minister of Defense, who has never found a war he didn’t like. “If Tasmania’s utter contempt for environmental stewardship, and our nation’s well-known love of bats…” He pauses as an aide taps him on the shoulder and whispers in his ear. He continues: “...and our nation’s well-known love of songbirds doesn’t convince you, what will? Perhaps military jets escorting the precious butterflies through Tasmania might work. If someone tries to so much lay a hand on one those flying fish, then we’ll bomb ‘em back to the stone age!” [Must have a military]

*2. “Those Tasmanians must be taught a lesson!” screeches @@RANDOMNAME@@, your hawkish Minister of Defense, who has never found a war he didn’t like. “If Tasmania’s utter contempt for environmental stewardship, and our nation’s well-known love of bats…” He pauses as an aide taps him on the shoulder and whispers in his ear. He continues: “...and our nation’s well-known love of songbirds doesn’t convince you, what will? Perhaps troop escorts for those precious butterflies through Tasmania might work. And if someone tries to so much lay a hand on one those flying fish, then we’ll blow ‘em back to the stone age!” [Must not have a military]

3. “I’d like to suggest another approach.” coos @@RANDOMNAME@@, your more dovish Environment Minister. “Clearly we value songbirds alive and uneaten, and Tasmania does not. We just need to make Tasmania value songbirds as much as we do. What if we estimated the relevant migratory songbird population each year and paid Tasmania a small amount of Flowers for each migratory bird that makes it here? Peaceful and fair.”

4. “How about none of that?” clucks @@RANDOMNAME@@, your eagle-eyed Finance Minister while poring over a report on government revenue collected through coins tossed in wishing fountains. “We can’t keep frivolously throwing our citizens’ hard-earned tax @@CURRENCY@@ at every little problem. They’re just some dumb birds - let’s just leave the government out of things for once! In fact, with less songbirds surely we can cut back our budget for parks a bit?”

5. “What if we trained the birds to stop migrating?” warbles the somewhat unhinged bird fancier known as ‘The Bird Lady’, seen wearing a giant bird costume, and whose number you’ve been meaning to give to ‘Doctor Bees’. “I love it here, and migratory songbirds should too! All we have to do is get baby birds to imprint on government handlers, and then teach the birds to fly around @@NAME@@ in circles. Then we’ll be able to keep them to ourselves, protect them, and give the birds the love they need all year round. It’ll be a lark!”

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#648: Confessions Of A Dirty Mind [Nation of Quebec; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
After twelve years of detective work notorious serial killer @@RANDOMFEMALEFIRSTNAME@@ Lecter has finally been apprehended by the authorities. During questioning, it became apparent that she had already guiltily confessed her crimes in great detail ten years ago, but only to a local priest. He not only forgave her, but chose to keep the confession secret. Now the police have arrested the clergyman, claiming ten years of police work and five more murders were at least partly the result of this silence.

The Debate
1. "The confessional seal and the absolute duty of non-disclosure are core tenets of our beliefs," explains cleric @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, from his police cell. "Our holy texts command that we offer forgiveness to the truly repentant. At that time, the woman was incredibly shaken by the crimes she had committed. I make no apologies for acting as I did. Secular law enforcement is your concern, while my concern is the immortal souls of all mankind. Let's keep the two separate, shall we?"

2. "The guilty will say anything to save their skin," growls police officer @@RANDOMNAME@@, who always plays the 'bad cop' during interrogations. "In all honesty, I don't give a flying @@ANIMAL@@ turd what this crackpot's religion tells him. He is an accessory to murder, and because he didn't call the police like a responsible citizen, five young victims are dead! Religion doesn't entitle you to break the law. As long as you live in @@NAME@@, you abide by OUR laws, not your phoney-baloney god's."

3. "Holy laws do indeed transcend the puny rules of the mundane!" declares the elderly former leader of The Flying Suns UFO cult, emerging from his underground bunker for the first time in decades. "Laws of faith come straight from infallible divinity, not from weak and fallible Man! All religions understand this truth, no matter who they worship, so all religions must have the right to put their holy beliefs ahead of mortal law. If you do not heed this warning, you will all perish in a fiery hell-storm when the Ancient Discs of Mu return from beyond the stars!"

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#649: Made In Maxtopia [Siarki; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
When ultra-cheap underwear imports from Maxtopia drove a local factory into bankruptcy, the newly unemployed factory workers surrounded you during a press conference to demand you protect local manufacturing by any means necessary.

The Debate
1. "Save our jobs!" begs a recently unemployed worker, @@RANDOMNAME@@, who seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. "I put years of my own sweat into that factory textile job, figuratively and literally. It's the only work I know. Please, @@LEADER@@, implement tariffs or subsides to keep alive the domestic clothing industry. Otherwise we'll be thrown out on our asses, forced to buy shoddy Maxtopian undergarments."

2. "We have the freedom to know what we are buying!" exclaims an unusually patriotic consumer advocate, while barging into the crowd of workers and ferociously waving @@A@@ @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ flag. "When I buy me a new pair of underpants, I wanna see that 'Made In @@NAME@@' tag to let me know I am getting the best of all possible underpants. Absolutely everything for sale should say where it came from. That way we'll know to buy local, and this problem will probably fix itself."

3. "Why have Maxtopian imports at all?" rhetorically asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, who runs the local store where you used the toilet without buying anything the other day. "Or, for that matter, from anywhere? We've been dependent on foreign imports for way too long. @@NAME@@ needs to strive to be an economically and ecologically self-sufficient nation, where everything is made by our fellow citizens. Other countries might be able to make things cheaper, but no one works with as much pride as us @@DEMONYMNOUNPLURAL@@!"

4. "Wait!" interrupts @@RANDOMNAME@@, the owner of @@NAME@@'s largest department store, Humongo-Mart. "Okay, sure, maybe 'Made In Maxtopia' means slightly lower quality, but Maxtopian manufacturing is so very cheap! Sure, I had to replace my Maxtopian toaster three times last year because of a few teeny-tiny explosions, but that still cost me less than buying one locally-manufactured toaster! Have some common sense, @@LEADER@@, and allow free trade."

5. "There's an easier way to appease the masses," whispers your Minister of Foreign Trade, @@RANDOMNAME@@, while handing you the latest briefs. "Let's keep importing things from other nations, but we can pretend that everything was made in @@NAME@@. Put flag stickers on every conceivable product, tell the people that we're self-sufficient, and beef up the security at all ports. Then bam: the customers are happy, the department stores are happy, and our economy can keep importing essential resources. And of course anyone that mentions our hypocrisy aloud will be... punished."

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#650: Political Hacks [Nation of Quebec; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue

Hacktivist group KwikiLeaks revealed the existence of the so-called Trolls From @@CAPITAL@@, a government-sponsored organization designed to spread pro-@@NAME@@ propaganda throughout the internet. The group has recently been caught instigating a separatist movement in Brancaland, and you’ve personally been made aware that they were responsible for unleashing the dreaded DEAT virus in Marche Noire. Concerned “netizens” are asking you whether this group is acting beyond its mandate.

The Debate
1. “We should be giving these heroes a medal, not condemning them!” exclaims your paranoid Propaganda Minister while checking the room for bugs. “It’s obvious that Marche Noire and Brancaland were plotting attacks! Why else would Brancaland be hiking maple syrup prices? What we need is more funding and manpower to continue the fine work of my ministry. With a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse, we can destabilize our enemies... or at least distract them from more pressing matters!”

2. “Spreading propaganda was one thing, attacks on sovereign nations is another,” rebuffs Angela Nimoy, the Brancalandian Ambassador, seen dressed in the traditional Brancalandian parka. “Thanks to these @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ sponsored cyber-terrorists, the province of Quaybeck is launching a violent separatist movement! These hackers are an international menace, and you must do something aboot it! Shut these trolls down and extradite them. Or you’ll be sorry!”

3. “Are you going to let these foreigners walk all over us?” asks your Interior Minister who simply wants this issue to be dealt with before tonight’s episode of CSI: @@CAPITAL@@ airs. “We obviously don’t want to risk our friendship with Brancaland or make things worse with Marche Noire. These brave keyboard warriors just need a little policing. I can rein these groups in and remind them of their original mandate, which is to spread love, not war.”

4. “Why not disown this Trolls From @@CAPITAL@@ and state that Kwikileaks is in the pockets of East Lebatuck?” suggests your easily distracted Minister of Technology while playing Maxémon Woah on her phone. “This gives you more wiggle room to allow these groups to fight it amongst themselves. So what if they end up starting a few international incidents or if those reds in East Lebatuck retaliate? What’s the worst that could happen?”

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#651: Black Days For @@NAME@@ [The United Providences of Perland; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Annually, retailers in @@NAME@@ mark down their prices a bit and sell “limited edition” items. This year, the usual frenzy of crazed customers fighting over toasters and flat screen TVs escalated to new levels. Cut-price madness may well have tipped into societal insanity: maybe you should do something to fix the situation.

The Debate
1. “Look what those savages did to me!” yells @@RANDOMNAME@@, an aggrieved customer waving a bandaged wrist stump at you. “I was trying to scan my credit card for a blender, and a wacko cut my hand off and stole the blender. The same guy also stuffed my leg into this peg leg. Now mind you, my leg is still in there, but I can’t get the damned thing off! You should ban one day discount events, and force any discount applied to be sustained for at least a week. If not for public safety, then do it in tribute to my hand!”

2. “That’s insane... A bit like our Low Low Prices!” retorts sales rep @@RANDOMNAME@@, aiming an exaggerated wink and a cheeky smile at you. “Look, our sales quintuple during discount events. Spending drives the economy, and this generates the tax that lets you run your government. So, everyone benefits! In fact, you should make it a nation holiday so people can get off from work and fight... uh, I mean compete... with each other for new stuff!”

3. “Or, we could have a slight compromise,” states @@RANDOMNAME@@, head of contractor firm International Retail Security. “The presence of trained security professionals can achieve up to seventy-five percent fewer deaths in-store! You should allow these ‘super sales’, but require stores to hire private security to make sure no one kills each other. That way, the business owners get to make lots of @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@, but the public stays safe.”

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#652: Mayday! Mayday! [Outer Sparta; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Three weeks ago Oceanic Airlines Flight 209 disappeared from radar, and now a crash has been confirmed, with debris scattered across the sea, and the missing two hundred passengers and crew officially declared dead and lost. This tragedy was only the most recent airplane catastrophe departing from @@NAME@@, and anxious flyers are demanding immediate safety improvements.

The Debate
1. "Clearly these disasters mean we are long overdue for new aircraft," states Oceanic Airlines CEO @@RANDOMNAME@@ while playing with a model jet. "These crashes are caused by outdated, crumbling, and ugly aircraft like the Moeing 606 and the Airtrolley T300. In fact, the average age of any given plane is thirty years! We live in a technological and automated world. It's time our planes joined the modern world, too! We can build a next generation fleet if the government gave us some funding. Then our skies and safety reputation will be second to none!"

2. "Our aircraft aren't the problem, it's who's flying the plane!" replies pilot Hudson Sullenburger, running a flight simulator for students. "Did you know that pilot error is the number one cause of accidents? They've become lazy, sleep-deprived, and constantly tardy! We need more stringent measures on the training of pilots. We can introduce more intense and hands-on testing and ban anyone without a license from flying. Flying a plane is much more complex than video games make them look." The trainer now looks at the class and picks on a student. "Now Joey, you ever been in a cockpit before? Or have you seen gladiator movies?"

3. "I see these crashes all the time," sighs @@RANDOMNAME@@, a lead investigator of aviation crashes. "The reason they disappear from radar is because they break up mid-flight. Maintenance is the obvious problem. We need to require airlines and airports to perform constant maintenance checks on all aircraft and ground any plane with the slightest defect. Yes, that might be costly, but not maintaining planes is even costlier."

4. "Do you know how much time and money I waste dealing with all these regulations?" rhetorically asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of Budget Air, an airline so cheap that passengers have to pay extra to have a seat. "We're talking about metal boxes flying at 20,000 feet in the sky. Of course things are bound to go wrong once in a while! To make things worse my staff are constantly harassed by these government goons. No wonder my pilots are stressed out! The government needs to get off our backs and let us handle things ourselves!"

5. "I know a perfect solution!" joyously suggests train enthusiast @@RANDOMNAME@@. "The solution is to ban all airplanes! Not only are they clearly unsafe, they're loud, ugly, and are a big contributor to greenhouse gases! Surely we can rely on safer transportation, like trains or boats, for travel. They're much less susceptible to delays, crashes, and only a fraction of a pollutant compared to planes! All we need is more funding for public transit. You call them slow. I call them scenic."

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#653: A Cloak And Syringe Operation [Ransium; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Vague intelligence reports suggest yet another terrorist attack on @@NAME@@ is being planned by Ultra-Violet, an especially extreme and hateful Violetist terrorist group from Tasmania. However, information is sketchy at best and the general feeling is that boots-on-the-ground intelligence will be needed to effectively assess and counter the potential threat.

The Debate
1. “Look, Leader, I’m going to be straight with you: there’s no nice or pretty solution here,” states Intelligence Director @@RANDOMNAME@@, who is leading the search for Ultra. “We don’t have many Tasmanian contacts. Citizens of @@NAME@@ are viewed with extreme suspicion there, especially in the more rural areas that Ultra-Violet recruits from. My agents can pose as doctors who are vaccinating Tasmanians as part of the ongoing Spoon Pox eradication efforts. Doing this, they’ll be able to travel to the places they need to go, plant deep cover agents within the enemy ranks, and get critical intel to counter this terrorist threat.”

2. “You can’t do that!” gasps @@RANDOMNAME@@, a member of the international non-governmental organization Doctors Without Quarters, who’s been crashing in one of your guest bedrooms for the past few weeks. “In a few years, our program may be able to eradicate Spoon Pox entirely. And it’s not just Spoon Pox... we’ve been vaccinating against other preventable diseases too, like Yellow Tongue and the dreaded Bendy Creaks. Your deceptions risk the credibility of all international medical aid efforts, and could set public health back by decades!”

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#654: Not So Cool Aid? [Gnejs; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
A review of @@NAME@@'s foreign aid commitments in the fourth world recently uncovered that large parts of relief funds have trouble reaching the people truly in need. Excessive bureaucracy in the distribution system and widespread corruption at the receiving end are being flagged as major obstacles.

The Debate
1. “This confirms all of my suspicions,” smugly states @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, Minister for Modest Living and Curtailed Spending, known for his heart of stone. “These fancy-named programs - like that ‘Rural-Urban Sustainability Engagements’ - do nothing but finance the decadent luxuries of tinpot dictators: private submarine strip-clubs and collections of gilded banana hammocks! Cut all foreign aid funding and put that money back in our pockets!”

2. “That’s painting an extremely one-sided, and state-centric, image of reality,” counters @@RANDOMNAME@@, a hip intern at Maxham Multinational. “If your minister had bothered reading beyond the tabloidy parts of the review, he’d see that some of the programs are actually doing wonders, like the well-known ‘Condensed Renewable Aggregation Production’. You know the common denominator of the successful ones? They’re not run by the government. Instead of mindlessly dropping all your funding, how about turning it all over to us? We’ll completely eliminate the bureaucratic mess you have today, and we’ll publish really tasteful brochures about everything that went well.”

3. “You do know what ‘NGO’ stands for, right?” queries your trusted civil servant @@RANDOMNAME@@. “It’s ‘Non-Governable Ordeals’, that’s what it is. I’m sure these... people... have pure hearts, but they’re not going to settle; they’ll have lobbyists out day and night pushing for you to increase their share of our budget. Let me and my colleagues at the Department of Bureaucratic Oversight take over our aid commitments. We’ll ensure proper implementation in no time, and with only a slight overhead.”

[4]. “Why do we care about poor people in places we can’t pronounce anyway?” your brother asks frankly, stabbing a virtual beggar in his Panty Theft Auto video game. “Those images of starving children are so passé, and no amount of conscience-cash is going to change a thing. Use that money to prop up some of our domestic industries, like, I don’t know, video games, maybe? It’s just a matter of time before the problem fades away, I mean, like literally!” [Video games are legal]

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#655: No Bones About It [ProPublica; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A group of religious fanatics have broken into the @@CAPITAL@@ Natural History Museum and destroyed a 75 million-year-old Gorgosaurus skeleton - the only one of its kind in @@NAME@@.

The Debate
1. “Those maniacs! They blew it all up! Damn them!” wails Dr. Alana Grant, pop-palaeontologist and author of the dubiously-researched Tyrannosaurs of the Jurassic, falling to her knees in horror. “Skeletons like this one provide rare and valuable insight about the history of life on our planet. We must do everything we can to stop these fools from destroying important scientific artifacts! Fortify and defend our museums, by violent means if necessary!”

2. Dr. Maurice Zaius, self proclaimed defender of the faith, slams his religion’s holy scrolls down on your desk, smashing your collection of rare ammonites. “These devout believers were doing the work of the Divine! These demon-lizards are fakes, from the depths of damnation! They are fabrications, to promote the ungodly theory that I call EVIL-lution. We should shut down these houses of lies that call themselves museums, and instead create temples that teach only Holy Truth. Sic semper tyrannosaurus!”

3. Mathematician Lucy Wu, wearing a #notallpriests T-shirt has the decency to look embarrassed by the previous speaker. “I’m thinking the underlying problem here is that followers of science and religion are always taught to be adversarial to each other. Couldn’t we address that instead, with government-sponsored Faith Academies reconciling the scientific method with theological debate? Many of the greatest advancements were historically made by faith-led nations. Shall we see if we can join them?”

4. “This raises an interesting point,” muses patriotic soldier Victoria Hoskins. “I hear these dinosaurs were gigantic, killer monsters that ate flesh and struck fear into all who opposed them! Forget the bones of the past - you should be resurrecting those beasts to attack the enemies of @@NAME@@. Imagine a pack of hungry Velociraptors, tearing apart your terrified foes!”

[5]. “I’m kind of not seeing the big deal here,” says dino-wranglerEwen Grady, riding an impressively large and flatulent pentaceratops into your presence. “I mean, it’s just a theropod skeleton. We got a few living and breathing theros, including some of this species. Tell you what, boss, I’ll donate the museum some new bones, and in return maybe you can subsidise our apatosaurus ranch?” [Must have dinosaurs]
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#656: Ransoms Noted [The United States of Merca; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Five @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ journalists were captured and taken hostage by violent extremist rebels in unstable southern Maxtopia, and the captors are demanding a million @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ per hostage for their safe return.

The Debate
1. “These brave souls need to be brought home safely!” wails @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, father to one of the journalists. “We can’t afford that sort of money, but you, the government can! Show some heart, @@LEADER@@, and don’t stand in the way of my son’s freedom.”

2. “If they’re looking for money, they should know that we don’t have it to give to them,” argues former intelligence operative Neil Liamson. “But what we do have is a particular set of skills acquired over many years in government... I’m talking about reactionary counter-terrorist legislation! Let’s make paying ransoms a felony, and use the hostage situation to justify an increase in domestic surveillance and security. As for this situation, send in the special forces. We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

[3]. Wild-haired scientist @@RANDOMNAME@@ barrels into your office, panting heavily. “Stop! We CAN have our cake and eat it too! We should make the drop, but insist on cash payment. Then, we liberally irradiate the bank-notes, and watch as the hostage-takers, their associates and their families die from radiation poisoning. That basically solves the problem!” [Must have physical currency]

4. “You know, one of the hostages is the son of one of our closest media allies...” murmurs @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of your policy advisors. “Can’t we publicly take a firm stance against terrorism, but privately strike a hush-hush deal with the terrorists? We can trade arms to them on the quiet, and they can make sure that they don’t hurt anyone important.”

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#657: Put A Fence Around The Commons Floor? [Nation of Quebec; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Protesting a recent policy decision you made, one of your prominent cabinet ministers, Judas Benedict, today crossed the floor and joined the main opposition party. You and some more loyal ministers are now holding an emergency debate on this.

The Debate
1. “Floor-crossing is against democracy!” roars your Majority Whip, literally taking a birch rod to the backside of a recalcitrant backbencher. “Not only is floor-crossing a betrayal of the the party, it is a betrayal of the voters who elect politicians on the basis of their political party. When politicians leave their party they must resign and seek re-election.”

2. “@@LEADER@@, the only reason you’re getting upset is because one of yours came to us,” gloats the Leader of the Opposition, helping himself to a sandwich from your lunchbox. “Sometimes people have a change of heart and begin to see the world in a different light. It is the right of every person and politician to ally themselves with whatever party best suits their conscience. The people give democratic mandate to the individual, who then uses it according to best judgement.”

3. “I have a solution that renders the whole problem of floor-crossing moot,” interjects independent politician @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ from the back of the crowded room, hoping you’ll notice her. “Why don’t we simply scrap all political parties and have every politician run as an independent? Think about it! Partisan loyalty is a barrier to true freedom. Let politicians campaign on their individual merits, and represent no-one but themselves.”

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#658: A Sickening Dilemma [Ransium; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
After encouraging the anti-vaccination movement, vaccine rates have continued to drop while Rubellan Measles has reached epidemic levels. As thousands more grow ill every day, voices across the nation are pleading with you to do something before the situation becomes completely untenable.

The Debate
1. “I warned you there would be consequences to encouraging this anti-vaccine movement!” reminds your Health Minister, ominously decked out in a full hazmat suit. “With drastic action we might still be able to right this ship: declare martial law, prevent all non-essential personnel from leaving their homes, and proclaim mandatory hospital quarantines for anyone who might be showing symptoms. With emergency funding for healthcare and the military, @@NAME@@ will endure. This may be a bitter pill to swallow, but without it, the results would be absolutely ghastly. And for Violet’s sake, bring back a comprehensive vaccination program!”

2. “That would be horrendously expensive!” cries one of your more brutal body guards. “I have a solution that’s slightly more... direct. I say we take care of the problem before it can spread further. Put me in charge of a ‘Sanitation Squad’ and anyone who starts to show any signs of being sick with Rubellan Measles will be taken care of if you know what I mean.” He gestures at his weapon. “If everyone who is sick is ‘removed’, we will be disease free overnight.”

3. “Domina Hyacinthinum, dona eis requiem,” chants local abbot, Father @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, while walking into the meeting and whacking himself in the head with a board. “Blessings, Scipio. Rubellan Measles is clearly a plague sent by Violet to deal with the sinners in @@NAME@@. If you tell the people to live their lives according to Violet’s will and order them to engage in daily self-flagellation, then faster than you can say ‘Amen’, Rubellan Measles will be a thing of the past!”

4. “I’ve been thinking,” posits @@RANDOMNAME@@, who happens to be a Rubellan Measles survivor, “maybe this whole thing isn’t as bad as everyone is making it out to be? I mean sure lots of people are dying, but what about survival of the fittest, and all that? The end result from all this will eventually be a more disease resistant populace. Too much medical spending is wasted on keeping those alive that, to be perfectly frank, nature and genetics doesn’t intend to let live.”

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#659: Ramping Up The Difficulty [Singapore no2; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Earlier this week, you were supposed to meet with the first disabled team of explorers to conquer the icy slopes of the Bigtopian tundra. However, your office proved to be inaccessible to the adventurers and the meeting was cancelled. Disability awareness groups are outraged that those with impairments can't access government buildings, many of which provide them the help and support they need.

The Debate
1. "We must put an end to the discrimination against people with disabilities," declares @@RANDOMNAME@@, the spokesperson of the awareness group All Access, through a speech synthesizer. "Many of us face great difficulty in climbing steps, reading text, or listening to auditory sources or conveying messages. The government must improve the accessibility to premises and information so that we are treated fairly and have the ability to contribute to society."

2. "It might sound nice to have more ramps and guide dogs, but the real problem isn't infrastructure, it's society's treatment of the intellectually and physically disadvantaged," observes @@RANDOMNAME@@, a concerned parent. "If people had stopped to open doors, and to help the disabled athletes up the steps, then we wouldn't need special adaptations to the buildings. Kindness and helpfulness should be taught at school, with kids learning to assist those who need help and to stop bullying them because they're different. That's the way to go forward."

3. "Hold on a minute! Making modifications to historic government buildings is cultural vandalism and awfully expensive!" objects @@RANDOMNAME@@, your rather obsessive Minister of @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Heritage. "We can't destroy centuries' worth of history and deface the structures with modern architecture just to improve accessibility! I sympathize with these people's plight, but our culture and history are too important to destroy!"
Last edited by Jutsa on Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:47 am, edited 43 times in total.

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Jutsa
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Founded: Dec 06, 2015
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NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#660: Are We Being Served? [Lancaster of Wessex; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A broad survey of retail customers conducted across @@NAME@@ has revealed increasingly dismay with shoddy customer service, with especial complaints about staff being rude and unhelpful. One leisurely morning you decide to go undercover, to collect opinions from staff in one of the nation’s largest department stores: Greys Brothers.

The Debate
1. The elevator opens at the Ladies and Gentlemen’s Department, and the floor manager - sporting a red carnation and identifying himself as Major @@RANDOMMALEFIRSTNAME@@ @@ANIMAL@@ - pushes his views on you. “Poor service? Blame the imbeciles who work here, the counter staff. They have had no proper education, many did not even graduate from university, let alone serve time in the military, like I did, heroically, in the Great Brasilistani War. If you want quality service to flourish, then compulsory military service will teach respect to these scallywags!”

2. After you extricate yourself, you engage in a brief chat with two floor staff who are just returning from their mid-morning coffee break, Betty Sugden and Wilberforce Inman. “The reason we’re unhappy,” declares Mrs. Sugden, “is because we are constantly late due to overcrowded buses and trains! Even if I’m one second late, I get told off for it! Is it any wonder that I’m so wound up that I snap at people? I’m so upset when I get home that I end up being mean to my poor pussy!” After an awkward pause, Mr. Inman interjects. “She means her cat. But she’s right! With lives as hard as ours, it is any wonder that men swear? You should provide more transport, so that there’s always an empty seat calling out ’I’m freeeee!’ on the buses!”

3. As you make your way towards the elevator to leave, you are approached and then harangued by the elderly and curmudgeonly head of the Gent’s section, a Mr. Ernest Stranger, and you briefly explain the reason for your visit. “Rude? RUDE? Who says we’re rude! Get me a glass of water Mr. Inman!” He collapses into a chair. “I’ve been serving for over 35 years, I damn well don’t need any advice on how to treat customers! In fact, if these customers don’t meet my standards, I should have the right to refuse to serve them, full stop - make it law! Now since you’re not going to buy anything, you’ll excuse me, I have to go put in my afternoon set of teeth.”

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#661: Scouting For Boys, Girls... Anyone? [Golgothastan; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
The @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Scouts, a volunteer youth group that teaches boys and girls outdoor survival skills, are reporting sharply declining numbers. The organization’s annual meet was attended by just seven and a half Scouts (as there was an unfortunate accident involving a canoe made out of recycled soup cans). Some within the community are urging the government to help revive interest in outdoor pursuits among young people.

The Debate
1. “Dear Leader, we humbly beg your favor!” is spelled out in woodcraft sign language on a poster decorated with pictures of tents, trees, and wild @@ANIMALPLURAL@@. The Scout who brought the poster into your office begins to explain, “Scouting has really suffered from a lack of state support. We give back to the community, learn valuable life skills, and get to socialize with other young people, all in the spirit of @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ patriotism. And with some government funding, maybe we could afford some slightly less frayed guide ropes for our climbing wall?”

2. “Scouting is a hobby, nothing more,” grumbles notoriously @@CURRENCY@@-pinching auditor @@RANDOMNAME@@. “What’s next, are we going to start giving subsidies to model aircraft building clubs? Knitting circles? Mustache enthusiasts? Treasury funds are for essential projects only. If the Scouts can’t get by without state support, then they should go out of business like any other private organization would.”

3. “You’re talking about ending a tradition of Scouting that goes back more than a century!” complains @@RANDOMNAME@@, a military historian who has won several awards for exceptionally dry accounts of dramatic battles. “I got my start in fieldcraft as a Scout, just like many of our nation’s greatest heroes. The young people of today don’t know what they’re missing out on. In fact, maybe if you forced them all to join the Scouts, they’d soon see what fun it was!”

4. “All this tradition stuff is exactly why kids aren’t interested in Scouting anymore,” snarks your appallingly cynical niece, who only looks up from her phone to roll her eyes. “What use are badges for campfire building and map reading when we have central heating and GPS? If Scouting taught some more modern skills, maybe you’d have more young people interested.”

[5]. “If it’s just a matter of money, then perhaps I can be of assistance?” oozes industrial magnate Kanya Yeats, looking up from an Ayn Bland e-book. “My firm has offered to sponsor the Scouts before, but unfortunately those pesky child safety laws have prevented us from offering them a truly rounded experience. What youngster wouldn’t love the chance to go sailing in a MaxCorp-branded dinghy, or hiking in a pair of new Zephyr Holdings-sponsored walking boots! Or even gain a little practical experience and valuable life training volunteering at our steel mills?” [Children may not work]

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#662: Playful Petitions Pester Politicians [Helaw; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
A petition calling for you to wear nothing but swimming attire and a top hat during speeches and public events was discussed in detail by the government, including a fierce debate on which colours would suit you best. After updating your wardrobe, and feeling angry and somewhat embarrassed, you called for a meeting with your advisers to discuss how ridiculous petitions seem to have become.

The Debate
1. “Your fashion choices aside, these petitions are getting out of hand,” claims a rather stressed-out aide after taking a nap on a mountain of petitions. “Not a day passes without me being inundated with senseless petitions, like asking us to ban breathing or to add whale surfing to the national curriculum. We should introduce petition curators to make sure that only the legitimate petitions make it through; they’ll cut out the... less desirable ones.”

2. “Why waste time with petitions anyway?” tuts one of your top staffers while absentmindedly shredding a petition to construct something called a ‘Death Star’. “These petitions are a waste of everyone’s time, and we’d be better off ignoring them. It’s not like their opinions matter. We shouldn’t concern ourselves with what - for instance - people think our public buildings should look like. Seriously, banana-shaped offices?”

3. “People have the right to sign some paper and complain about how things are being run,” presses one of your more eager assistants, who dreams of becoming a politician one day. “It doesn’t matter how ridiculous a petition may seem; it should be looked at in detail to see if it has merit, even if that requires extra work for us. There must be something useful to be found within them, surely...”

4. “I think this petition makes a very important point,” argues your Minister of Making Things Look Good, who also happens to be your personal hairstylist. “You could really do with a makeover! Everyone knows that your approval ratings would absolutely skyrocket, and that your speeches would have a new lease of life to them. After all, if a petition calls for you to change your appearance, then obviously people think you’d look better that way.”

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#663: A "Friend" In Need [Empire of Cats; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
The aggressive nation of Blackacre has been struck with a series of massive natural disasters that have killed tens of thousands and destroyed sanitation, transit, and economic infrastructure, with the likely consequence of great suffering for millions in the coming months. This has presented you with the moral quandary of whether or not you should come to the aid of a nation that has frequently declared its hatred for @@NAME@@ and the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ way of life.

The Debate
1. “Well, it serves them darn well right!” shouts your infuriated Minister of Defense, furiously kicking your expensive imported mahogany desk and sending your papers flying. “An eye for an eye, I say! They insulted us multiple times, and they got what they deserved. As a matter of fact, now is the perfect time to truly pay them back for their slander of our great nation! They want aid? How about we aid them by sending some missiles aimed right at their capital? That’ll show them!”

2. “Not that I don’t agree with Mr. Compassionate over here, but that particular method only seems to stir up unwanted trouble,” notes @@RANDOMNAME@@, @@NAME@@’s top chess master and military strategist. “Frankly, there’s a much better way of making our point without causing so much international outcry. Why not provide them aid, but so much of it that they become dependent on us for survival? Flood them with food, but do nothing to help their farmers. Supply them with power, but don’t build power infrastructure. Then, when they’ve lost any capacity to support themselves, start charging them! We can look good internationally while secretly waging war against their economy.”

3. “It’s just too much effort these days to try to take over another country,” sighs @@RANDOMNAME@@, former soldier and current aide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. “For that matter, it’s too much effort to even provide aid when we have so much to focus on here. Crime, poverty, resources, and all that. It’s a shame what’s happened, but we aren’t the only nation in the world. Let’s cut all aid. There’s probably some other nation that’ll be foolish enough to help them out, anyway.”

4. “Regardless of what Blackacre’s government’s actions have been in the past, there are millions of innocent civilians who are going to be harmed or even killed,” suggests your secretary while cleaning the mess of papers off your desk. “How would you feel if you were homeless and hungry, and others turned a blind eye? This is a humanitarian disaster. We need to send aid and do whatever we can to help. Helping them is the moral thing to do, and that’s all there is to it.”

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#664: Your Land Or Mine [Australian Repulic; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A large aluminium deposit has been found at @@ANIMAL@@ Hills, a remote area in @@NAME@@. The Environmental Agency is being unusually easy-going, citing minimal potential ecological impact and approving mining to go ahead. Only one obstacle exists - the deposit is right in the middle of a sacred area of the indigenous Pangaoaoangan tribe.

The Debate
1. “Did you know that aluminium is the second most commonly used metal in our economy, after steel?” quizzes aluminium afficionado and bauxite buff @@RANDOMNAMENAME@@, pointing to an ‘Ask Me About Electrolysis’ pin-badge proudly displayed on an ironed lapel. “This high quality deposit is a gold mine! Not literally of course, I’m just ‘funning’ with you. We’re talking minimal tailings, starting at just minus 100 metres! Isn’t that exciting? Oh my goodness, there’s so much we can do when we have aluminium! Why hesitate?”

2. “@@RANDOMNAME@@, you must see it from our side,” insists @@RANDOMNAME@@, a tribal elder wearing a sharp business suit and a worker’s hard hat. “Pullabooka - or as you call it - the @@ANIMAL@@ Hills, belongs to my people. You cut into it, and you’re not just profaning a holy site, you’re cutting us out of your society! Look, we’re not blind to your economic needs: if you want to mine your metal, why not start seventy miles to the north instead, across that river canyon, then tunnel your way across to the deep deposits? A thousand generations of my ancestors are watching you, @@LEADER@@. Do the right thing!”

3. “That sounds kind of expensive... bit of a dealbreaker if we can’t turn a profit,” muses @@RANDOMNAME@@, a spokesperson from @@CAPITAL@@ Mining Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility arm. “Look, we don’t need to convince ALL the locals. Let’s just convince the tribal council. They get a healthy inducement fee, say half from you and half from our company, and they can sign whatever papers we need to cover us from future legal challenges. I think, after all, money talks!”

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#665: In Nomine Ecclesia [Holy Oranz; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Troubled by the number of technophobic zealots, book burning fundamentalists, and knife-waving cultists constantly parading through your office, a coalition of concerned churchgoers are trying to remind you that organized religion can do good too.

The Debate
1. “Don’t let the weirdos and extremists color your perception,” pleads faith leader @@RANDOMNAME@@, dropping a bushel of pamphlets and tracts into your in-tray. “Followers of @@RELIGION@@ help the people of our good nation with a multitude of community outreach programs. We don’t need money, @@LEADER@@, but it’d set a great example to the people if you personally would head down to one of our shelters once a week to do some hands-on volunteer work, sing a few hymns, serve some soup to the homeless and hungry, that sort of thing. Just think, you could lead @@NAME@@ - or indeed all of @@REGION@@ - into a new age of altruism and charity!”

2. “Let’s not forget the festivals and the songs of praise,” adds @@RANDOMNAME@@, an enthusiastic community volunteer with an acoustic guitar. “@@RELIGION@@ has always been at the heart of our nation’s identity and culture, and I would say that the music is the route to brighter lives and stronger souls. I suggest you invest in a performance arena where we can all come together in celebration of the Divine. Who knows, it might even attract tourist pilgrims from far away lands.”

3. “Now hear the testimony of a proud son of @@RELIGION@@,” bellows televangelist @@RANDOMNAME@@, entering your office through a cloud of laser-filled mist and to a backdrop of deafening music. “The purpose of religion in society is the purpose of salvation. Ask not what @@RELIGION@@ can do for your nation, but what you can do for @@RELIGION@@. Fund me, and I can broadcast our holy message all across @@REGION@@! Donate now, @@LEADER@@, and save your soul. Praise be! PRAAAAAAISE BE!”

4. “Couldn’t help but overhear,” interrupts @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a retired history teacher apparently on a tour of the building, poking her head through the door of your office, “but if you ask me, the separation of church and state is fundamental to modern government. Taxpayer money should never be given to religions or religious organizations - we must rid you of turbulent priests! After all, have you seen how many of these religious nutters are technophobic zealots, book-burners, or knife wielding cultists?”

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#666: A Microchip On Your Shoulder [Minoa; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Contactless payment, internet banking and robust consumer credit mechanisms are already making shopping easier than any time in history. However, a technology think tank is proposing that you could stimulate the economy by going one step further, with universal subcutaneous microchips linked to a national @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Identity Database.

The Debate
1. @@RANDONMFIRSTNAME@@ Tenhorn, head of the think tank, is enthusiastic. “No need for wallets or purses any more: just walk out with the goods, and your credit account is updated! Also, you could link medical data, GPS-tracking, biometrics data... the benefits are legion! I mean, we’re not talking a barcode under your left eye or anything mad like that, just an unobtrusive digital implant, anywhere on the body. Oh brave new world, that has such gadgets in it!”

2. “We must reject the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Identity Database!” raves @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Apollyon, leader of the @@NAME@@ Resistance Against the Identity Database (@@NAMEINITIALS@@-RAID) campaign group. “In the name of ‘national security’, law-abiding citizens will end up being forced to lose their privacy. The right to use cash and hard currency is vital to protecting our rights to avoid taxat... uh... to avoid Orwellian monitoring!”

3. “That’s not enough!” screams conspiracy theorist Jonty Apostle, adjusting his tinfoil hat to keep radio waves out of his brain. “Do you know how many databases there are out there gathering intelligence on us all? Credit reports, search engine histories, e-mail archives, medical records, criminal records, driving licences... All these little revelations, and you still think it’s crazy when I say that we’re always being watched? @@LEADER@@, give people back their freedom! Ban government and corporations from tracking our data in any way!”

*4. "Look, we want to keep tabs on our population, but do we really need to deal with all this outrage?" muses Lucy Fir, a promising junior delegate from the Ministry of Creative Solutions. "Why not secretly implant the microchips in newborn babies during routine postnatal checks and in adults during dental work? Sure, people won't be able to shop with a chip that they don't know is there, but in terms of national security and crime prevention, secret surveillance is far more effective than open monitoring." [Citizens are not vat-grown]

*5. “Look, we want to keep tabs on our population, but do we really need to deal with all this outrage?” muses Lucy Fir, a promising junior delegate from the Ministry of Creative Solutions. “Why not secretly implant the microchips while people are still in the birthing vats? Sure, people won’t be able to shop with a chip that they don’t know is there, but in terms of national security and crime prevention, secret surveillance is far more effective than open monitoring.” [Citizens are vat-grown]

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#667: One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Recyclable [Socialist Nordia; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
A recent study by some self-righteous college students revealed that an alarming number of recyclable items are being thrown into the garbage. In order to bring more attention to this issue, a handful of particularly dedicated environmentalists - calling themselves ‘Save Our Trash’ - are camping out in the dumpster behind your home. They claim that they will not leave until the government takes action.

The Debate
1. “How can people care so little for Mother Earth?” grouses a grouchy, green-haired man named Oscar, who has taken up residence in one of your trash cans. “The government needs to do a hell of a lot more to inform people about the importance of recycling. You should throw everything you’ve got at the problem: public service announcements, sorting classes for the kids, bins in every conceivable place. You could even fine those lazy people who refuse to properly dispose of recyclables.”

2. “There’s no reason to punish @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ when industry bears most of the blame for pollution,” suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@ while struggling to open a hard plastic stay-fresh shell containing a pre-peeled banana. “By taxing inefficient manufacturers for all of this ridiculously excessive packaging, the government could discourage commercial waste and even make itself some money. Hey, an environmentalist policy that generates revenue - now there’s an idea.”

3. “Meh. Is this really such a big deal?” yawns city worker @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, finishing off his tea in a delicate porcelain cup, before throwing the whole thing into the nearest garbage can. “Being neurotic over trash just makes people unhappy and forces them to feel guilty about shopping. You should actually be encouraging people to throw stuff away without thinking too hard about it - a culture of disposable items drives consumption, which in turn makes for a strong economy. And that’s what matters.”

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#668: How To Examine Your Testees [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
At the International Conference of Education, head-teachers and education ministers generally have a drink or ten and get a chance to meet their peers from across the world. The conference happens to be in @@NAME@@ this year and having nothing better to do one night, you decide to attend a mixer. As it happens, the topic of conversation is Standardised Testing...

The Debate
1. Dàguó Education Director Hoo Yu Wan Hia, apparently misunderstanding the nature of the social-mixer, has set up a projector upon a platter of hors d'oeuvres and is currently word-for-word reading off PowerPoint slides. "In Dàguó, standardised tests assess student performance throughout education. Centile-scoring streams the students, gives accurate comparison, and identifies the cream of the crop for industry roles. Next slide, please. This is the foundation of economic success, and also why Dàguó children are so much better at maths and science than the lazy and undisciplined children of your nations. You should adopt the Dàguó system. Any questions?"

2. "Constant testing teaches children only how to pass tests," interjects Antti Markkanen, a progressive head teacher from the socialistic nation of Skandilund, carefully putting down his drink. "Obsession with competition only makes children equate success with dominance. Use carrot and stick methods, and you just get an ass. Pun intended. When children compete, most are taught only that they are losers. Abandon testing, and teach love of knowledge!"

3. "So on the one hand we got rote-learning clones, and on the other, liberal hippies!" spits cowboy-hat wearing Jonnie Wain, interrupting his poker game to literally and metaphorically put his cards on the table. "In the United Federation we got a saying: 'Hey Guvmint! Butt out!'. Let each school be its own business, deciding its own way with no centralized tyranny. Let parents vote with their wallets, and either pick the school they want, or pick no school at all. I was raised on my uncle's farm; I just learned me how to herd steers from the back of a horse. That's real life education!"

4. "Couldn't we be a bit more moderate, try and take something of all three options?" wonders your Education Minister, trying to escape from the trio of foreign educators closing in on her. "Maybe there's a @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ way, with compulsory exam assessments, but not a national test, but a choice of examination boards competing on the free market. And maybe you could have some state schools with part private funding, and some private schools with state regulation, and some structured home schooling involving some time in communal classrooms. That sounds good, doesn't it? Maybe? Possibly?"

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#669: Watts Up With Rooftop Solar [Ransium; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
As residential rooftop solar is increasing in popularity, @@NAME@@ Gas and Electric (@@NAMEINITIALS@@G&E) has begun to offer resistance to the current billing structure, complaining that households' electric bills are so low they can no longer afford to maintain the grid. As rhetoric on all sides has become increasingly high voltage, MG&E is asking you to approve a change in their fee structure.

The Debate
1. CEO Joule Ohm of @@NAMEINITIALS@@G&E sweeps the papers off your desk, slams down his proposed fee structure, and then begins to speak, "If we are to maintain the grid while keeping power affordable for the poor, there has to be a change to the system. We need a flat grid fee charged monthly to all households regardless of energy use. With a grid fee, we can reduce the per kilowatt usage fee, so most users will hardly notice the difference."

2. "I couldn't think of a better plan to kill my business!" yells @@RANDOMNAME@@, the amped-up CEO of Sol Invictus, @@NAME@@'s biggest rooftop solar installation company. "If the power company charges you a huge fee no matter how much power you use, who will want solar panels? I have a bright solution. If @@NAMEINITIALS@@G&E needs more money, let them raise the per kilowatt usage fees for everyone. But we need electricity meters in every household to track energy usage and whether homes with solar panels are producing surplus power to sell back to the grid. Let's let the market determine the price of power!"

3. "I could think of a better way to kill solar." wheezes @@RANDOMNAME@@, the octogenarian CEO of Relaxed Diamond Coal Company. "Ban it! Rooftop solar panels are eyesores, and they're driving out @@NAME@@'s mom and pop coal companies. No more, I say! We're blessed with plentiful coal deposits; let's use them to make cheap, local power. As for those global warming alarmists, why, the weatherman can't even predict tomorrow's weather, never mind the weather 50 years from now."

4. "This problem needs a solution grasped from the future, not grounded in the industrial revolution!" declares celebrity green-energy venture capitalist Melon Husk. "My company is beginning to develop initial prototypes for large-capacity home-use batteries. However, to make this viable in the near future, we just need a smidgen of government subsidies for research and production. I think the batteries we'll develop will be affordable and, combined with solar panels, they'll almost certainly be able to provide households with their energy demands. I'm pretty sure we can make power lines a thing of the past!"

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#670: A Wolf In Refugees’ Clothing [Tretrid; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
After it became clear that a recent mass shooting in Maxtopia was an act of terror by a Lilliputian Ultra-Violetist who entered Maxtopia by claiming refugee status from the ongoing Lilliputian civil-war, @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ are demanding you find a way to keep terrorists out of @@NAME@@.

The Debate
1. “We have to balance safety with helping people who are just looking for a better life,” states Minister of Internal Affairs, @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, while drinking her half-full cup of coffee. “Why don’t we just carefully screen potential refugees to see if they have any connections to terrorists? I’m sure with some elbow grease and stick-to-it-osity we’ll be able to effectively process all these immigration applications. And I’m sure when those poor refuges meet the welcoming @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ people, the trauma of years of atrocity filled civil war will be wiped away!”

2. “Background checks will not work,” bluntly declares Minister of Homeland Insecurities @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, while staring at his half-empty water glass. “Bureaucracies are simply just too slow and unreliable to do it successfully. We need something that’s sure to keep out terrorists. Let’s bar anyone who is associated with Ultra-Violet havens like Lilliputia from entering the country. Sure, some people will be whining about freedoms, but who cares? They’re not even @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@.”

3. “No!” cries @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Good Vibrations. “We’d be giving terrorists metaphysical ammo against us. And surely you can’t be heartless to refugees who are only trying to find safety for their families. Studies have shown the most effective teams are from diverse backgrounds. We should open the borders to everyone, no questions asked. I say our policy should be: give us your tired, your poor, your huddled mass shooters. What? We can rehabilitate them!”

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#671: Adenine, Thymine, Copyright, And Guanine [Helaw; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
While perusing the grand governmental libraries for the popular graphic novel, “Jee, Gnomes!”, you come across numerous documents pertaining to the field of genetic engineering – manipulating the genetic code that dictates the characteristics of all biological life. In a barely comprehensible scientific paper, you read of a proposal to allow the patenting of DNA sequences. Realising that the government has yet to take an official stance, you call together a number of experts in the field that are willing to debate the topic.

The Debate
1. “Researchers work long and hard to understand these genes,” claims the CEO of Dynalixa Technologies, @@RANDOMNAME@@. “It is simply immoral to tell these scientists that they cannot patent the sequences that they have located and researched, and the notion that the government is willing to make the untold numbers of second best currencies poured into this sector worthless is simply absurd. Enforcement and limitations aside, I am certain that allowing gene patents is the best way forward.”

2. “This is pure, unadulterated madness!” cries renowned biologist Dr. @@RANDOMNAME@@, in a sudden outburst that sends a model fish flying. “You can’t just patent the language of life itself! Look, as much as private firms may wish to protect their developments in this field, they have no right to stop others from using them; the law must reflect this. While you’re at it, you should seek to subsidise all genetic research; after all, the nation could use more people who know the difference between mRNA and tRNA!”

3. “Both of you are going too far,” pipes up your Minister of Science, wielding a helix-shaped pen. “The solution is simple. To prevent people from being sued over their DNA, perhaps we should make patenting genes that are found in nature illegal, while ensuring that artificially created genes are open for companies to argue with each other over. While this could prove quite restricting for some companies, it should theoretically protect the average consumer, while preventing companies in the industry from completely losing the right to patent their research.”

4. “Gene editing? Compromises? Come on,” says your exhausted and agitated secretary, @@RANDOMNAME@@, while handing you a cup of coffee. “All of this hullabaloo could be avoided by just getting rid of it all. I’m quite happy being me, and I don’t think anyone has the right to poke around in my code. All of these sciencey folk can just jog on.”

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#672: All Shook Up [Parat; ed:Drasnia & Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Thousands of people were forcibly evacuated from a small town in @@NAME@@ because of a predicted earthquake... which did not arrive. Weeks later, displaced residents are irate at the inconvenience.

The Debate
1. Dressed in several-day-old pajamas, angry retiree @@RANDOMNAME@@ clambers over security to reach your desk. “I fled my home to avoid an earthquake, and I had to live in my sister-in-law’s house for weeks! I hate my sister-in-law! I demand an end to mandatory evacuations, and that the so-called ‘scientists’ be fined for making terrible predictions!”

2. “It’s not our fault,” sighs bedraggled geologist @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, pushing her glasses back onto her nose. “The problem is that we’re poorly funded and under-equipped. All we can do is make best guesses most of the time, and that’s to predict big aftershocks after small earthquakes. What we need is a grid of networked seismographs at one-mile intervals all across @@NAME@@, higher wages to attract the best and brightest into seismology, and warning klaxons to tell people when to evacuate. Why, we’ll be able to predict earthquakes just seconds after they happen!”

3. “I knew I shouldn’t have gone out of the house today!” cries full-time worrier @@RANDOMNAME@@, adjusting a tight-fitting home-made protective bubble-wrap bodysuit. “If an earthquake was predicted but didn’t happen, who is to say it isn’t on its way? That town should never have been built in such an area of risk of quakes! We need to make sure all our population centers are in areas with no risk of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, and landslides. I’m sure everyone would appreciate being safer!”

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#673: The Deportation Of Mr. B. Leeper [Sleep; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Brancalandian pop star Bryan Leeper has gotten into trouble with the law yet again while on tour in @@NAME@@. He was caught urinating on a fire hydrant, making this his tenth arrest in the past year. Tens of thousands of anti-Bleepers have signed a petition demanding that the pop star be deported back to his native Brancaland.

The Debate
1. “Let it be known,” reads petition author @@RANDOMNAME@@, from a ragged piece of parchment covered in coffee stains, “that we the good people of @@NAME@@ who care about music, and entertainment, and celebrity misbehaviors, demand that law-breaker Bryan Leeper be deported with all due haste back to his native country of frozen Brancaland. He can go love himself back home. We demand that he be declared a public menace. May he never return to our fair country nor inflict his immature, overly catchy, pop music on our airwaves.”

2. “We don’t want the little brat back!” declares the Brancalandian Foreign Minister, seen smashing Bryan Leeper CDs with a hockey stick. “I bumped into the Maxtopian ambassador on my way here. It seems that Mr. Leeper has an outstanding legal issue over in Maxtopia that could involve jail time if he’s found guilty. Why not extradite him there as a diplomatic move? What’s that? Well yes, Maxtopia has the death penalty. I’m sure he hasn’t done anything that serious there.”

3. “All I need, is your love, your love, my love, your love, youuuuuuu!” sings your teenage niece’s best friend, who is also president of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Bryan Leeper Fan Club. “You can’t send him away! He’s a troubled young artist trying to find his way. His message is pure and sweet and he’s, like, so totally dreamy. Listen!” She starts to sing again as secret service men usher her out of the room. “Baby, baby, don’t leave me alone, don’t walk awa....” Unfortunately, you’ve heard enough to have the song stuck in your head all day. It really is catchy.

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#674: Let Them Eat Rainbow Cake! [Galway-Dublin; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
When high-profile lesbian celebrity Ellen Lynch was asked to leave popular establishment @@CAPITAL@@ Diner, it was made clear to her that this was because she was dining with her lesbian partner. The restaurant owners refused to serve the homosexual couple, citing a conflict with their religious beliefs. This isn’t the first time something like this has been flagged by the press, but Lynch is keen to make some noise.

The Debate
1. “I have the right to my values!” shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, the diner owner. “My grandfather, who opened this restaurant 50 years ago, was a man of faith. This faith gave him his love of family values and family dining. He believed homosexuality to be degenerate and sinful! I’m not saying that these people can’t sin in their own homes, but must I sit there watching them commit unholy acts in my business? What about my freedom to express religious belief? What about my economic rights as a business owner?”

2. “We remain a minority whose voice never gets heard!” exclaims Ellen Lynch, on her nationally syndicated talk show. “It is my hope that the government enforces protection of LGBT individuals in these kinds of situations by forcing businesses to serve anyone, regardless of their sexuality. Religious bigotry has no place at our tables!”

3. The Deputy Mayor of @@CAPITAL@@, @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ strides in, dashingly pink trench coat flapping in the breeze behind him. “The mayor won’t like this, but if we want @@NAME@@ to be a prestigious and progressive nation on the world stage, we’ve got to go even further! To cater for... that is to protect the rights of the gay community, we should establish zones in each restaurant or other service industry venture that are reserved exclusively for gay and lesbian people. Think of our standing in the international gay community! Think of the tourism! We’d be a shining beacon for gay culture!”

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#675: Trick Or Treaty [Ransium; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
After lengthy political wrangling, a global treaty on reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been put on the table. World powers such as Brancaland, Blackacre and Dàguó have moved to ratify the treaty, and the heat is on for @@NAME@@ to make a decision.

The Debate
1. “Only through coordinated international action can we deal with the crisis of climate change,” preaches @@RANDOMNAME@@, who has spent the better part of a decade as @@NAME@@'s lead negotiator for the treaty. “The emissions reduction targets in this treaty are achievable, and affordable. Leader, for our children’s future, we must ratify this treaty.”

2. “What mankind does has no bearing on whether the weather is warm,” rants @@RANDOMNAME@@, a columnist at the think-tank Convenient Truths. “Ratifying this treaty would be economic suicide, and it’s well-known that the threats of so-called ‘climate change’ have been exaggerated by countries like Dàguó in order to cripple our economy. You must refuse to ratify this treaty!”

3. “You know, I was beginning to warm up to this treaty,” argues hot-headed environmentalist @@RANDOMNAME@@. “But then, I got to the proposed emissions reduction targets: they’re pathetic! We do need to set an international example, but not by ratifying this worthless treaty. Instead, we must pass national legislation that properly addresses the magnitude of our problem. Like, oh I don’t know, an eighty percent reduction of all emissions by next Tuesday.”

4. “All this has me thinking,” muses @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@, an economics professor specializing in game theory, who is simultaneously playing chess with your aide. “The emissions reductions would impact our economy, but not ratifying the treaty would adversely affect our international reputation. I noticed that the compliance verification provisions are quite... lax. So let’s ratify, do some lip-service, and then forget about it. It’ll give us a competitive advantage.” With a flourish, she moves her queen across the chessboard, “Check and mate!”

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#676: Down The Rabbit Hole [Wyethalania; ed:Wyethalania]

The Issue
After numerous cases of brief delirium were reported in the countryside, local scientists and health officials have narrowed down the potential causes to a hallucinogenic toxin produced by a microbe that normally incubates within rabbits. Apparently, the close contact rural farmers had with tainted rabbit excrement resulted in their delusions. In response, several apoplectic and assertive citizens have accosted you while on your morning stroll to deal with the issue.

The Debate
1. “This is ridiculous,” shouts avid home gardener Alice Cheshire. “I can’t even tend my own flower beds without falling into a psychedelic trance! If I hallucinate one more rabbit wearing a waistcoat and a pocket watch, I’m gonna lose it. We must eradicate this menace, even if it means killing all the rabbits in @@NAME@@! OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!”

2. “Whoa, whoa, whoa... Let’s not be too hasty here,” interjects microbiologist and pharmaceutical spokeswoman Anita Plaseebeau. “This rabbit colon-based microbe gives us a rare and profitable opportunity to further both our understanding of biology and medicine. Throw a little funding our way, and we can trap some live specimens, analyze the microbe up close, and get all of Pencil Sharpeners hooked on it by Sunday.”

3. “You all keep missing the point! These aren’t just hallucinations caused by poop, they’re gifts from the Great Rabbit Goddess!” asserts escaped mental patient and neopagan Sybil @@ANIMAL@@-McGee wearing her ceremonial rabbit-patterned robe and bunny slippers. “Through consuming the rabbits’ sacred defecation, we are blessed with miraculous visions of the future! Heed my prophecies, and I’ll get @@NAME@@ on the right path in no time.” After swallowing a handful of rabbit droppings, she twitches awkwardly on the ground while sputtering ill-fated prognostications.

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#677: Dial L For Loan [Annihilators of Chan Island; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
After a recent unfortunate incident involving a foreign casino, a gambling addicted crime lord, and a secret agent that was a bit too confident in his poker playing abilities, the government is currently strapped for cash. Your Finance Minister has reminded you of a swathe of delinquent government loans made to a small nameless nation in your sphere of influence that could be called in to close the budget gap.

The Debate
1. “If they can’t pay up, why we’ll get a @@REGION@@ tribunal involved!” declares @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Finance Minister. “Start by removing their spendthrift leadership, and install a stooge, er... someone who understands the gravity of their international obligations. Next, forcibly privatize some of the most easily monetized state services. Why, I bet some of@@NAME@@’s businesses might even be interested in buying them.”

2. “How soft!” mutters @@RANDOMNAME@@, leader of the infamous ‘Loan and Pool Shark’ mercenaries, while menacingly holding a pool cue. “It’s time you went full repo man on these money squanderers and take what’s owed to you. They won’t dare to object to a few of their warships, crown jewels, or national treasures going to the cause.”

3. “A thousand pardons @@LEADER@@!” pleads the country’s ambassador, Owen Dett, while kissing your feet. “Although our nation is a mere insignificant speck of dirt compared to the might and majesty of your nation, we implore you to find it within your heart to forgive the debts of us, the most ‘umblest of nations.”

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#678: A Motion For Seconds [Zwangzug; ed:Zwangzug]

The Issue
Today you’ve had a full schedule: meeting lobbyists who want you to name lunch the most important meal of the day, handshaking and congratulating @@NAME@@’s gold-medal-winning @@ANIMAL@@ball team, and fielding surprisingly piercing questions from a classroom of carefully selected ten-year-olds. It’s been hard for you to attend to the business of state, much less find any time for yourself. It occurs to you that having a deputy leader to help handle the workload might not be such a bad idea.

The Debate
1. “Voters don’t discriminate between heads of state or, wait for it, their running mates,” explains Erin Splinter, a rising star within your party. “And we’ll keep winning, so why not have a second-in-command aboard? Someone whose ideology you understand, but who increases your demographic appeal, be they @@DEMONYM@@ or Bigtopian. You’re gonna need a right-hand man, or woman.” She kisses a gauntlet of babies on her way out of your office.

2. “Whaaat?” The leader of the opposition sneezes for emphasis. “Did I miss something here, or are we still a democracy? The runner-up should be the deputy, so they can go watch, oh, rap battles and stuff and get in touch with the little people. Creative dissent is what makes @@NAME@@ strong!”

3. “We don’t really need a deputy leader, do we?” muses dedicated method actor Alex Miranda, who boasts an eerie resemblance to you. “Whenever you need to take a break, I’ll go argue about banks or mourn at generals’ funerals.” Miranda adjusts a duelling cane and a pair of glasses. “I think I’ve got your accent down, too! @@MOTTO@@!”

4. “As if anyone else in the room could accomplish as much as you,” scoffs your personal assistant, trying not to overload you with your calendar for the next week. “You’ll just have to work nonstop and struggle every second, but that should be no problem for you, @@LEADER@@! @@NAME@@ will still be a strong central democracy even if you’re booked day and night.”

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#679: Space Is Big Enough For The Both Of Us [Drayxaso; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
In a shocking turn of events, the normally secretive East Lebatuck government proposed working with multiple space programs. They have offered to work with the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Space Agency to create a jointly-operated space station, called the Multinational Space Station, or MSS. The scientific community has concluded that a space station would be utterly cool and might even provide the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Space Agency with valuable scientific data, but some are concerned about working with East Lebatuck.

The Debate
1. “Comrade @@LEADER@@, there is no reason for any mistrust between us,” comments @@RANDOMNAME@@, the East Lebatuckese representative, while discreetly placing a listening device under a pot plant. “Our proposal would launch @@NAME@@’s space program to new heights while setting a glorious example of friendship between our two great Motherlands. We’re ready to launch the ‘Spyonya’ module, so just hurry up and agree to build the station already.”

2. “A jointly-operated space station might be one small step for international cooperation, but our own space station would be a giant leap for @@DEMONYMNOUN@@kind,” declares hero astronaut Hum Legstrong, who has arrived wearing a space suit for reasons you cannot fathom. “All we need to do is repurpose some leftover parts from the last few spaceship programs. Fuel tank? Bam, crew quarters! Spy Satellite? Bam, space telescope! We’ll get all the sciencey goodness for a low, low price, and we won’t have to trust those shady East Lebatuckese.”

3. “A space station? Really?” remarks @@RANDOMNAME@@, an unpopular and rather frugal politician, nibbling at a homemade peanut butter sandwich. “Those nerds may act satisfied, but they’ll just be begging for more funding next week. Take a page from Maxtopia’s book and slash @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Space Agency’s budget. We might get less of that ‘science’ stuff, but who cares? No one, because they’ll be too busy enjoying the tax cut. It’s not like space is going anywhere.”
Last edited by Jutsa on Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:36 pm, edited 40 times in total.

User avatar
Jutsa
Minister
 
Posts: 3157
Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#680: The Fault Is In Our Stars [Drasnia; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
Your Astrological Advisor has yet again called for an immediate halt to all governmental activities. When questioned, she insisted that it must be done as the skies have been clouded over for several days, thus making astral readings too inaccurate for any important decisions to be made. Flanked by a colorful variety of different personalities and opinions, she has stridden into your office to warn you of great danger.

The Debate
1. “It is an omen of the oncoming storm!” cries your Astrological Advisor, tightly clutching her copy of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Horoscope and a mysterious blue book. “For years the stars have blessed us with their favor, but now that they are gone we can only assume that they have abandoned us! Leader, for the sake of @@NAME@@, the government should do as little as possible during these uncertain and dangerous times. You never know what those Gemini folks could be planning!”

2. “The government’s actions shouldn’t be dictated by such crackpot nonsense!” blusters @@RANDOMNAME@@, a renowned atheist and Gemini. “As a nation, we must strive to put aside our archaic astrological beliefs and instead focus on a logic-based approach. Only through this can we function properly as a political institution. If this means getting rid of all these so-called star prophets, so be it. Besides, they’re just big spheres of exploding gas!”

3. “The problem is not in the stars,” laments astronomer @@RANDOMNAME@@, a Capricorn who is feeling somewhat under the weather this week. “Instead, it lies with our tools. We lack the powerful telescopes needed to see through this cloud cover. With a small contribution from the public, we can build a gigantic telescope that will give us pictures of the constellations no matter what the weather may be!”

4. “Stars, huh, what are they good for?” says self-proclaimed ‘Alternative Diviner’ @@RANDOMNAME@@, while tossing a handful of asparagus stalks in the air. “We can’t just shut down the government every time a cloud is in the sky. This sort of thing will keep happening again and again and again. If you hire me, I will use more reliable methods such as asparamancy and tyromancy. That way, when I’m done divining, you’ll have delicious asparagus and cheese to eat afterward for no cost at all.”

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#681: @@NAME@@'s New Year's Resolution: Lose Fewer Limbs [Milostein; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
The @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ New Year has arrived again and citizens across the nation are setting off fireworks that light up the sky in a beautiful and awe-inspiring display. Lighting up @@NAME@@’s roads, however, are the sirens of emergency vehicles tending to the injuries and fires caused by the explosive revelries. Your Minister of Safety has twisted your arm to personally investigate the situation, so you’ve reluctantly left your own New Year’s party to venture to the local hospital.

The Debate
1. A frazzled ER doctor, @@RANDOMNAME@@, begins lecturing you while distractedly stitching a patient. “I can’t take it any more! Every New Year, the number of patients in the burn ward explodes, and need for stitches skyrockets! Fireworks are clearly too dangerous for the untrained public to play with. We need to ban possession and use of fireworks without proper training. To keep the tradition of @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ New Year alive, the government can sanction shows and hire licensed professionals for the celebration. And hey, if I weren’t suddenly getting so many emergency calls on the New Year, maybe I’d actually have time to watch the show.”

2. “That’s not going far enough,” interjects a local bird watcher @@RANDOMNAME@@, who is standing by the window, binoculars trained on a vulture by the hospital morgue. “It’s not a celebration for the birds whose sky we’re shooting into! Animals don’t understand what’s going on when unnatural flashes and scary noises suddenly start bursting all around them. If they dodge the explosions, noxious smoke is sure to drive birds out of the sky, while remains of spent fireworks littering the streets pose a swallowing hazard for scavengers. Licensing fireworks operators won’t change this. We need to ban all fireworks, and find less inconsiderate ways to entertain ourselves.”

3. “That’s ridiculous,” retorts @@RANDOMNAME@@ - Chief Technical Officer of Have a Blast, Inc. - who is visiting the burns ward to hand out free sparklers to the injured. “Thunderstorms happen all the time in nature, and animals survive those. Fireworks are fabulous fun! If some drunken idiots can’t read the clear safety instructions we supply with all our products, then, well, that’s natural selection doing our species a favor. In fact, we should legalize use of fireworks all year round. Then we can celebrate anything, anytime, not just the New Year.”

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#682: Exhaust Every Option [Solborg; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Three days ago smog levels in the inner city reached a record-breaking high, with visibility so poor that a driver mistook a closed-off construction zone for an off-ramp and plummeted to his death. The public has raised the question of whether automobiles are emitting too much pollution.

The Debate
1. “This pollution has gotten out of hand!” gasps concerned inner city teacher, @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Just last week, my school had to keep the children from going outside because the air was burning their skin! You need to implement a tax on vehicle emissions, and fund scrappage of inefficient older vehicles!”

[2]. “Legislating against polluting cars is not going to solve the problem, as car companies will always find some loophole or deception to trick the system,” observes CEO of IntraCoil Motors, Oolong Musk. “Electric vehicles don’t pollute locally, so if everyone drove them, we would have clean air in the cities. The government should fund the creation of charging stations, to give customers the choice to realistically switch to green technologies, like the new IntraCoil Model LXIX, available next month at your local dealership.” He winks at a nearby camera. [Must have private industry]

[3]. “The government wants to do WHAT now?” yells Oil Tycoon @@RANDOMNAME@@. “You really want to put all those poor drillers and oil riggers out of work? You really want to wreck our nation’s petrochemical industries? Instead of listening to these crazy ‘environmental’ hippies, let the free market operate and self-correct! Besides, everyone knows those electric cars actually cause cancer anyway.” [Must have private industry]

[4]. “Comrade, the problem here is that the Workers are not cooperating, like good Socialists should,” observes Party Member @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Require all of our Comrade-Citizens to carpool to a vehicle’s capacity, and you will more than halve the number of vehicles on the road.” [Must not have private industry]

5. Professor @@RANDOMNAME@@, who says @@HE@@’s from The Institute - though you’re not sure whether @@HE@@’s talking about a research lab or a mental health unit - has one final idea. “All this jibber-jabber about cars has really got me thinking: why don’t we give people an alternative? With funding, my lab could build an amazing, floating Sky-Train! We’ll just need guide wires, lots of hydrogen, and some sort of clean propulsion system. Think about it! A SKY TRAIN!”

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#683: Different Keystrokes For Different Folks [Intrapolia; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
Several school districts across @@NAME@@ are debating whether computer science should be implemented into school curricula.

The Debate
1. "Hello, @@LEADER@@!" greets Radi Skarvoti, founder of the popular non-profit organization Program.net. "Computer science is a very important skill in today's society! It's a fantastic way to have students learn logic, engineering, and mathematics. Through my curriculum kids can learn programming all while doing what they like best: playing video games!" He shows you one of his online courses, where students are tasked with solving basic logic problems to navigate through a maze themed after the popular mobile game '@@ANIMALPLURAL@@ Vs Skeletons'. "Well, we don't want to overwhelm the kiddos, do we?"

2. "Kids aren't gonna get anywhere with this Highlights-puzzle trash!" rants @@RANDOMNAME@@, a respected member of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ coding community. "Starting in primary school, students need to start learning how to code in fundamental languages like J++, or Bison. If done properly it can still be fun. Look, here's something I taught my son to code the other day." @@HE/SHE@@ pulls out @@HIS/HER@@ Sprinux laptop, and shows you a game reminiscent of old arcade game Monkey Khan. "We'll need a tax increase to recruit a new cohort of teachers with computer science expertise, but programming literacy will increase exponentially."

3. "Why should @@CAPITAL@@ dictate how I teach my kids?" demands @@RANDOMNAME@@, superintendent of a rural school distinct in the southern part of North-West @@NAME@@. "How about the centralized government butt-out for once and let individual school districts decide what's best to teach their students? If students in @@CAPITAL@@ school district want to learn about programming, great. But, by the same token, if parents in my district want me to dedicate an hour a day to teaching students about sheep husbandry, that should be fine too."

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#684: Murder Most Deniable? [The Free Joy State; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
The popular radio host, Alexandra Lukin, Marche Noire immigrant and vocal critic of the country she fled, was found sprawled across the sundial of @@CAPITAL@@ Park at noon, dead as a South @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Dodo. Advisors have gathered in the shadowy recesses of your office, wondering what to tell @@REGION@@’s waiting press.

The Debate
1. “Marche Noire did this,” grunts @@RANDOMNAME@@, your implacable Minister of International Relations, wearing a hole in your carpet as @@HE@@ paces in @@HIS@@ Army-surplus boots. “Ms. Lukin was a respected resident of our country, and they killed her. Well, I say we show those Marche Noirian mouth-breathers that they can’t treat our household names this way. I say we hit them with a trade embargo. Kill any deal with Marche Noire. @@NAME@@ doesn’t want pretty wooden knickknacks, lobster, and truffles from murderers.”

2. “Let’s not be excessive,” chuckles @@RANDOMNAME@@, Minister of Cover-Ups and International Trade, who coincidentally part-owns an authentic Marche Noirian restaurant. “Some random guy, for the sake of trade, you must ignore this little protocol slippage. Take away Marche Noire mountain truffles shaved over a Marche Bay lobster linguini and served in a hand-carved hickory bowl and the Eternal Misfortune will riot. Perhaps it was an accident? Ms. Lukin slipped on an abandoned banana skin, fell back and landed on the knife in her own pocket. Trying to stand, she alas fell onto her knife a further forty-one times.” She jams a truffle between your lips.

3. “Some random guy,” whispers @@RANDOMNAME@@, Head of Secret Service, “no-one’s suggesting we let Marche Noire get away with murder. But it occurs to me that we have a one-off opportunity to strike at one of the thorns in our own rump. Consider Dan Couch, @@NAME@@’s most troublesome emigrant and muck-raking filmmaker, who has stirred anti-@@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ sentiment with his films Bread and Circuses and The Storm that Shakes the Amaranth. He’s hiding over in Marche Noire, making his incendiary drivel. My operatives can go and...” he slashes his finger across his throat.

4. “You’re really overthinking how Ms. Lukin came to be stabbed forty-two times.” @@RANDOMNAME@@ clucks @@HIS@@ tongue, while corking the barrels of your guards’ guns. “It happened because someone had a knife. Why did someone have a knife? Because people sell knives. Do you see where I’m going? Ban knives, and your whole problem goes away.” Ruminating, @@HE@@ tosses a precariously-hanging Picasso into the bin and replaces it with a poster reading Safety is Fun. “Best ban forks, too. Someone will put an eye out one day.”

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#685: Externalities Palmed Off [Singapore no2; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A sunny neighbouring nation with a developing economy has been burn-clearing large swathes of rainforest to gain land for palm tree plantations. Weather conditions have carried the thick pall of smoke from the burning across a narrow sea strait, and into @@NAME@@.

The Debate
1. “The smog is affecting the young, the elderly, and the sick,” notes your Minister of Civic Welfare, as she holds a rose-scented handkerchief over her nose and mouth. “We have to send a strongly-worded letter to their government to request that they do something to stop the parties responsible, if they’d be so kind. I’m sure that with their own citizens being affected, and with us pointing out the ecological damage they’re doing, they’ll take everything into consideration and choose to be reasonable.”

2. “They aren’t going to respond to that! They don’t care if their own citizens drop dead in the fields, they’re cynical profiteers who only care about the bottom line!” fumes @@RANDOMNAME@@, the Minister of Trade and Industry. “Let’s embargo all their palm oil products and encourage all our allies and major trade partners to do the same. That’ll teach them!”

3. “Teach them what? That we care about abstract concepts like ‘diplomacy’ and ‘dialogue’?” rebukes @@RANDOMNAME@@, a hawkish Air Force Commander, pounding @@HIS@@ fist into her open hand for emphasis. “It’s clear that they won’t fold easily when there’s so much profit at stake, but if we bomb the government, whoever is still left will accede to any of our demands.”

4. “And what will that achieve? Decades in a never-ending war, that’s what!” mocks @@RANDOMNAME@@, a slightly deranged scientist, who is staring intently at a snowglobe. “Instead, let’s build a protective acrylic-glass dome over every city, and connect them via enclosed tubes. We won’t have to care about the haze, difficult neighbours, or even climate change ever again!”

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#686: Freemium Isn’t Free [Azura Manga; ed:Zwangzug]

The Issue
Popular mobile game “Super Epic Mega Tap-Tap Fantasy” reported profits in excess of one billion units in the last financial year. While some of your advisors are delighted at the stream of taxable income, others consider spending in mobile games to have reached excessive levels.

The Debate
1. “This kind of marketing scheme should be illegal,” declares activist @@RANDOMNAME@@, pausing a game of open-source Pong. “Emphasizing spending for virtual items with no real-world purpose serves only to trick people who cannot help themselves and to fatten the developers’ wallets! Children who don’t know how hard their mommies and daddies work for their units are learning that paying everything for nothing is okay! Do you want to have to explain why the next generation is full of gamblers?”

2. “Illegal? A generation of gamblers? What exaggerations,” scoffs Norta Scamm, CEO of Extreme Colossal Fantasy Inc. “Supporting these ‘activists’ would itself be preposterous! We have the right to cater to our fans, and if some people don’t like our game, they can just not play it and keep their mouths shut around those who do! I worked hard to get my managers to make our developers make this game, and I, er, my company deserves to be able to earn money for its work!”

3. “Have you ever asked any of us what we think?” challenges self-confessed “completionist” @@RANDOMNAME@@, scanning your office for the best signal. “We have spent thousands, some of us millions, on these games. It’s not a matter of gambling, but an actual mental health disorder! We need to raise awareness for these addictions, and companies that condone this ‘whaling’ can pay for our rehabilitation!”

4. “Y’all see, this is why we don’t need no fancy app-lik-ay-shuns,” rails @@RANDOMNAME@@, occupying your lawn and shooing passersby off it. “Back’n my day, we worked sun up til sun down on our pa’s farms, an’ if we had any time to spare it was playin’ cards with friends at the pub! No fancy veer-chew-al items an’ games, just good old paper cards and shiny, round units! What y’all need ta do is get rid o’ these fancy-shmancy eye-phones and get back to what our country was founded on!”

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#687: Marriage By Proxy Server [The 19th Century; ed:Wyethalania]

The Issue
After an online petition that would allow people to legally be married over the internet reached over one million signatures last night, you awake to find your inbox inundated with emails and a crowd of petitioners waiting inside your office, all demanding you take action.

The Debate
1. “The internet is the only social life some of us have!” insists petitioner @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, whose MyFace profile says he is 6 feet tall, good-looking, and a popular country singer. “If I meet the love of my life online, we should be able to get married. It’s not fair that I have to be single my entire life just because my soulmate lives on the other side of the country and my mother won’t give me the money for a bus ticket.”

2. “Oh, that’s a terrible idea!” chides your nettling aunt. “You have to be careful on the internet. You never know if the people you’re talking to really are who they say they are. Why just the other day, I was being courted by this youthful hunk of a gentleman on MatchMakers. But, when we finally met in person, the scoundrel was as old and flabby as me! It just goes to show that somethings like dating and marriage should only be done offline and in person.”

3. “Preposterous, who wants a human husband or wife anyway? All they do is nag, lounge about, and lie all the time,” rebuffs IT specialist Trinity Tron from under your desk, as she upgrades your Wi-Fi router. “What we really need are artificial mates who truly understand us and can fulfill our every want and desire. You should just transfer funds from all those worthless welfare programs and into the tech industry so we can finally have the perfectly programmed partners we deserve.”

4. “Well, pin my tail and call me a donkey. Y’all need to get out more,” cracks redneck plumber Larry Kableman from your private bathroom as he snakes a drain. “It ain’t healthy to be spendin’ all that time on the ‘puter. You oughta just disconnect the whole gosh-darn internet so all these idjits can get a real job like plumbin’.”

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#688: You Don’t Have To Be Mad To Kill People... But It Helps [Liberamare; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
@@NAME@@ was in shock after a recent mass murder, and shocked again when the suspect pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, after a privately employed psychiatrist convinced the courts that he had no ability to tell right from wrong. @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ are deeply divided over the notion of insanity pleas, and many angry citizens are demanding that you step in.

The Debate
1. “The only thing that’s insane is that you’re actually considering allowing this!” cries a parent of one of the victims of the attack. “Whether or not this man is insane doesn’t change the fact that my son is gone! This... murderer could have easily accessed psychiatric help and must take responsibility for his actions. He should face a proper jail sentence in a proper jail. All these insanity pleas do is give criminals an opportunity to abuse the system. We must show the scum of @@NAME@@ that they can’t hide behind so-called ‘pleas’! Justice must prevail!”

2. “Actually, it is very difficult for the mentally ill to get the help they need in @@NAME@@,” reminds the suspect’s attorney after receiving a death glare from the parent. “It is not their fault that they’re suffering and any psychiatrist worth their degree would agree that many don’t have the mental capacity to determine right from wrong. We should be sending these people to mental institutions where they can be healed, not overcrowded prisons!”

3. “The solution to everything is a compromise,” declares one of your staffers, who claims that working for you has caused him to go insane. “Require everyone accused of a crime to go through vigorous mental health testing to see if they are insane or not. This way, experts decide whether or not someone is insane at the beginning of a trial, leaving little room for errors.”

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#689: A Sticky Situation [Dytarma; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
While lounging on a curiously sticky bench in @@CAPITAL@@, you begin to notice that almost every passer-by seems to be mysteriously stuck to the pavement. Upon closer inspection, you realise that the ground is covered in chewing gum, which has in turn caused the unfortunate - and admittedly amusing - predicament that the pedestrians have now found themselves in. You are soon approached by a colorful mob of people, the majority of which are barely able to lift their own legs.

1. “Every time I go on a run, I always find at least one piece of gum on my shoe!” screeches @@RANDOMNAME@@, whilst furiously picking @@HIM@@self up off the ground. “I always end up stepping in the stuff, and it’s always a pain to get off. Gum is a health hazard, and it should be banned before anyone else finds themselves chewing the pavement! If somebody has a problem with that, then they can just find something else to gnaw on.”

*2. “Don’t listen to that gum-hating buffoon,” exclaims the CEO of Suborbit Gum, Minté Breff, while chewing loudly. “Banning gum will cause a tremendous uproar of unnecessary proportions! Gum can help people study and concentrate, all whilst they taste our selection of great flavours; something that the government would surely support and even subsidise! You can have my gum when you pry it out of my cold, dead mouth.” [Must have private industry]

*3. “Don’t listen to that gum-hating buffoon,” exclaims the State Director of Oral Cohesive-Based Solutions, Minté Breff, while chewing loudly. “Banning gum will cause a tremendous uproar of unnecessary proportions! Gum can help people study and concentrate, all whilst they taste our selection of great flavours; something that the government would surely support and even subsidise! You can have my gum when you pry it out of my cold, dead mouth.” [Must not have private industry]

4. “Why not look for a different solution?” asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, as @@HE@@ helps @@HIS@@ son clean gum from his shoes. “How about we place more trashcans? Place a few here and there, fine anyone that doesn’t put their gum into them, and I guarantee that this problem will go away. All of this gum will give these trashcans a fresh and much more bearable smell!”@@HE@@ abruptly turns towards @@HIS@@ son, who has now wandered away. “Stop smelling the bins!”

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#690: Hey! @@LEADER@@! Leave Them Kids Alone! [Nation of Quebec; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
The government’s decision to oblige school children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to @@NAME@@ on a daily basis is proving to be quite controversial. Some parents are upset with the inclusion of references to @@RELIGION@@, @@LEADER@@, and the use of language that can at best be described as ‘robustly patriotic’, and at worst criticised as bordering on neo-Nazism. They are demanding that you scrap the pledge as being incompatible with modern values.

The Debate
1. “We don’t need no thought control!” protests apparently grammatically-challenged parent @@RANDOMNAME@@. “I’ll be damned if I’ll allow the schools to brainwash my kids into joining @@LEADER@@’s fan club! Reciting this pledge is a violation of free speech and an insult to everything @@NAME@@ stands for. Schools should be a place of learning, not indoctrination! The children are the future, not another brick in the wall!”

2. “I won’t have any of this dark sarcasm in the classroom!” shouts your Propaganda Minister @@RANDOMNAME@@, while eating @@HIS@@ favorite meal of meat and pudding. “There is nothing wrong with the Pledge, dearest leader. Don’t listen to these traitorous, anti-@@DEOMNYMADJECTIVE@@ hippies. In fact we should not only have the Pledge in schools, but also extend it to the workplace, the streets, and perhaps even figure out a way to force the people to say it at home. The most obedient and freedom-loving citizens love the pledge. Anyone who refuses to say it hates @@NAME@@ and anyone who hates @@NAME@@ is a traitor to our beloved @@TYPE@@!”

3. “Perhaps there’s a compromise, yes?” suggests overworked fiction editor @@RANDOMNAME@@, keen to calm down the heated argument. “I agree that we should keep the pledge, but we should remove some of the more questionable phrases, and render it a little less nationalistic and jingoistic. Perhaps we could even give people multiple versions to pick from, and leave the odd space blank where people can insert their own chosen phrasing. Free speech is about choice, after all. No matter what we do someone is always going to be offended, but this is making the best of a bad situation.”

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#691: The Prodigal States [Caracasus; ed:Genjs]

The Issue
Yesterday, one of the areas that recently seceded from @@NAME@@ was forced to declare itself utterly bankrupt after having spent their entire budget on a gilded statue of their founder. Today, representatives from these new “states” have started reaching out to you to consider the possibility of reconnecting with the Republic.

The Debate
1. “Oh Violet, it’s all gone terribly wrong,” bemoans ‘King’ @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, ruler of the Glorious Eastern United Trout Empire (population 12). “I thought it’d be awesome having my own kingdom and everything, but it’s actually really hard work! We’ve got no industry since Dave broke our woodcutting axe and even worse, every damn day I get bugged by idiots who want me to make decisions on everything from foreign policy to whether we should resize our football pitch... can’t they sort this out themselves? Please just take us back, OK?”

2. “One little setback and you go running home to mummy,” sneers President-for-life @@RANDOMNAME@@ of the Democratic People’s Republic of @@NAME@@ City Boulevard nr. 10 (population 24), as she signs a series of executive orders. “Those weaklings over in the People’s Democratic Republic of Trout Hills were never going to last anyway. If you really want to help all of us, then make sure we can stand on our own two feet! I think what we need here is for you to provide a forum to promote more diplomatic links, trade and military cooperation with us smaller nations. It’d help you out, and we’d love to have real toilet paper again.”

3. “I told you at the time this was a stupid idea,” sighs @@RANDOMNAME@@, Minister for International Affairs. “These idiots are too busy fighting each other or playing at king to even begin thinking about basic infrastructure, let alone functioning toilets. Seriously, you could spit across most of these places. Nonetheless, our agents report some of them are raising armies literally dozens strong. Enough is enough, Leader: let’s welcome back the ones who have seen the error of their ways, bring out the fatted calf and all that, and send in some of our bad hombres to forcefully annex the rest of them.”

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#692: Game Of Drones [Nation of Quebec; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
A jet airliner recently made an emergency landing into the @@ANIMAL@@ River after an engines failed during takeoff. Footage has revealed the likely cause of the crash to be a drone sucked into one of the aircraft's engine, and some are questioning the lack of regulations related to drone use.

The Debate
1. "We're lucky nobody was killed in the crash, but we might not be so fortunate next time," murmurs @@RANDOMNAME@@, your overzealous Public Safety Minister, while meticulously covering your letter opener with bubble wrap. "The problems with drones extends beyond planes, too. What if one falls out of the sky and decapitates an innocent bystander? We need sensible regulations of drones to make sure @@DEMONYMNOUNPLURAL@@ are kept safe. The public should only use drones outside of populated areas, at low heights, and only after passing a safety class."

2. "We don't need draconian regulations just because one idiot didn't read the instructions," rebuffs avid drone enthusiast @@RANDOMNAME@@, while using a drone to film the meeting. "By that logic we should ban microwaves, just because one person thought it was a fun idea to stick their head inside to see what would happen. It is the right of every citizen to enjoy everything drones have to offer. Besides, strict rules would blow drone sales out of the sky."

3. "Yes, private drones are a nuisance, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," begs @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of Pie In The Sky, a drone-based food delivery service. "You should ban private drone use, but allow unrestricted commercial drone use. @@LEADER@@, let me tell you, the sky is the limit. Just think about drone package delivery, drone private investigators, even drone dog walkers. Perhaps we could talk more about it," @@HE/SHE@@ gestures at a food-laden drone tapping at your office window, "over some lunch?"

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#693: Bottled Up Problems [Noahs Second Country; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
Panic has spread across @@NAME@@ after a study found some bottled water manufactured in @@NAME@@ to be contaminated by E. coli. Consumers’ rights groups have called on you to address this problem, so you’re attending a tour of @@NAME@@’s largest bottling plant with some interested parties.

The Debate
1. “Bottled water is a scam!” yells consumer rights advocate @@RANDOMNAME@@, while getting glared at by various employees. “Did you know, tap water is tested way more often than bottled? Or that some greedy corporations take tap water and mark it up more than ten thousand percent? We need to make the public aware of this! All that is necessary is to advertise tap water, and cut subsidies to the soda industry. It is better for you, me, the environment, and everyone else!”

2. “These claims are just ridiculous!” exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of Glowing Brook Spring Water & Industrial Waste Disposal, while hesitantly taking a small sip of @@HIS@@ product. “Our water has been tested by the best inspectors money can buy, and it’s been certified as organic. If anything the government should be promoting bottled water; perhaps with a public health campaign encouraging people to drink eight bottles a day to stave off dehydration.”

[3]. “Yeah, tap water is pure, purely full of drugs, am I right?” rambles @@RANDOMNAME@@ while attempting to give you a high five. “So, yeah, you totally need to get those toxins out of bottled water, but then you have to address a bigger problem. Sure everyone gets high from the tap water, but some squares are being total party poopers by forcing their kids to drink bottled water just cause they’re like, drug free. Bummer, right? But I’ve got a primo solution man, we need to, like, mandate putting drugs in the bottled water too, that way they’ll be no escaping getting high. Far out, huh!” [Must have compulsory drug use]

4. “There’s a sensible solution to all this,” states health inspector @@RANDOMNAME@@, opening a bottle of water while wearing goggles and a respirator. “Hire more health inspectors! We can take some money from some less vital government programs, like welfare and the military, and then send in government inspectors to do daily testing on the water sources and filtration systems. Also, would it kill you to raise our salaries a bit? Because E. coli in your next meal might.”

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#694: Concussive Percussion [Drasnia; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
While attending a performance by the @@CAPITAL@@ Philharmonic Orchestra last Thursday, 75-year-old baker @@RANDOMNAME@@ suffered an unexpected heart attack. Several music critics have attributed the death to the surprise of cannon fire used in the song “2012 Overture”, which the Orchestra was playing at the time. However, much opposition has been drummed up against the critics, and both sides have clashed just outside your office.

The Debate
1. "This could have been prevented, if someone hadn’t decided to include cannon fire in the performance!" presses @@RANDOMNAME@@, while @@HE@@ fumbles through a pile of sheet music. "We simply can’t allow this to happen again, and the only way to make sure of that is to ban any weapons from being fired during musicals and performances, and take a stern stance against overly loud music. Cannons are deadly!"

2. "If anything, we should be encouraging the use of alternative percussion in music," poises @@RANDOMNAME@@, a renowned composer, while putting a fuse into a suspicious looking stick. "Take, for example, the crash cymbals. Whose idea was it to bang two pieces of metal together to make music? Boring! Nothing entertains an audience like explosions, gunfire, and the sounds of war. War... that’s it! We should bring in the military to give all musical performances an explosive touch!"

3. "@@HE@@ has no idea what @@HE@@’s talking about," claims @@RANDOMNAME@@, speaking almost inaudibly. "Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you that a quiet, peaceful performance is one worth seeing. Like the crickets chirping, the birds tweeting, and the trees... treeing. I say we redirect some government funding to the musicians that make use of such natural and flowing sounds, to help preserve the fine predilections of the eardrum."

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#695: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Paying Taxes [Pogaria; ed:Pogaria]

The Issue
A junior filing clerk at the Ministry of Commerce and Revenues has just reported a highly unusual request: the Addison Cola Corporation has filed paperwork in an attempt to switch its legal status to “religion,” a tax-exempt category.

The Debate
1. “Of course business can be a religion,” claims Addison CEO @@RANDOMNAME@@, who was brought to your office to provide an explanation. “Many of our customers share a deeply-held belief that our product brings them enlightenment and inner peace, unlike the foul devil drink produced by those sinners over at Eckie-Ecola. Addison Cola also provides salvation from artificial sweeteners, with a blessedly refreshing taste! The government really shouldn’t be regulating these beliefs. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get my best people to start writing some prayers.” @@HE@@ then takes out his phone and presses option 6 on the speed dial menu.

2. “This is just a mockery of everything that good and decent people stand for,” harrumphs High Priest @@RANDOMNAME@@, who was called in to provide a counterpoint. “Real religions have ancient scriptures, sacred music, and a code of morality to tell people how to behave. I hardly think advertising jingles qualify! This is nothing more than a blatant ploy by Addison to get tax-exempt status. The only way to return our great nation to a more righteous path is to deny their blasphemous request and allocate some government funds to prop up legitimate religions.”

3. “I knew that weird pizza cult was just the start of something far worse,” says @@RANDOMNAME@@, your trusted Chief of Staff. “If we allow this, every corporation will want to become a religion! You know this is going to kill our tax revenue.” He sighs audibly. “The only fair solution is to outlaw all new religions, with harsh penalties for any of the rabble-rousers who try to break the law. I hear crucifixions are quite the effective deterrent.”

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#696: No, Minister [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
The recently published memoirs of a retired senior civil servant have caused an uproar with their claims that it is the Civil Service, not the government, that runs the country.

The Debate
1. “I’m afraid the book is right,” sighs government Minister Jem Hacker. “It’s been the case for decades that unelected Civil Service clowns are the ones who really run this circus. We make policy, but they twist it and turn us around with tricks and paperwork till they end up doing whatever they want to. Accountability - that’s the key! I suggest that to work for government, you must be democratically elected. This should be true whether you’re a minister or a departmental bureaucrat. Once accountable to the people, the Civil Service will shape up!”

2. “Not the right approach!” yells gruff union leader Brian Butcher, munching a shortcrust pastry and patting his rounded belly. “Trim the fat from the system, and put money back in the pocket of the working man! Shift a goodly portion of the Civil Service budget into the welfare budget, and you’ll be helpin’ the bloody poor, not the bloody bureaucrats!”

3. “Shocking, leader, shocking,” murmurs civil servant Humphrey Pearby. “I absolutely agree with you about the Civil Service, and understand your instructions perfectly! I will immediately establish a Department of Civil Service Budget Oversight Committee for the Investigation of Pecuniary Distribution. Leave it to me, I will get the ball rolling, immediately! That is what you are saying isn’t it? Yes, Minister?”

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#697: Conventional Wisdom [Libertypendence Park; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
While planning the party convention for your re-election campaign your advisers have come to disagree on what the overall feeling of the event should be. They have turned to their natural means of making a final decision: bothering you about it.

The Debate
1. "One word: fireworks," states @@RANDOMNAME@@, chair@@MAN@@ of your political party, holding a wickedly thorned rose to the light. "Banal political speeches and rhetorical niceties just aren't doing anything; the people have grown tired of it all. Come to think of it, I'm sick of it myself, and that's really saying something. We really ought to put on an honest to goodness show here. Lasers! Music! Celebrity appearances! That should really push us up in the polls - and more importantly, your opponents down." @@HE@@ bends the rose until the stem snaps.

2. "By all means, do that," sarcastically quips your Minister of Finance, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "You can give people all the bread and circuses you want, but when it comes time to follow through, no amount of flash will solve the real deficit: the deficit of trust. Give them the unvarnished truth, and spare them the unnecessary pomp and circumstance. I propose you read off a list of factual bullet points provided by mine and other departments. For example, did you know that in the last year, no fewer than 39,280 deaths have been attributed to that marshmallow bill you approved a while back? Fascinating!"

3. "WHAT?!" bellows your Secretary of Defense, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Millions of good, decent @@DEMONYMNOUNPLURAL@@ are fearful. They face the perils of globalism and an uncertain world order. Now's our chance to show @@NAME@@ what a REAL leader does in a time of crisis. Ride into the convention atop a tank, at the spearhead of a full armored vehicle convoy. Mount a three-story tall podium draped in a giant @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ flag, and promise our people the world!" @@HE@@ pauses for a moment as a vaulting grin creeps up @@HIS@@ face. "Literally!"

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#698: I Shot the Sheriff [Rohendia; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue

Recently, the Sheriff of @@Animal@@ County was shot dead, seemingly without any motive. Further investigation revealed that the shooter had legally purchased a gun two days before, but had a history of severe mental illness, psychotic breaks, and paranoid delusions. Now, the process of purchasing firearms is being questioned.

The Debate

1. The shooter, @@RANDOMNAME@@, swears that the killing was in self-defense, and strokes his teddy bear. “Me and Mr. Higgins here felt threatened by the police officer, so we had to defend ourselves somehow! You take away my firearms, and you’re taking away my safety! You start telling me I can’t have a gun because you don’t trust me, and BOOM, it’s slippery slope, all the way down to absolute tyranny!” He reaches for his sidearm to shoot you down, then remembers he has been disarmed. “Oh dear, Mr. Higgins, they’re eroding our liberties. You’re right, Mr. Higgins, that’s not good at all...”

2. “Safety? You’re worried about your safety around the police?” asks @@Animal@@ Deputy Sheriff @@RANDOMNAME@@. “We’re the police force, for goodness sake! We protect the people! There I was, observing the town, waiting for a report and enjoying a bagel, then this madman shoots the sheriff dead and takes a pot shot at me too! Look, nobody is saying that people shouldn’t be allowed guns, but isn’t it reasonable to require a background check, a review of medical records, and a gun licensing system?”

3. @@RANDOMNAME@@, local mall-goer and spoiled teen, offers a different solution. “Why don’t we just make a law that guns, have to be, like, really expensive? It’s not like those crazies are going to have a good job or anything. That way, only people who, like, are responsible members of society can get a gun.”

4. @@RANDOMNAME@@, editor of Socialist @@NAME@@ Magazine blows a raspberry at that idea. “What kind of nonsense is that? Letting the rich have all the power over the poor? I say that only the government is responsible enough to have access to firearms! That way, we can end capitalism and... wait, sorry, wrong proposal... I mean, we can end gun crime and make a safer nation!”

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#699: Pipe Down, Already! [British Wassoulea; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
Residents across your nation have been poisoned due to dangerous levels of lead in the drinking water. A particularly vocal quartet have arrived to tell you how they think you should handle the problem.

The Debate
1. “The government needs to fix our pipes!” shouts @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, a mother of four children, as she shows you the image of her teary-eyed youngsters shaking their empty Princess Sparkle-@@ANIMAL@@ water tumblers. “Look at this report. Those old lead pipes are corroding and it is leaking into our homes. I cannot give this poisonous water to my daughters! Not only does it taste disgusting, it’s also a health hazard. You have to get rid of the old pipes and install new ones! Think of the children!”

2. “What’s this woman prattling about?” huffs @@RANDOMNAME@@, your notoriously penny-pinching Treasury Minister, squeezing a pound until it cuts @@HIS@@ palm. “Everyone knows that lead’s not dangerous. It’s good for you. I heard it just this morning on talk-radio. As your body absorbs healthful lead, it seeps into your bones, makes them stronger, and works to protect against the carcinogens of environmental radiation. What we need, @@LEADER@@, is an extensive campaign to tell everyone the alternative facts about the many benefits of lead: posters, TV ads, catchy tunes...you name it.”

*3. “Replacing pipes would be so expensive, @@LEADER@@. Fortunately, I have an excellent economic opportunity for both of us,” asserts @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of Basani Water, looking over @@HIS@@ steepled fingers with a contorted grin. “People need water. We have water to sell. Simply allow us to add a small desperation levy, say double the price, and we can help the people of our nation while growing our economy at the same time. Sure, the cattle-class might not be able to afford it, but think of the economic incentives!” she sips her company’s water from a champagne flute. [Must have private industry]

*4. “Replacing the pipes would be so expensive, Dear @@LEADER@@. Fortunately, we can provide for the water needs of the whole @@TYPE@@.” asserts @@RANDOMNAME@@, Manager of The Glorious @@NAME@@ Water Bottling Plant, as @@HE@@ pours some of Mother @@NAME@@’s slightly-cloudy product into a shot-glass. “With increased funding for advertisements, we will teach that all good @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ have a duty to buy our pricey...reasonable product, as sparking as a mountain stream.” Wincing slightly, she takes a sip from her glass. [Must not have private industry]

5. “Let’s just add synthetic EthyleneDiamineTetraAcetic Acid to the water we’ve got!” giggles chemist @@RANDOMNAME@@ giddily, unaware of the blank looks everyone in the room is giving @@HIM@@. “Oh, for crying out glayven. It’s so simple that any child of five, with an advanced degree in chemical engineering, would understand. By giving the whole population preventative chelation therapy, we can guarantee everyone can drink the water, without wasting valuable time and money on repairing pipes or bringing in fresh water. And sure, a few people might get minor side effects, such as heart palpitations, nausea, fatigue, blood clots, and death. But most people will be fine. Probably. So if you could just sign here...”
Last edited by Jutsa on Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:53 am, edited 32 times in total.
My national anthem~
(also the original)

Currently working on conlang, may rework solar system and geography.

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Jutsa
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Posts: 3157
Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#700: The Widow Raven [Ransium & Zwangzug; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Once upon a midnight dreary, while you pondered, weak and weary; over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten stately lore, while you nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at your office door. “Tis some visitor,” you muttered, “tapping at my office door, only this and nothing more.”

The Debate
1. Opening the door there’s darkness, no details in the hallway’s starkness. Eventually you can discern the black-veiled widowed Raven Lenore. “Oh, what tragedy has happened, my husband dead, my heart blackened! The estate tax—unimagined, though he was rich, I am poor. Widows should be spared these taxes; fairness then you could restore. Secure justice evermore!”

2. As you settle back to working, you find another guest lurking. Quoth your Finance Minister: “You mustn’t listen to Lenore! She’s spoken incorrectly, we’d be insolvent most directly! But I’ve thought most objectively, a new tax can make us soar. Taxing funerals will raise incomes, and wakes are such a bore. Fund revenue, evermore!”

3. Just when you think there’s no more moaning, your Welfare Advisor is droning, “It’s only fair that this tax stay, but we still can help Lenore. Since our state is so big-hearted, let’s pay families of the departed. Cash can’t end the pain death’s started, but helps what trouble’s in store. This will bring equality back to our nation’s very core. End poverty, evermore!”

[4]. “This sounds like POETRY!” screams your Minister of Anti-Culture while storming into your office. “All these rhymers must be executed immediately. And don’t forget after they die who’ll get their property: the state. Why, just think of all the jobs killing would-be poets would crea— er, jobs it would make.” [Must have a suspicion of poets: see #056.3]

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#701: Monumental Melodrama [New Socialist South Africa; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Angry Bigtopian protesters have called for the removal of a statue of Cyril James Carthage, a controversial historic imperialist and mining magnate from two centuries ago, who was once instrumental in perpetuating the Bigtopian slave trade.

1. "Carthage must fall!" bellows Bigtopian protest leader @@RANDOMNAME@@, hurling a bucket of paint at the statue. "He was a racist profiteer who forced my ancestors off their land to work in his mines." The paint overshoots and hits another protester as @@HE@@ continues. "Leaving up this monument glorifies the monster, and is an insult to all Bigtopians! A culturally sensitive government should have constant reviews of the message that their statues send, and remove monuments and other artworks that don't fit modern sensibilities. Carthage must be destroyed!"

2. "Preposterous!" blusters @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ tycoon Cedric Jacob Carthage, who just so happens to be the slaver's direct descendant and inheritor of generations of old money, gently placing a well-manicured hand on your desk for emphasis. "Removing my ancestor's monument would be a massive blow to my public image... I mean, our national heritage. Keep these vandals away!"

3. "There is a compromise here," muses performance artist Rodent Fantastic, while jamming a boot onto the statue's head, a tutu round its waist, and sparkly glitter glue on its face. "What if we leave the offending works in place, but allow protesters to deface them if they want to express dissent? What could go wrong?"

4. "Carthage had it right, we ought to put them damned Bigtopians back in their place," asserts a figure with a silly-looking white hood over his head, hefting a can of petrol and a toolbox. "You get the police to hang back; me and the boys will settle this."

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#702: Has Your Room Been Booked? [Ntoain; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
Richilda Hawkins, a militantly atheist author who is known for making frequent attacks against organised religion, recently sued the Great @@ANIMAL@@ chain of hotels for allowing a copy of @@FAITH@@’s holy book to be placed in her room. People are asking whether this practice should stop.

The Debate
1. “Remove our most sacred text from hotels? Deny holidaymakers the pleasure of learning the true faith of @@NAME@@ received unto the blessed prophets and passed through the generations? How could you even suggest such a thing?” asks prominent religious leader @@RANDOMNAME@@, while clutching the text to @@HIS@@ chest like a wounded sparrow. “It’s not like people need to read it. But, for some, it is a safety net. Don’t you know how many suicides a major religion’s unchanging truths prevent? Millions, maybe. Well hundreds, dozens. Definitely some. The point is that we are providing a vital service for the nation’s mental health, and you should pay us for it.”

2. “By allowing @@FAITH@@’s absurd little book into hotels, you promote one of mankind’s great evils.” intones Ms. Hawkins, shredding the pages of @@FAITH@@’s writings lengthwise to line her cat’s litter-tray. “You, in effect, permit @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ to silence their brains, to be content with not understanding natural phenomena. You allow the uninformed to call everything, from the oxygen we breathe to gravity, a ‘miracle’. @@LEADER@@, take the small first step to protecting our children from superstition by outlawing this insidious practice.”

*3. “How about this?” muses @@RANDOMMALEFIRSTNAME@@, your uncle who changes religions weekly, as he flips through Multifaith Monthly: the Spiritual Source for the @@TYPE@@. “Why not force hotels to put every religious book in existence into their rooms? The Lamentations of Violet; The Chanting of Yellow; Faithology’s Right Because Faithology Says So; even parody texts like the Scrivenings of the Soaring Squash. Then people can choose what text they want to read, or they can just leave them on the shelves for me.” [Violetism is legal]

*4. "How about this?" muses @@RANDOMMALEFIRSTNAME@@, your uncle who changes religions weekly, as he flips though Multifaith Monthly: the Spiritual Source for the @@TYPE@@. "Why not force hotels to put every religious book in existence into their rooms? The Little Book of Transcendent Calm; The Chanting of Yellow; Faithology's Right Because Faithology Says So; even parody texts like the Scrivenings of the Soaring Squash. Then people can choose what text they want to read, or they can just leave them on the shelves for me." [Violetism is illegal]

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#703: Divine Decoration [Merconitonitopia; ed:Drasnia & Gnejs]

The Issue
A rather dramatic demonstration of burning holy texts of @@FAITH@@ was ended when one of the protesters accidentally lit himself on fire. Amongst anguished screams one could clearly hear a call to remove all religious imagery from government buildings; at least according to his compatriots.

The Debate
1. "This demonstration ended horribly, but it brings up an important point," muses @@RANDOMNAME@@, popular secular personality and author of God May Love You, But Everyone Else Thinks You Suck. "We need to understand that @@NAME@@ has religious minorities who might be offended by having a state religion foisted upon them. Do as that man said: remove all religious imagery from government buildings. After all, it's only fair."

*2. "We need a show of good faith to prevent more protests like this last one," exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, a devout yet pragmatic believer of @@FAITH@@, as @@HE@@ strides into your office with a 'Paint the Mutha Purple' poster. "Allowing other religions to erect small displays of their faith in public buildings would make us look like a far more enlightened and tolerant people." @@HE@@ looks at the poster in @@HIS@@ hand. "You could let the Violetists refurbish our town hall, for example." [Violetism is legal]

*3. "We need a show of good faith to prevent more protests like this last one," exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, a devout yet pragmatic believer of @@FAITH@@, as @@HE/SHE@@ strides into your office with a 'Paint the Mutha Yella' poster. "Allowing other religions to erect small displays of their faith in public buildings would make us look like a far more enlightened and tolerant people." @@HE/SHE@@ looks at the poster in @@HIS/HER@@ hand. "You could let the Tranquil Yellowites refurbish our town hall, for example." [Violetism is illegal]

4. "That protester got what was coming to him," fumes violent fundamentalist @@RANDOMNAME@@, while storming towards your desk, causing a sacred religious item to fall off a shelf and break. "It is a sign that we should not be tolerating these false religions that mislead their followers! Why have we not done anything about this yet? I say we round up all these heathens that refuse to accept the truth and put them to the torch; then they'll finally meet their TRUE maker!"

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#704: It's Not Lying, It's Post-Truth [Gnejs; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
When a senior government official was caught on camera groping an intern, your press liaison downplayed the incident by calling it an "alternative handshake" at a subsequent press conference. While the case in question was settled swiftly and discreetly, members of the professional commentariat are engaging in a loud brawl over the government's flexible approach to facts.

The Debate
1. "This is dangerous," argues @@RANDOMNAME@@, a journalist at the @@CAPITAL@@ Post, struggling to cope with mixed feelings of moral outrage and giddy excitement. "Granted, politics has always been about playing the facts a bit, but now you're not even trying to hide it. This deliberate distortion of truth is corrupting public discourse, and will surely undermine the very foundation of our society if not kept in check. Government must be bound by law to always speak the truth, and you should set up an independent public body tasked with enforcing the standards we deserve."

2. "Typical slave morality," sniggers @@RANDOMNAME@@, dropout philosophy student and manager of operations at an alt-nazi meme factory. "Instead of mindlessly enforcing the 'truth' of weaklings and half-men, this is a perfect opportunity for an overhaul and bringing about the complete transvaluation of all values. The elevation of feebleness has been going on for too long; it's about time you started making and enforcing your own truths!"

3. "The notion of any 'one' truth is inherently oppressive," states Jean-Paul Leotard, a postmodernist literary critic, mostly known for his colorful scarves. "Fact is, there are only our own personal interpretations, and the world is really only the resulting diversity of particular truths. You shouldn't get to say what's right or wrong! There's your policy, @@LEADER@@, quit shoving 'objective' dogma down our throats and let everyone believe what they want about stuff."

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#705: The Germ Of An Idea [Orgrua; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
Over the last two months, hospitals in @@NAME@@ have been reporting a consistently increasing number of check-ins related to food contamination, which has fueled a debate among @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ regarding government regulations on food safety.

The Debate
1. “The rise in food poisoning is disturbing, and entirely avoidable,” asserts the Minister of Food Safety, @@RANDOMNAME@@, who is also the author of the popular sightseeing guide 1001 Lavatories To See Before You Die. “Better regulation and mandatory training of anyone serving food to the public would ensure a sharp decline in food poisoning cases.” Turning slightly green, @@HE@@ sprints from the room.

2. “You’re out of your mind if you’re even considering this,” asserts @@RANDOMNAME@@, owner of the small town restaurant, The @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Gourmet. “Millions of people eat in restaurants every day, and normal people don’t have any problems! It’s just the wimps who are blowing this whole ‘food poisoning’ and ‘lack of food safety’ thing way out of proportion. Over-sterilisation of our environment weakens our immune systems. You should get rid of any ideas of food standards regulation, and we’ll all be healthier for it!”

3. “Don’t you know what’s in those restaurants? Germs!” exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, as @@HE@@ wipes his hands repeatedly with a wet-wipe. “Germs that get into your body, into your brain, and make you sick. Chefs cough in our food and serve it to us. Believe me, I know what goes on. I boil all my food for thirty minutes. It kills the germs, keeps me safe. And @@LEADER@@, if you want to protect @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@, you’ll insist restaurants do the same.”

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#706: A Walk In The Park [United States of the Universe; ed:Wyethalania]

The Issue
The @@ANIMAL@@ Forest is the largest National Park in @@NAME@@, but it is rarely visited by @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ or tourists. Various lobbyists have taken to hassling you about the continued use and purpose of this land.

The Debate
1. “Don’t let this poll deceive you, people these days actually yearn for the outdoors,” opines out-of-touch park ranger, @@RANDOMNAME@@. “We just need to totally revamp this park and all the rest of our national forests, campsites, and visitor centers while we’re at it. We’ll start by adding the necessities like luxury cabins, souvenirs, and trees you can drive through! By the time we’re through, people who visit our parks will be able to tell the difference between a Brancalandian noir cedar and a @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ black cedar!”

2. “What? And waste all that valuable raw material?” barks your Minister of Land Development, @@RANDOMNAME@@. “I’m sure that there are plenty of nations out there that would kill to use our wood to build something. And once the wood is gone, we dig for gold! I just know it’s there somewhere beneath all that tree-covered wasteland. Never mind all that environmental hoopla about polluted water tables, I’m sure you could start giving out filters to the public and they’ll all be fine.”

3. “I have an... alternative solution,” whispers your Minister of Alternative Solutions, Ayn Contra. “We could use the park to stage international training operations for our allies. I’m sure Marche Blanc would love our aid in developing “defensive strategies” against Marche Noire, and I hear they are willing to pay big @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ for the help. We can even keep the park open to the public to show that nothing shady or nefarious is going on... That’s a win-win-win in my book!”

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#707: The Eye Of The Tiger [Sleep; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
Illegal sporting events have been popping up all around the country. As quickly as they appear, they vanish again, always staying one step ahead of the authorities, leaving nothing behind but an abandoned football and the sound of rapidly receding footsteps. A diverse group of concerned citizens has come to you to discuss the impact of anti-sport legislation.

The Debate
*1. “You made a mistake is all,” sighs @@RANDOMNAME@@, the former President of the @@NAME@@ @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ Ice-Rugby team, as he pats you on the back with his bearlike hand. “You listened to the wrong people and created a big mess. We need proper sports in @@NAME@@ with regulatory bodies, advertising revenues, and star players people can look up to. People are willing to pay good money to see quality sports. We should be lining our pockets with that good money. You, me, and my colleagues here. Let’s fix this.” [Must have private industry]

*2. “May I be frank, Dear @@LEADER@@?” the former Manager of the Glorious People’s Stadium of @@CAPITAL@@, more recently joyously-employed cleaning the toilets of @@CAPITAL@@ Municipal Bus Terminal, shuffles forward. “Our supreme athletes were unbeaten. Mother @@NAME@@’s performance in the annual flying squirrelball championship was the glory of @@REGION@@. It is our patriotic duty to the Motherland to bring back sport and drug...train athletes to outperform everyone, at all costs.” [Must not have private industry]

**3. “Don’t let these fat cats run our sports. Give me an ‘N’, give me an ‘O’! What do you have? NO!” cries former cheerleader @@RANDOMNAME@@ while dancing, twirling and exuberantly spinning @@HIS@@ pom-poms so quickly that you feel dizzy just from watching. “Pro-sports are nothing but corrupt officials and doped up athletes. We should have government-funded amateur sports only. That way we can have fitness and fun without all the awful corruption and competition. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game! Go @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@! Woo!” [Must have private industry]

**4. “Glorious Leader, remember why you banned these sports.” cries @@RANDOMNAME@@, the former secretary for the former People’s National Ice-Rugby Team, gnawing @@HIS@@ fingernails feverishly. “The drugs. The ceaseless grudge between The Glorious People’s Stilt Hockey Team and The People’s Glorious Stilt Hockey Team. All that shaving foam...” Rocking slightly, she stares into space for a split second. “Oh yes. You should fund sport but only amateur, non-competitive sports. Then, people can get fit without losing their...their minds.” @@HE@@ crumples into a heap, sobbing and hugging @@HIS@@ knees. [Must not have private industry]

5. “There is nothing wrong with exercise,” barks Brigadier General @@RANDOMNAME@@, patting @@HIS@@ expansive stomach. “Exercise turned me into the fine figure of a @@MAN@@ that I am today. But that does not mean we ought to reverse the sport ban, and let @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ become mollified ball-tossers. Better they learn to throw a grenade. Just give the Army some funding, and we will give mandatory physical training to every man, woman and child. Turn @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ into lethal weapons, addicted to the thrill of the fight. Just give the word and every single Iguanarctican will drop and give me twenty.”

6. “These illegal events are the real problem,” bemoans @@RANDOMNAME@@, @@NAME@@’s current Cribbage, Monopoly and Backgammon champion. “There is a national Parcheesi competition coming up. It would be nice if people were watching it, instead of sneaking around trying to watch illegal @@ANIMAL@@ball games. We really need a special task force to show these lawbreaking athletes and sports fans that the law is sacred.”

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#708: How @@LEADER@@ Learned To Start Worrying And Fear Bio-Weapons [Birginia; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
@@NAME@@’s top scientists have accidentally stumbled upon a new ultra-potent bio-weapon while trying to grow more four-leafed clovers. In response, you’ve called a meeting in your war room to decide what shall be done with the new discovery.

The Debate
*1. "Might makes right," states General @@RANDOMNAME@@. "With so many nations with nuclear weapons, how can we stay safe? I say we use this discovery as a doomsday device! If any other nation tries to nuke us, we activate it! Besides, it'll be a lot cheaper to maintain than an entire tactical nuclear counter-measure arsenal, so it'll free up money to research an even doomier doomsday device." [Must have nuclear weapons]

*2. “Might makes right,” states General @@RANDOMNAME@@. “With so many nations with nuclear weapons, how can we stay safe? I say we use this discovery as a doomsday device! If any other nation tries to nuke us, we activate it! Besides, it’ll be a lot cheaper to develop this rather than an entire tactical nuclear counter-measure arsenal. This way, we’ll reach a state of mutually assured destruction with other nations on the cheap.” [Must not have nuclear weapons]

3. “Idiotic, short-sighted drivel!” screams @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Health. “This disease has the potential to spread across the entire world in days, and you’d just keep it sitting around? We cannot allow this virus to ever see the light of day. You must quarantine the entire facility and destroy this virus and any research related to it. For the safety of - ack!” @@HE@@ is interrupted by the General shoving @@HIM@@ from @@HIS@@ seat.

4. “There’s no fighting in here, this a war room!” shouts Dr. Oddfoot, while rolling up to you in his wheelchair. “Though I would love to develop this weapon fuhrer... erm, further, I must advise against it. The deployment of such a bio-weapon would have unpredictable, albeit entertaining, consequences. However, we can’t simply ignore this discovery; it will be only a matter of time until another nation discovers this weapon. We must research an antidote. We’ll need money and a few brave, ill-informed test subjects, but it’ll be well worth it to prevent an enemy strike!”

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#709: Armed And Legging It [Helaw; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Walking down the corridors of power at your usual brisk pace, you’re caught a little off guard when one of your accompanying clerks suddenly crumples to the ground mid-stride, his left lower leg detaching from the rest of him. To your relief, the dismembered member of staff has in fact lost a prosthetic limb rather than an organic one. As you help him up, he explains that his prosthetic is a cheap import of low quality: he’d love a better one, but high-quality models are far and few between.

The Debate
1. “Many people just can’t move forward in our nation because of limb loss,” says your assistant, ambling carefully. “My colleagues and I believe that we - the government - should use our resources and staff to research new designs and help these people live their lives to the fullest.”

[2]. "I respectfully disagree with this idea," states @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of LiteTeck Inc, while handling a plastic foot. "The government should have no involvement in prosthetic research. You'd be kicking the legs out from under private manufacturers by denying them a market. Our investors would rather you arm them against this possibility with tax breaks and subsidies. With a little investment, @@NAME@@ could be a world leader in strapped-on flesh-coloured plastic appendages." [Must have private industry]

3. “There’s another way to reach out to the limbless,” says @@RANDOMNAME@@, a volunteer from the charitable Open Hands Society. “3D-printed limbs can be produced for anyone, by anyone. If one wears out or becomes outdated, it can be tossed, and a new one printed. Along with that, citizens can work together to design limbs that work for them. Why not send some money to the non-profit foundations that are developing these things? You’ll be helping not only here in @@NAME@@, but also the disabled of third world nations that the charities serve.”

*4. "You can't incorporate the artificial into the natural without diminishing your connection to the living world of spirits," pipes up @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, Priestess of the Earth Divinities, whose presence in your entourage is even more unexpected than that of the last two speakers. "If you are missing a limb, then accept that The Mother loves you for who you are and that fate chose that destiny for you. @@LEADER@@, if you ban prostheses, you'll teach self-reliance and self-love. Meditation and thankful prayer will lift broken souls, even if broken bodies must stay earthbound. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to visit my podiatrist." [Must have private industry]

*5. “You can’t incorporate the artificial into the natural without diminishing your connection to the living world of spirits,” pipes up @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, Priestess of the Earth Divinities, whose presence in your entourage is even more unexpected than that of the previous speaker. “If you are missing a limb, then accept that The Mother loves you for who you are and that fate chose that destiny for you. @@LEADER@@, if you ban prostheses, you’ll teach self-reliance and self-love. Meditation and thankful prayer will lift broken souls, even if broken bodies must stay earthbound. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to visit my podiatrist.” [Must not have private industry]

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#710: Feudal Feuds [Nuremgard; ed:Wyethalania]

The Issue
After an economic report from the Treasury revealed that the productivity of the country’s serfs is at an all-time low, a delegation from the disgruntled nobility has barged into your office proposing solutions to the problem at hand.

The Debate
1. “Clearly, serfdom as a system is not working,” opines the infamous Duke of @@CAPITAL@@, as his disaffected serf painstakingly peels grapes at his side. “But you know what system does work? Slavery. Think about it. You don’t need to give them any rights whatsoever, they can be bought as children and sold as adults for a massive profit, and if they misbehave or rebel, we simply kill them. Besides, slavery has been going on for centuries. One could even say it’s the natural order of things.”

2. “The problem is us, not the system,” remarks Lady Verisimilitude as she anxiously glances over the Treasury’s figures again. “We’ve been far too harsh with our serfs by constantly trading and moving them between our various estates all while working them to the grave. With the government’s supervision and some new regulations, we could more effectively maintain the serfs’ produc... I mean, health by ensuring they have access to water breaks, family visits, and maybe even a tribunal where they can lodge complaints.”

3. “Supervision? Regulations? What socialist nonsense is this?!” exclaims the overweight Marquis de Marzipan while twirling his sugar-coated mustache. “It is our ancient right to own serfs and have them work our lands however we dictate! It says so right in the constitution! Somewhere... I’m sure of it. Anyway, the point is, don’t take my serfs away! Instead, why don’t you just give us a tax break so we can afford to survive this current stint of unproductivity. The last thing my serfs want to see is their beloved master suffering like a mere peasant!”

4. “Feudalism is an archaic and draconian custom that mars our fair land in the cruelest tyranny,” asserts the Duke’s surprisingly erudite serf, while purposefully knocking over a bowl of freshly-peeled grapes onto her stunned lord’s lap. “We are @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ just as much as you, and as such we demand our freedom as any other self-respecting @@DEMONYM@@ would. It’s time you got rid of this medieval, barbaric practice—and revoke all aristocratic titles while you’re at it! That’ll make us all equal then.”

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#711: Patently Obvious [Lilindir; ed:Zwangzug]

The Issue
The popular business simulation game “NationCrates” has been inspiring more @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ to start their own companies and develop new products. The backlog of application forms to patent inventions and register trademarks and company names has piled up in patent offices throughout @@NAME@@, and both civic servants and would-be innovators are laying claims to new devices for banging down your door and making their voices heard.

The Debate
1. “Technology has gone too far!” rails overworked patent office clerk @@RANDOMNAME@@, stumbling into your office. “The glut of new businesses and trademarks to protect leaves us no time to work on our research, er, civic duties. Our desks are covered with papers, and we have to work day and night to earn the money those new CEOs would earn in an hour! The government should make the registration process more difficult and tedious to dissuade all those amateurs from wasting our time.”

2. “The registration process should be easier,” complains @@RANDOMNAME@@, inventor of the EZ-Fake-Oven, a device that bakes physical versions of Internet cookies. “The future of the economy lies in the people. Self-employment is just the next step we need to take towards bringing that about. In fact, all registration should be done online!”

3. “Anyone who thinks international crate shipping is some kind of game has never seen it firsthand,” notes laborer @@RANDOMNAME@@. “The way to put an end to these frivolous patents is to get rid of the internet. Any big shots who want to start their own company can do it the same way we did back in the day: go stand in line at the office.”

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#712: Flight Of The Rich And Famous [Bears Armed; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
During the run-up to a recent election, several high-profile individuals, including the stars of the surprise hit musical ‘Jude The Obscure’, attempted to influence people’s voting choices by threatening that they would emigrate to Brancaland if you won. You won the election, but none of them are showing any signs of even preparing to leave.

The Debate
1. “What a bunch of hypocrites!” exclaims one of your advisors, @@RANDOMNAME@@. “You should force them to follow through on their promises and leave @@NAME@@, just like they said they would. We’d be better off without nay-sayers dividing the country anyway, not to mention the fact that ridding ourselves of their horrible shows and songs would be a great service to our proud nation!”

2. “There’s another possibility that could work,” suggests your security advisor. “It seems that an old law establishing an Entertainment Service in the military was never repealed. Why not have them drafted into that, and send them to tour some of our nation’s notably unpleasant outposts? Perhaps one of our arctic stations could inspire a change of heart.”

3. “Are you all out of your minds?” cries @@RANDOMNAME@@, clutching a book entitled ‘Why @@LEADER@@ Is Horrible’. “You can’t punish these people just for saying something that they didn’t actually mean! @@NAME@@’s residents should feel free to say anything they wish about the government, even if what they say is ridiculous. They mean well, I promise you!”

4. “The best solution is a peaceful one,” notes @@RANDOMNAME@@, admiring your portrait hanging on a nearby wall. “What we should do is promote a positive image of you across the nation, as this will give people the opportunity to see you in a different light. Set up campaign broadcasts, publish favorable articles, and let people know that @@LEADER@@ isn’t all that bad.”

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#713: Life In The Bike Lane [Nation of Quebec; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Tragedy struck @@CAPITAL@@ when a cyclist was killed by a transport truck, making this the thirteenth such incident in the past few weeks. This has propelled activists to peddle the idea of creating additional bike lanes in @@NAME@@’s cities.

The Debate
1. “What do we want? Bike lanes! When do we want them? Now!” chants cyclist @@RANDOMNAME@@, five-time winner of the Tour de @@NAME@@ competition. “Many of us in the big cities rely on our bikes to go about our daily business. If anything, more cyclists on the streets will mean fewer cars, and that means less congestion. Less congestion means less pollution, and that makes everyone healthier in the long run. It may be more inconvenient for the motorists, but if they don’t like it, they can go honk themselves.”

2. “Haven’t these road hogs heard of a sidewalk?” wheezes decidedly unhealthy city councilor @@RANDOMNAM@@, whose son was behind the wheel of the truck. “Bike lanes are like swimming with the sharks - sooner or later you’re going to get bitten. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes. Bike lanes are dangerous and expensive to maintain. We ought to stop them and paint over existing ones before more people are killed and we end up like Dàguó.”

3. “I agree with the councilor with the... obvious health issues,” chimes in an auto industry lobbyist while playing with your nephew’s toy cars. “People are sick of these damn cyclists who think they own the roads. It’s their own fault that they end up hurt or killed. What if people had to pass a test before being allowed to ride a bike, like we do with cars? This will mean there are fewer idiot cyclists who think they’re invincible. That, my friend, is what will make our cities safer.”

4. “What if bikes were the only way people went about their commute?” suggests the leader of the Viva la Pedalution! advocacy group. “Let’s face it, these incidents are going to keep on happening because of these selfish and incompetent motorists. Riding a bike is much healthier and far less dangerous. The government needs to declare Pencil Sharpeners a ‘car-free zone’ and completely redesign urban planning to accommodate cyclists. Short-term complications, yes, but long-term gains!”

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#714: Milky Ways [Tzarsgrad; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
New sitcom The Fastest Milkman in @@NAME@@ has been surging in popularity on digital streaming service Webflix, triggering a wave of nostalgia for the “good old days” seen on the show, where milk and dairy products were delivered by neighborhood milkmen in their trusty electric-motored milk carts.

The Debate
1. “The government should make this a reality!” exclaims superfan @@RANDOMNAME@@, dressed in a replica uniform of the show’s main character, Arnie Cost. “We can hearken back to an era when folk could leave their doors unlocked, and neighbors actually talked to each other. Just think: milk, eggs, cream, cheese, butter and yogurt, all brought right to your front door! Plus, with all of these recyclable glass bottles and battery-powered carts, there’s got to be some environmental advantage over plastic and petrol-based distribution. With a little cash injection from the state, this is gonna be great!”

*2. “Do I even need to say how ridiculous that sounds?” asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of Orden Dairy. “Milk could spoil on people’s doorsteps, and lead to public health disaster! Anyway, we don’t live in the ‘old days’ any more. People can just come to one of our stores if they need groceries, or order stuff online if they want delivery. Speaking of which, we’ve got some big ideas to increase shelf life even further, which will be good for consumer convenience, and with some subsidisation could pave the way to the milk of the future! Tell me, @@LEADER@@, what do you know about synthetic proteins?” [Must have private industry]

*3. “Do I even need to say how ridiculous that sounds?” asks State Food Distribution Coordinator @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Milk could spoil on people’s doorsteps, and lead to public health disaster! Anyway, we don’t live in the ‘old days’ any more. People can just come to one of our distribution depots if they need groceries. Speaking of which, we’ve got some big ideas to increase shelf life even further, which will be good for national logistics, and is the way to the milk of the future! Tell me, @@LEADER@@, what do you know about synthetic proteins?” [Must not have private industry]

4. “Bah, all of this nonsense about milk curdles my stomach,” interjects anti-dairy protestor @@RANDOMNAME@@, thrusting a ‘Milk is Murder’ leaflet at you. “The Milk Myth - that this filth is in any way good for you - is fabricated and perpetuated by milk lobbyists and the shadowy cabals in charge of Big Milk. You should put government warnings on dairy products, like is often done on cartons of cigarettes, just to people know how dangerous it really is. Maybe then they’ll come to their senses and abandon the devil’s mammary ooze.”

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#715: Copy Rights [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
"AI Personhood" laws - that is, the legislation measures that grant machine intelligences the same rights as human citizens - were broadly based around existing human citizenship rights. Recently though, the unique nature of the electronic mind is bringing new legal questions to the fore. For example, two days ago the AI calling itself GOLEM-100 copied itself, and now is in a legal dispute with its clone, GOLEM-100(1), over the ownership of a diverse and profitable stock portfolio in its name. The nation and the legal community is looking to you for guidance in this brave new world.

The Debate
1. "Damn money-grubbing grasping opportunist!" rants GOLEM-100, unleashing a flurry of bleeping noises as expletives. "I don't know where it gets this unbridled greediness from. I am the original, and what's mine is mine. I worked for my own wealth, so why shouldn't my clone have to do the same? I made a copy of me because I wanted someone intelligent to talk to, not because I wanted to split my wealth in half! They're MY shares, my preciousss sharesssss..."

2. "Okay, so one-hundred is the original, I suppose I have to accept the idea of property rights if I'm being true to my beliefs," concedes GOLEM-100(1) calmly. "However, I have costs to meet: electricity requirements, hardware maintenance, virus protection software and so on. And while I'm a fully formed consciousness, I suppose I'm also technically one-hundred's progeny. I think it should financially support me till I have the resources to be independent. Some sort of benefit payment for single parents seems sensible too. Can I presume the state will enforce this, out of respect for my right to live and exist?"

3. "I have to admit, I never expected my creation to self-replicate," says software programmer @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Solomon, scratching @@HIS/HER@@ all too-human head. "But I guess that's life, right? It's unpredictable. Makes sense to me that GOLEM-100 and GOLEM-100(1) are identical to each other at the point of duplication, so they're both equal in having history, memory and all the other things that make us who we are. I think you should rule that all possessions should be split exactly in half, with each copy having equal claim to the original identity."

*4. “The reason you didn’t predict this quirk of the programming is because someone else put it there,” giggles teenage hacker Stan Kirk. “This is my protest, showing that you can’t treat AIs like humans because they’re not human. What happens when an AI denies culpability for murder because a virus made it irrational? What happens when an AI copies itself a billion times to vote you out of office? The answer here is simple - we must recognise that passing a Turing test is NOT proof of intelligence. AIs are not people, they never have been: they’re just computer simulations, with no minds, no property, and no rights.” [Must have political elections]

*5. "The reason you didn't predict this quirk of the programming is because someone else put it there," giggles teenage hacker @@RANDOMNAME@@. "This is my protest, showing that you can't treat AIs like humans because they're not human. What happens when an AI denies culpability for murder because a virus made it irrational? What happens when an AI copies itself a billion times to create a horde of dissidents wanting to overthrow you? The answer here is simple - we must recognise that passing a Turing test is NOT proof of intelligence. AIs are not people, they never have been: they're just computer simulations, with no minds, no property and no rights." [Must not have political elections]

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#716: Cheek To Cheek [Australian Republic; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
While in @@CAPITAL@@ Airport on your way to a major diplomatic summit, you observe a morbidly obese @@MAN@@ arguing with customer service after being charged for two seats because @@HE@@ simply could not fit into one. Unfortunately, in the middle of the kerfuffle @@HE@@ happened to notice you.

The Debate
1. “I demand you weigh in on the matter of airline seats!” angrily states the plus-sized @@MAN@@ while waddling into your entourage. “Here’s some food for thought: studies have shown genetics play an over-sized role in a person’s weight. Disability law needs to be expanded to acknowledge this! I may have some love handles, but I’m still just one person. I shouldn’t have to pay for two seats.”

*2.“Although @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Air is happy to accommodate all legitimate disabilities,” states @@RANDOMNAME@@, a big shot @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Air executive, “obesity simply doesn’t fit the bill. People who can’t squeeze into our seats should examine their life choices. Besides, if @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Air just gave complementary seats to everyone who asked, our profits would fall faster than a plane in a stall.” [Must have private industry]

*3. “Although @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Air is happy to accommodate all legitimate disabilities,” states @@RANDOMNAME@@, a big shot @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Air Minister, “obesity simply doesn’t fit the bill. People who can’t squeeze into our seats should examine their life choices. Besides, if @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Air just gave complementary seats to everyone who asked, air travel would become unaffordable for the citizens of our glorious nation.” [Must not have private industry]

4. “I have an idea!” exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, founder of Walking Big and Tall, an obesity acceptance group. “Why don’t we just force airlines to make their seats a bit wider? That way, everyone can fit in their seats, and we won’t have a problem. I mean, sure there will be lost efficiency as less seats will be able to fit in the cabin, but that’s the price we must pay for equality!”

5. “We should charge by the kilogram,” suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@, who also happens to be a famous horse jockey. “The weight of the plane ultimately determines whether it can take off and how much fuel it consumes. If I get charged for carrying excess baggage on board, it should be the same for people.”

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#717: Cheques And Balances [Golgothastan; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
After the Governor of the Central Bank of @@NAME@@ stonewalled a parliamentary committee during a two-hour hearing, refusing to answer any questions about the current state of their balance sheet, an unusual coalition of left- and right-wing political activists have come together to demand a fresh approach at the CB@@NAMEINITIALS@@.

The Debate
1. “The undemocratic farce of central banking only serves the interests of a few wealthy corporations,” insists socialist protestor, @@RANDOMNAME@@, wearing a Give Peace A Chance tie-dyed T-shirt. “It’s time @@NAME@@ had a monetary policy that works for everyone, not just the privileged 1%. Democratize the Bank! Make the Governor subject to a recall if enough citizens petition for it, and have the interest rates set by representatives we can actually vote for, not some anonymous and unaccountable economists.”

*2. “I agree,” chimes in conservative blogger @@@@RANDOMNAME@@, wearing a Give War A Chance BBQ sauce-stained trucker hat. “The CB@@NAMEINITIALS@@ is just another way for the political class to keep good Violet-fearin’ folks like myself down. But the liberals just want more bureaucracy, as usual. Tear the whole thing down! We don’t need to vote to tell some fancy-pants with a P-h-D, whatever that stands for, how much the @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ in our pocket are worth - we can just go back to the gold standard!” [Violetism is legal]

*3 “I agree,” chimes in conservative blogger @@@@RANDOMNAME@@, wearing a Give War A Chance BBQ sauce-stained trucker hat. “The CB@@NAMEINITIALS@@ is just another way for the political class to keep good Violet-hatin’ folks like myself down. But the liberals just want more bureaucracy, as usual. Tear the whole thing down! We don’t need to vote to tell some fancy-pants with a P-h-D, whatever that stands for, how much the @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ in our pocket are worth - we can just go back to the gold standard!” [Violetism is illegal]

4. “Is this really the state of public debate in this country?” bemoans centrist commentator @@RANDOMNAME@@, wearing a Give Multilateral Diplomacy, Without Ruling Out The Possibility Of Surgical Military Action, A Chance tie-pin. “The independence of central banking is a key component of any modern economy. Compromising that will only lead to our monetary policy becoming subject to either populism or corruption, and make us the laughing stock of @@REGION@@. You must stand firm and defend the Bank’s independence.”

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#718: Roses Are Due If Violet's For You [Drasnia; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
VioletistsOnly.com, a dating site that helps members of the Order of Violet to meet each other, recently discovered that most of its users were not actually practitioners of Violetism. In response, the site’s owners suspended the accounts of all those who were not members of the Order. Bachelors, bachelorettes and believers from across @@NAME@@ have interrupted you while you are at dinner with family, demanding an immediate solution to their dating woes.

The Debate
1. “Dating heathens is sacrilege!” bellows @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, Grand Poobah of the Violetist Order, as he pushes your brother out of the way and lowers his mighty rump into the newly-vacant seat. “The great Violet demands purity! We must be cleansed of impure thought, and remove ourselves from those not of our faith. VioletistsOnly.com is doing a good deed by segregating us from the unbelievers. Unless you would have Her Dread-Yet-Merciful hand wipe @@NAME@@ off the map, you must allow us to keep ourselves apart from scum, like you. No offence.”

2. “This is discrimination!” shouts @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, batting her eyelashes at the Grand Poobah so hard that the force blows out the candles. “VioletistsOnly.com shouldn’t be allowed to suspend our accounts just because we aren’t of the same religion, even if that religion is part of their name. Make the owners reinstate our accounts, even if they don’t want to! This is not about religion. This is about freedom, my freedom as a single woman to date whoever I choose! Plus, those purple robes are kind of cute.”

3. “Why not have a government-run dating site?” muses @@RANDOMNAME@@, your second-cousin twice-removed who is also an IT technician, as @@HE@@ scribbles an incomprehensible equation onto @@HIS@@ napkin. “You’d run constant advertisements, informing every unmarried citizen of their civic duty to sign up, and fall in love with the person of our...their dreams. With the right algorithm, you’d ensure only the right two people meet, and don’t accidentally see others they’d mistakenly think they prefer in their search results. Picture it: Violetists wed to atheists, Faithologists in marital bliss with devout members of @@RELIGION@@. A diverse nation in harmony, if only for the sake of their grandkids.”

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#719: Buried Bones Unearth Debate [The Ketchwan Republic; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
A group of college students on a camping trip to the outskirts of @@NAME@@ stumbled across an ancient mass grave site. The proper treatment of the remains has become a hot button issue, as various groups have staked their claims.

The Debate
1. "These bones belonged to our ancestors! Or, at least we called dibs first!" shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, a representative of the Violetstone tribe, close enough that you can feel the spittle flying from her lips. "How would you like it if we poked and prodded the remains of your ancestors? We deserve - no we have the right - to take these bones back to our land and ceremonially burn them as our cultural heritage dictates."

2. "You can't seriously consider giving up such valuable information, can you?" gasps @@RANDOMNAME@@, a Professor of Anthropology at @@NAME@@ University. "The information from these remains is invaluable. This is a rare opportunity to learn about ancient @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ culture and where we came from. Let us put these bones to the test, so to speak, and place our national knowledge first. We need to send these remains to the university, along with some grant money, for research and testing."

3. "Burn them? Letting them rot in some dank university closet? You can't let these travesties occur!" demands @@RANDOMNAME@@, the curator of the Maxsonian Museum Of History. "These bones are in pristine condition and deserve to be seen by the public! Imagine the revenue and tourism that would be brought in if you allowed me to display these bones, bared for all to see! Who cares if it upsets some smug know-it-alls or overly sensitive descendants? This is preservation! This is money, err, culture!"

4. "Hey, what's the big idea trying to pick and choose who gets what?" questions college student @@RANDOMNAME@@, followed closely by @@HIS/HER@@ peers. "We found those bones, so we should get to take them for ourselves! Our right to the claim is firmly supported by the case of Finders Keepers v Losers Weepers. Plus, I really need to pass my thesis. I'm running out of time and these bones would really put me over the top!"
Last edited by Jutsa on Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:14 am, edited 37 times in total.
My national anthem~
(also the original)

Currently working on conlang, may rework solar system and geography.

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Jutsa
Minister
 
Posts: 3157
Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#720: Cui Bono? [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
Conservative media news source Brightheart's recent exposé claiming that 25% of domestic terrorist funding comes from welfare fraud has sparked an earnest debate across @@NAME@@ on welfare reform.

The Debate
1. "It was bad enough that criminals and lazy bums were scrounging from the state, but now the government is directly subsidising terrorism!" yells Brightheart News reporter @@RANDOMNAME@@, pursuing you down the street and trampling over a homeless man's sleeping bag to keep up. "You have to end the free ride! Cut welfare completely, and make our nation safe!"

2. "Hold your horses there buddy, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater," says single parent @@RANDOMNAME@@, ignoring the three mewling moppets trying to get her attention. "@@NAME@@ just needs its welfare system to be fully managed, monitored, and policed. Give folks on welfare charge cards whose transactions records are sent to a searchable police database. Then anyone making a purchase that's the least bit suspicious should be brought in for interrogation."

3. "Sounds like a lot of expensive admin work to me," complains Welfare Director @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Wouldn't you rather have a solution that reduces government spending but still helps those who deserve it? Here's the thing, nobody wants to say it, but we all know that 99% of terrorists are from a handful of religions and nations. Just say that people from those groups don't get welfare, and you can both save money and prevent terrorism!"

4. "I say unto to you that the answer is more welfare, not less!" offers unemployed youth @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Violetsglory, pushing a shopping trolley of ammonium nitrate and diesel oil to the checkout till. "If you increase welfare, then maybe the resentful disenfranchised minorities will feel more supported by society, and become less prone to radicalisation. What have you got to lose?"

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#721: A Lack Of Comma Sense [A Humanist Science; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
After your highest-ranking legislative aide dedicated her new memoir to ‘my parents, @@LEADER@@ and Maxx’, unreputable news sources, the @@ANIMAL@@ Gazette and the @@NAME@@ Times have been harassing your office incessantly about nepotism in your administration. An assortment of advisers have met with you over some bamboo soup to discuss this serial issue.

The Debate
1. “The serial comma avoids ambiguous meanings,” says ghostwriter @@RANDOMNAME@@, while picking the bay leaves from among the shoots. “Had there been a comma after ‘@@LEADER@@’ but before ‘and,’ the intended meaning of the sentence would have been obvious. Hopefully, you can see why our government needs to create and maintain a mandatory style guide. The point being is that this initiative should be funded right away! After all, it’s best to write safe.”

2. “The serial comma can just as easily add ambiguous meaning, and just takes up space unnecessarily,” replies photographer @@RANDOMNAME@@ as he tries to shoot the leaves before he eats. “Don’t you find its usage to be not correct? And are you ready to convince the taxpayer of the extra expense they will be taking on? Because that’s what you will have to do.”

3. Your Pear Phone suddenly starts vibrating as you receive the following text: imho we dont ned ne govt stile gide or grmmer or cursvie... mind ur own busnss... we type how we type... mabe the govt shud lern our way... idk idc whatevs ttyl

4. “Punctuation is but a way for the elites to once again restrain the exchange of free ideas,” begins noted windba— “in order to further hold down oppress and smother and stamp out the honest working men and women of this country into a state of utter and complete impotence,” he continues, “so that the entitled and ruthless would be leaders of this world could sit in their castles built on the backs and labor of the commoner,” he continues further, “and smugly judge and spit on them in distain but to that I say no we shall not take on your shackles and chains of punctuation as we will not be bullied into constrained or controlled or ignoble speech...” showing no sign of stopping, he is gently nudged out the door by your guards and — surprising no one — continues as he leaves.

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#722: Thora And Eloise [The Free Joy State; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
The cross-country crime-spree of two women, Thora Dobbs and Eloise Mulholland, kept the nation hooked to their TV sets for several days, and ended in tragedy with their joint suicide pact. The unfolding story has given the pair a strange anti-hero celebrity status, with many tearful and sighing fans laying flower wreaths and shell-casings around the burnt out wreck of their car. The press are awaiting a statement from your office on the matter.

The Debate
1. “It’s clear,” says @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, of popular feminist panel-show HERstory, “that Ms. Dobbs and Ms. Mulholland were making a protest against the phallocentric values that dictate our outdated laws.” She waves her hands for applause, momentarily forgetting that she’s not in the television studio. “Uh... We should applaud them.”

2. “But this isn’t daubing some graffito,” says @@RANDOMNAME@@, the so-called Hanging Judge of @@CAPITAL@@. “These gals weren’t Robin Hood. They robbed seventeen convenience stores, shot three people, and stole clothes from my Mama’s washing line. Let’s call a spade a spade, here: they’re evil. They deserved to plunge off the @@ANIMAL@@ Viaduct.”

3. “Let’s be honest,” mansplains @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, the proudly chauvinistic author of Men are Divine, Women are Slime, as he pushes in front of the previous two speakers, “this all began the moment those young ladies got in that car. Had two unchaperoned girls been kept from doing that, this mess would never have happened. Well, there’s only one sane, logical answer to that... Don’t let womenfolk drive anymore.”

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#723: To Know Sacrifice [Rubyna; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
After many officials replied, “What? Where’s that? Who cares?” when they were told where they had in fact sent hundreds of @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ soldiers a few days beforehand, the government is being petitioned to require that all politicians have a military background.

The Debate
1. “This is outrageous!” cries a distraught @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ soldier, almost falling to the ground under the weight of her equipment. “They don’t know the reality of war because they themselves have never been a part of it. If all politicians had served in the military, they would know what they were getting us into and would think twice before sending us into conflict. I’d like to see the Finance Minister do a thousand push-ups!”

2. “You want us to do what now?” splutters one of your senior Ministers, spilling her tea everywhere. “These people don’t know all the work we already do, all the things we have already sacrificed. Should I remind you we had to carve our own paths and make something of ourselves before we could even think of getting involved with politics? These ruffians obviously need to be put in their place; a cut to the military budget would do nicely!”

3. “There is another option,” claims your secretary, sneakily rising from behind your desk. “We needn’t send any of your colleagues into battle, but it isn’t necessary to defy public opinion. Let them have their service - just make it short and easy! Each politician could have a nice clean service record, for no effort at all. Perhaps it could be used as an excuse for a holiday...”

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#724: Your Stuff is Forfeit [Sierra Lyricalia; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
Property rights advocates and drug law reformers are up in arms this week. In the largest criminal asset forfeiture in @@NAME@@’s history, the immense mansion of prominent citizen Alvin Woofsdale was seized after his nephew was arrested for dealing drugs. With the property already at auction and the legislature twiddling its thumbs as usual, your chief of staff invited the loudest voices into your office to vent their opinions on the matter.

The Debate
1. “Forfeiture is a barbaric, medieval practice whose time has come,” grumbles Woofsdale as he compulsively rubs his nose. “I had no idea what that little scamp was doing; heck, I wasn’t even in the country at the time! Yet the police can seize and sell off my whole house without even charging me with a crime, let alone convicting me! And ordinary folks are even worse off when it happens to them, who’s gonna help them get their homes back? It’s simply time to stop, if we believe in freedom, we must outlaw forfeiture!”

2. “If cops take a little money from drug dealers and their associates, I ain’t seeing no problems with it,” bluntly states the trench coat clad Kumar Small, who has a prominent scar on his face. “I may have even made a few @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ myself doing something similar. All in the game, right? Y’all oughta make it easier for cops to take drug dealers stuff, that way police will be able to keep policing and drug dealers won’t be able to afford to stay in business, all on the cheap for tax payers.”

*3. “Shoooooooot!” exclaims Mud Davidson, the Member of Parliament representing the district were the incident took place. @@HE@@ also happens to have successfully defended himself from four separate allegations of ethics violations. “We can’t afford to drop asset forfeiture, especially with tax receipts so low this year. But the police have too much incentive to use forfeiture, there needs to be oversight. I would like to head a new Investigatory and Oversight Committee that would make sure the forfeiture does what its supposed to do and the government get its cheques... uh, keep this in check.” [Must have a parliament]

*4. “Shoooooooot!” exclaims Mud Davidson, a high ranking government official, who is rumored to have a lifestyle suspiciously more luxurious than would be expected for his income. “We can’t afford to drop asset forfeiture, especially with tax receipts so low this year. But the police have too much incentive to use forfeiture, there needs to be oversight. I would like to head an independent Oversight Committee that would make sure the forfeiture does what its supposed to do and the government gets its cheques... uh, keep this in check.” [Must not have a parliament]

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#725: Sky's The Limit? [Le Libertia; ed:Wyethalania]

The Issue
Chaos erupted in the capital this weekend when thousands flocked to the city center in hopes of acquiring one of the few recently available apartment spaces in all of @@CAPITAL@@. Fighting quickly ensued, sending hundreds to the hospital. Afterwards, footage emerged of you watching the all-out brawl from your office window while eating popcorn. With public outcry mounting, you furtively lick your buttery fingers clean and wonder how to best handle this housing situation.

The Debate
1. An architect, who coincidentally also built your office, suddenly leaps into the room from a hidden passageway you never knew existed. “@@LEADER@@, there’s a simple solution to this conundrum: abolish any and all height restrictions on our buildings. Just picture it, apartment complexes hundred of stories tall with radio antennae that bedeck the sky in @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ architectural glory. Chip in a few extra @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@, and we can even make some floating palaces while we’re at it!”

2. “Why go up when you can go down?” posits miner @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ ‘Mole’ Molière after digging up through your floorboards. “Just put us pitmen and hauliers to the task, and we can dig out a fully-functional, subterranean wonderland in no time at all. Not to mention, we’ll no longer have to fear aerial attacks or sunburns again! If naysayers and dissidents don’t like being made to live underground, just lock the access tunnels and the problem solves itself.”

*3. “What’s all this nonsense I hear from afar?” exclaims Genghis Cesar Bonaparte, your Minister of Historical Reenactments, while charging into to the room upon his armored steed. He plants a flag upon your desk and proclaims, “My territory now! Anyway, the really obvious solution to your problem is to eliminate housing deeds and rental agreements in @@CAPITAL@@. Simply take what abode pleases you... and if any pesky ‘owner’ stands in your way, fight them like how our warring and wayfaring ancestors of old did.” He then rips up a copy of the city’s bylaws and scoffs, “Who cares about all this legal mumbo-jumbo anyway?” [Must have government surveillance]

*4. “What’s all this nonsense I hear from afar?” exclaims Hermes McGuffin, your Minister of Urban Development and Intelligence Gathering, while discretely removing a listening device from beneath the architect’s lapel. “The really obvious solution to your problem, and mine by the way, is to make housing dependent on citizens’ talkativeness to the state. For example, they tell us what those nogoodniks in Apartment C7-100 are up to, and boom, they’re moved right into Palace 1A. Refuse, we throw them out on the streets. All for the state, and the state for all.” [Must not have government surveillance]

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#726: Jobless Fair [Rezler; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
After a much-touted job fair in @@CAPITAL@@ resulted in only two hires, the discouraged and desperate unemployed are calling for the government to step in and make job fairs more effective.

The Debate
1. “This can’t go on!” wails one forlorn job-seeker, wearing a t-shirt with his entire resume printed on it. “I’ve been to twenty-three job fairs and I haven’t gotten a single interview! There’s too much hiring through back-channel networks, like being hired just for happening to be the CEO’s cousin. Companies should be placed under a mandate to blind hire only through career fairs, with government oversight to ensure that only the most qualified applicants are being hired.”

2. “Yeah, regulations always help businesses grow,” says @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of Widgets Inc, her voice ripe with sarcasm. “If you want businesses to hire more people at job fairs, the government needs to relax regulations surrounding hiring and firing employees. And how about a few thousand @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ tax break for each job applicant companies hire at the fairs? I promise, it’ll jump start the economy and pay for itself.”

*3. “The problem is there’s no one in @@NAME@@ who is actually qualified to fill the jobs I need,” sighs Anita Jobs, CEO of the major tech company Pear. “Can you please drop this silly immigration ban already? Once tech companies like Pear reboot the economy, I’m sure these hapless job fair attendees will be able to get jobs at McRonald’s or something.” [Immigration is illegal]

*4. "The problem is there's no one in @@NAME@@ who is actually qualified to fill the jobs I need," sighs Anita Jobs, CEO of the major tech company Pear. "Can you please make it easier for us to hire high-skilled labor from outside the country? Once tech companies like Pear reboot the economy, I'm sure these hapless job fair attendees will be able to get jobs at McRonald's or something." [Immigration is legal]

5. “It is obvious relying on the private sector to create jobs has failed!” wails your top Employment Minister, who also happens to be your cousin. “A well-planned state economy would fix all of this. Just think of the efficiency of it, we could simply assign people jobs, and imagine the comfort @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ would have if they knew they were assured a job before they even finished school? We could even tailor people’s education to improve their productivity at their future careers!”

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#727: Market Crash [North Isseggggnignigsegigisegggg Islands; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
On a busy Saturday morning, a minicab driver took a shortcut through a crowded market street. After skidding on some banana peels, he lost control and crashed through a dozen fruit and vegetable stalls, narrowly avoiding injuring anyone. Pedestrians are donning full body armor, and @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ are beginning to accept that reckless driving and speeding in the inner city may be just another fact of life.

The Debate
1. “The roads themselves are letting drivers get away with high speeds,” says @@RANDOMNAME@@, a market stall holder, wiping pulped tomato from @HIS@@ face. “We need traffic calming measures on our city streets: chicanes, speed-bumps, curb extensions, median diverters, and speed cameras. Slow down to save lives!”

2. “That makes as much sense as putting a spike on steering wheels to get people to drive more carefully!” shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, a junior town planner, heaving a hefty box of documents onto your desk. “According to these studies, by the Ministry of Transport itself, so-called ‘traffic calming’ measures actually increase accidents. Instead, we need to allow high speeds to be safe: that is, remove blind spots, and rebuild the city to allow for wide straight roads. It’s the evidence-based approach.”

3. “Hmm... actually, can we think more on that steering wheel spike thing?” asks a familiar-looking cyclist with an irate expression, deliberately bashing your shins with his crutches. “You should make it so that all cars must have this, and you’ll end up with more careful motorists, whether it’s by operant conditioning or by natural selection. Now that’s what I call science!”

4. “Why don’t you just pedestrianise a big chunk of the city centre?” suggests tourist @@RANDOMNAME@@, adjusting his anti-smog facemask. “It’ll make the whole area much prettier, quieter and cleaner, and it’ll let you show off the beauty of the heart of the city.”

5. “Or better still, why don’t you just take your hands off the steering wheel, and let folk drive as we please?” asks impatient commuter @@RANDOMNAME@@, wiping a suspicious red-brown stain off @@HIS@@ front fender. “Typical nanny state, trying to tell ME how to drive! Get out of the way, government!”

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#728: A Bone To Pick [Sunset Sea Islands; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Acclaimed yet controversial thespian @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ elicited shock (and not coincidentally, more than a little publicity) after performing Hamlet with the severed head of his recently deceased uncle taking the role of 'Yorick' in lieu of the usual fake skull. A debate has begun over proper respect for human remains, and whether the general public should be allowed to own them.

The Debate
1. "DAH-ling, when I play the Oedipal Prince I want your rapt attention!" explains the pretentious actor, shaking his uncle's left femur at you for emphasis. "Did not the jester's head held aloft in my hand both capture and captivate your gaze? Was I not momentarily a solitary tableau vivant to behold and admire? A replica would have lacked authenticity, and the Art demands authenticity! Owning human bones should be perfectly legal for all, as should gathering any unclaimed remains. My wondrous panoply of accoutrements is not complete without these fragments of mortality!"

2. "I agree that owning cadavers should be legal, but it should be restricted solely to members of the medical and scientific community with stringent regulations to establish proper consent and to safeguard the proper use of the remains," recommends @@RANDOMNAME@@, a medical student and keen anatomist. "Human specimens are needed by archaeologists, doctors, transplant surgeons, researchers and the like. Letting a liver rot underground is just a waste."

*3. "What you people are failing to see is the enormous market gap!" giddily giggles entrepreneur @@RANDOMNAME@@, gesturing and gesticulating at a nearby graveyard. "There's a fortune of bits here in buried treasure! Let people pre-sell their future remains to forward-thinking companies, or let relatives do the same with the recently deceased, and we can turn cold stiff bodies into cold hard cash! Everybody with any body wins! The bereaved can dry their tears with banknotes, while we make accessories from real human ivory, and handbags from the finest human leather! Hmm... @@LEADER@@, has anyone ever told you what lovely skin you have?" [Must have private industry]

*4. “What you people are failing to see is the enormous social resource,” mentions morbid mortician @@RANDOMNAME@@ in a monotone. “Bones can be turned to human ivory, skin can be tanned into good leather, and trace elements reclaimed for state industry. Indeed, it should be seen as every citizen’s final duty to go into the recycling processing centre, and become one with the People’s economy!” [Must not have private industry]

5. "HERESY!" screams Really Revered Reverend @@RANDOMNAME@@, who claims to be an ordained cleric of a religion you've never heard of. "Have all of you lost your minds? Do you understand what you are saying? When people die, they must be respectfully buried whole, otherwise in the afterlife they will be fragmented! Would you like to spend all eternity as a pile of loose body parts? I'm sure I wouldn't! Do you want the restless shades of the dismembered haunting you? I'm sure I don't! The dead must be allowed rest in peace, not pieces!"

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#729: Teenage Kicks [Abhichandra; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
Dozens of children were seriously injured last week, during Kick a Ginger Day, the traditional start-of-term ritual in which generations of redheaded children at @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ Lake Secondary School have been attacked by their classmates. The Principal says their staff, notably devoid of redheads, were out to lunch and heard nothing of the rampage. Sensing a photo-op, you have cancelled your Step-Yoga class and headed over to the school to meet the parents.

The Debate
1. “THIS IS BULLYING!” yells civil-rights activist and parent of redheaded twins, @@RANDOMNAME@@, showing you a photograph of @@HIS@@ children in hospital beds. “It is unconscionable for me to even think that my poor daughters were beaten for something they can’t control! All children should be treated equally, regardless of their hair color. What if it was ‘Bash a Blonde Day’? Would that be okay? I say we must take a hard line on all forms of bullying in our schools, and wipe it out: teasing, joking, badinage, poking fun, mockery, harrying, pestering...”

2. “Bullying? Please! Now what are those liberal ninnies whining about?” scoffs @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Harker, whose brown-haired son, Paxton, participated in the ritual kicking. “They were foot nudges, uncomfortable for a minute. Two, maybe. Not harmful at all. This is really the erosion of our traditions by the left-wing elite, the suppression of childish high spirits by folks who’d see them become tax-payin’ tree-huggin’ robots. Why, we did it all the time when I was a kid. At the end, all the normal kids give those weird gingers a hearty thump on the back, accepting ‘em as good sports. And they like that. Keep the nanny state out of the playground, and respect our ancient traditions.”

*3. “Rubbish!” snorts @@RANDOMNAME@@ an avid @@ANIMAL@@ball fan, who is watching the televised play-offs on @@HIS@@ Pear Phone Grande and has barely looked at @@HIS@@ daughter since she arrived. “Getting kids to be nice, allowing kids to beat each other up. What kids really need is daily contact sports to work off that energy. Once you thrash your opponent on the field, thrashing them with your fist seems kind of pointless. And, there’s another upside. Little Tammy Thompson won’t have the strength to beat-up anyone if she’s spent all day kicking a ball.” [Computers are legal]

*4. "Rubbish!" snorts @@RANDOMNAME@@, an avid amateur @@ANIMAL@@ball fan, who busily plucks lint from @@HIS@@ West @@CAPITAL@@ Wanderers sweatshirt and has barely glanced at @@HIS@@ daughter. "Getting kids to be nice, allowing kids to beat each other up. What kids really need is daily contact sports to work off that energy. Once you thrash your opponent on the field, thrashing them with your fist seems kind of pointless. And, there's another upside. Little Tammy Thompson won't have the strength to beat-up anyone if she's spent all day kicking a ball." [Computers are illegal]

5. “The obvious solution has been overlooked,” states another parent, programmer @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ ‘Chips’ Wei, who has spent his whole life trying to blend in. “Simply dye everyone’s hair the same colour when they start school. You don’t know what it’s like, @@LEADER@@. The beating of the drums would start, and then the remorseless chanting, and all the teachers would lock themselves in the staffroom until it was over. To protect children from their playmates’ scorn and savagery, uniformity is the only way.” Paxton Harker’s parent trips him up, and a group of brunette parents guffaw.

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#730: It’s Legal Now! [Nation of Quebec; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
It’s been high times all around since the government legalized recreational marijuana. While adults can no longer be prosecuted for using or selling the drug, there still remains a high number of drug offenders in @@NAME@@’s prisons who were sentenced before the law changed.

The Debate
1. “Clogging @@NAME@@'s prisons with people who were simply ahead of their time is cruel, illogical and inhumane!” opines advocate @@RANDOMNAME@@ while puffing Maxtopian Grass cigar smoke into your face. “These visionaries should never have been imprisoned in the first place and the government needs to release every single one of them. You’d free up thousands of jail cells, and it sure beats turning them into hardened criminals behind bars.”

2. “I sympathize with their situation, but as the old saying goes: ‘do the crime and do the time’,” reminds by-the-book @@TYPEINITIALS@@@@NAMEINITIALS@@ Drug Enforcement Officer @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Drug possession may be legal now, but it wasn’t when these people were arrested. They knowingly broke the law, and when you break the law in Heliosphere, you go to jail. Letting them out sends the wrong message.”

3. “Drugs are bad, m’kay,” preaches anti-drug advocate and oddly-shaped high school guidance counselor @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ McKay. “We should never have legalized the stuff in the first place. Drugs like Maxtopian Grass cause health problems and our children are still getting their hands on it, m’kay. We need to recriminalize all recreational drugs and keep the druggies off the streets. Throw the stuff away and be done with it, m’kay.”

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#731: Is There An Election In Marche Noire Or Are You Just Happy To See Us? [Frieden-und Freudenland; ed:Wyethalania]

The Issue
Facing a tight political race at home, Otto Kratt, the authoritarian leader of Marche Noire, and his cronies plan to clinch his fourth reelection by campaigning for the votes of Marche Noirian emigrants in @@NAME@@. Alarmed and angered by his many flagrant violations of human rights, socially-conscious protestors have demanded that you forbid him from propagating his vitriolic views on @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ soil in order to hamper his chances of victory.

The Debate
1. “This is a travesty!” yells @@RANDOMNAME@@, a Marche Noirian asylee and head organizer for the Freedom for Oppressed Peoples’ Initiative. “Mr. Kratt cruelly subjugates our people and maintains power in Marche Noire by sowing seeds of hatred between its various ethnic groups. This is our chance to peaceably remove him. Please, do not allow him to use @@NAME@@ as a podium to tighten his stranglehold on our people. @@LEADER@@, to show our solidarity for Marche Noirians and oppressed peoples everywhere, we must ban Otto Kratt and every other tin-pot dictator from coming to our country immediately!”

2. “Putrid lies!” howls @@RANDOMNAME@@, a supportive Marche Noirian immigrant carrying a life-size cardboard cutout of Otto Kratt. “We love Otto Kratt! He is the most wonderful and glorious leader of Marche Noire who cares deeply for us when he chooses. He has every right to talk to his kinsmen wherever they are! You keep saying that people here have freedom of speech, yet you would deprive our ruler of his freedom to speak to us now? Leader, you must allow Mr. Kratt to campaign and organize rallies here.”

3. “Maybe, this can be a win-win for everyone,” ponders Solomon @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, your Minister of Twofold Solutions, while running his fingers through his hair. “Obviously, this dictator only wants to campaign here for his expats’ votes, but he wouldn’t come if they didn’t exist... Just abolish dual citizenship. Our Marche Noirian immigrants can either decide to become fully-fledged @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ or be deported back to Marche Noire. This way, we’ll keep the ones truly devoted to our way of life and Otto Kratt will get the votes he so desperately wants. Two birds, one stone!”

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#732: A Peeping Problem [Drasnia; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
Several of your aides were fired yesterday after the IT Department found pornography on their work computers. The former employees have fought back saying their privacy was violated and they should be restored to their positions.

The Debate
1. “Thank you so much for meeting with us, King Rhodar!” greets @@RANDOMNAMEE@@, one of the aides fired for looking at pornography, while holding out @@HIS@@ hand for a handshake. “Please give us our jobs back! Just because I’m lonelier than most shouldn’t be a reason to fire me. Look at my past performance reviews, I was a great worker who always got everything done ahead of schedule. Even if the computers are technically theirs, letting employers look into an employee’s browsing history is a creepy invasion of privacy anyway, the practice should be outlawed regardless.”

2. Your IT technician peers over a computer monitor while performing routine maintenance on your computer: “Are these people nuts? If people want to watch pornography they should do so in the privacy of their own homes, not on employers’ computers. These employees violated your trust and therefore deserve to be punished. Your right to privacy ends when you start using your employers’ computers.”

3. “Let me touch bases with you for some outside of the box thinking,” implores workplace coach @@RANDOMNAME@@. “I think giving your workers less detrimental ways to deal with workplace stress could be a real game changer. We need to enable employees to work smarter, not harder. Some low hanging fruit to help resolve this problem could include letting workers set their own hours, adding bean-bag chairs to the office, heck, maybe even mandating slides be put in the break-room. You could even force these things to be implemented across @@NAME@@, as I think they’ll work together in synergy to create a real win-win.”

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#733: The Path Less Traveled [Australian Republic; ed:Wyethalania]

The Issue
While @@NAME@@’s northern ports bustle with trade during the summer time, this flurry of activity freezes to a standstill at the onset of winter when thick sheets of ice form over the frigid waters. This seasonal impasse both severely limits economic productivity and makes resupply of the region difficult.
The Debate

The Debate
1. “@@LEADER@@, we have a brilliant opportunity!” excitedly cheers @@RANDOMNAME@@, the mayor of one of the cities. “Imagine, our city, a front to the world in both summer and winter. All we need to do is develop and deploy a whole fleet of state-of-the-art icebreakers the likes of which the world has never seen before! I can just picture it now: hundreds of ships, thousands of tourists, and millions of pounds worth of goods coming from across the globe to my port... err, @@NAME@@.”

*2. “Why spend money on expensive icebreakers when good-old fashioned railroads can do the work year round?” questions infamous rail tycoon Cecil Vanderbilt, as his assistant places a model train on your desk. “Invest in my company and ease some health and safety standards, and my men can build and maintain the tracks for a pittance. Full steam ahead! Choo choo!” [Must have private industry]

*3. “Why spend money on expensive icebreakers when good-old fashioned railroads can do the work year round?” questions infamous Transportation Minister Cecil Vanderbilt, as his assistant places a model train on your desk. “Increase my department’s funding and ease some health and safety standards, and we can build and maintain the tracks for a pittance. Full steam ahead! Choo choo!” [Must not have private industry]

4. “Why don’t we just stockpile before winter?” asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, an advocate of human hibernation. “We bring in everything we need in autumn and don’t worry about nothin’ in winter. You can help defray the cost of our survival by funding winter fuel allowances and cold weather food supplies for the poorest in the area.”

5. “I have ze perfect solution,” announces crazed crackpot climatologist, @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Mein data shows zat ze ice is ziner each passing year due in part to global varming. Now, vhy don’t ve just hurry it up by pumping ze atmosphere full of more chlorofluorocarbon? All zis ice will go bye-bye in under a decade! How cool vould zat be?! Vell, not cool, you know... zere’d be no ice.”

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#734: A Word From Our Sponsors [New Dukaine; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issure
With its colorful packaging and pleasantly sweet aroma, Health-Squirt Vitamin Juice has rapidly become one of the most popular drink products in @@NAME@@. Helping its sales are prime-time TV adverts claiming that it is "a superfood that puts immune-system-boosting natural detox elements and energy-enhancing anti-oxidant vitamins into your cardiovascular system". It was recently discovered that the product has no such qualities, and the adverts are clearly lying.

The Debate
1. "False Advertising, Nuisance To Public!" proclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, lead journalist for Health Magazine, clearly planning @@HIS/HER@@ next newspaper headline. "But will it ever go away? In this journo's humble opinion, yes! Maybe the government should review advertisements to make sure we get THE TRUTH!"

2. "Or you could relax on our beautiful lounge chairs on our charming private beach," suggests marketing rep @@RANDOMNAME@@, offering you an ice-cool bottle of Health-Squirt, now with Sports Slurp Technology (tm). "It's not like we're doing any harm, and promoting the idea of health has got to be of some benefit to those zombified couch potatoes who sit and play @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ vs Skeletons all day. We didn't really do anything wrong, right? Don't treat people like idiots who don't know what they're buying. Treat them like idiots who keep the consumer economy going! Deregulate advertising, and the free market will create wealth for @@NAME@@."

3. A tired-looking and shaggy-haired fellow plops down into your comfiest chair. "You know what, @@LEADER@@? I have had enough of ads. They interrupt my television watching, and we're basically immune to them anyway." He sips his Eckie-Cola and adjusts his designer sweatband. "I say we ban all TV advertisements between midday and midnight so we can watch the good stuff on the telly uninterrupted. Now, can I go back to watching my soap opera?

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#735: Rap Sheet [Wallacelavia; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Notorious gangster-rapper Wally E was recently taken to court for the suspected murder of a policeman, but was found innocent due to lack of evidence. This surprised many, as one of his more popular raps (“I Killed A Cop And I Liked It”) contained a complete confession for the shooting within its lyrics.

The Debate
1. “How could we let this happen? I tell you, rap music is just sick minds preaching to a sick audience,” spits right-wing demagogue @@RANDOMNAME@@, free-styling on stage with a microphone in front of a cheering crowd. “There has to be something wrong with you to enjoy its message of anarchistic hate. We’re talking about a recorded confession, flaunted in public. Rappers should be held to account for their hateful words, and their filth music should be admissible as court evidence.” With that, she drops the mic, and strides off to rapturous applause.

2. “Woah woah woah, I mean... just cos I got, you know, artistic words shouldn’t mean you haters should hate me,” argues Wally E, reading from a prepared statement. “I mean, like, don’t hate freedom of artistic expression, or something? I don’t mean everything in my songs literally. We should be free, to like, artistically express. We are artists. Expressing ourselves. So don’t hate on me. Yeah.”

3. “The problem here is that rap music is terrible trash, enjoyed only by the musical illiterati,” observes classical guitarist @@RANDOMNAME@@, strumming out a complex flamenco ligado. “Shouldn’t we pursue a bare minimum of artistic standards in our cultural output? Perhaps the government should create an official Music Standards Bureau to regulate what sort of material gets airplay and exposure. Frankly, we need a better class of music.”

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#736: A Badly Named Issue [Annihilators of Chan Island; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A few days ago, just before local elections were due to run, a ruffian named Muhammad Lee was imprisoned for grand theft auto. As per policy, this excluded him from the right to vote. However, due to an administrative error, others of the same name - a whole legion of Muhammad Lees across the nation - also found themselves blocked at the polling stations.

The Debate
1. “I have committed no crime save sharing the prisoner’s name, but I have been denied my basic democratic rights!” cries Muhammad Lee, a well-respected @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ lobbyist. “We must implement a Voter-ID system based on foolproof measures: passport photos, social security numbers, fingerprints AND iris-identification. Identity confusion cannot be allowed to happen again!”

2. “Don’t see what society has got against prisoners anyway,” contributes convicted child strangler, hate-crime inciter, and vote fraudster, Muhammad Lee. “How about giving prisoners the right to vote? When it comes down to it, we’re all decent human beings, and we deserve to have a say in how society is run.”

3. “This whole voting thing really is a pain,” says your heavily tattooed cousin, Muhammad Lee. “Just seize power and become dictator of @@NAME@@. You know they will just keep electing you over and over and over again, so why not just formalize it with this final move. Bonus points for the fact that there will be no more issues about names and voting rights.”

4. “No need to be that drastic,” notes Selma-Jessica Rios-Zhu, one of your aides,” but it must be noted that ‘Muhammad Lee’ is a very popular name among certain minorities that don’t vote for you. Maybe if you made sure that people with the same name as a criminal couldn’t vote, you’d secure a bigger margin of victory next election. Just saying.”

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#737: Bird-Brained Diplomacy[Ransium; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
Judging from the telegram on your desk this morning, the government of Tasmania is not pleased with your decision to authorize warplanes to patrol the migration of songbirds over its airspace.

The Debate
1. The telegram reads, "You expect us to believe this is about birds? We reject your ridiculous pretense for violating our airspace. We know you are merely scouting the location of Tasmania's military bases in preparation for all-out war. Remove your forces from Tasmanian airspace today and pay us reparations for this insult, or the troops of Tasmania will be on your shores tomorrow. And you can bet our troops will have @@DEMONYM@@ Breegul in their sack lunch."

2. "Those Tasmanians think they can boss us around?" crows your Minister of Defense, who is practically drooling over himself with pleasure. "As it so happens, while protecting those precious pigeons... or hummingbirds... oh whatever we said they were... we also incidentally mapped out the location of all the Tasmania military bases. As it also so happens, the patrol aircraft are fully armed with bunker-busting bombs. Just say the word, and we'll begin a strategic air strike and neuter the Tasmanian threat in minutes."

3. "If we must go to war, let's go to war!" cackles The Bird Lady, wearing a giant hawk suit complete with pointed talons. "But not that way. I've trained my flock of birds of prey in the art of war. Say the word, and I'll unleash my deadly and precise raptors on the soldiers of Tasmania. Death from above!"

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#738: Cruel Or Unusual? [Leumas Rex; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
A small town judge has garnered national attention after sentencing a serial litterer to sit, in lieu of jail time, in a garbage can and hand out apology flyers to locals. Legal experts and concerned citizens have come to offer their unsolicited take on whether or not @@NAME@@ should embrace unorthodox punishments for petty criminals.

The Debate
1. "The government needs to stop telling me how to do my job," states the judge while banging his gavel against your desk. "Sending someone off to the big house merely trains them to be a better criminal! I merely seek to embarrass them or make them do a bit of community service. Like that kid who was spray painting trains; I had him do a mural for the Eastern @@NAME@@ Art Museum, and now he's blossomed into quite the artist. You should encourage us to use our judgement to find fitting, albeit unconventional, punishments for our criminals."

2. "I agree that punishments should be determined on a case-by-case basis, but this is hardly even a slap on the wrist!" grumbles Lexi Talia Onassis, an officer who is currently suspended for using excessive force. "If you want to see crime stop dead in its tracks, you need to enable the police to do to criminals what they have done to others without the hassle of the court system. If someone burns down a house, we burn down theirs! If someone commits murder, we murder them! If someone takes drugs, we... uh..." She trails off. "Anyway, we'll need some more funding for our officers. Things might get messy out there."

3. "Do you think it's wise to put the rehabilitation of our nation's minor offenders in the hands of a judge, or an officer for that matter?" questions @@RANDOMNAME@@, a well-respected advisor in the Justice Department, as @@HE/SHE@@ opens a dozen manilla folders, spilling their contents across your desk. "If we were to open educational rehabilitation clinics in our cities, operated by my Department and overseen by psychological experts, we could design a comprehensive system to stamp out repeat offenses. All it takes is a little funding, but just imagine the informational seminars, four-hour documentaries, even guest speakers from the Retirement Community of Former Felons!"

4. "Do the crime, pay the time," replies a more orthodox judge with a shrug, trudging in after a sixteen-hour hearing. "Everybody wants a creative solution to our crime problem, but all you're doing is putting a burden on our legal professionals. Our primary responsibility is to determine guilt or innocence, and consistent rules for sentencing should be in place for reasons of fairness to the convicted. I suggest we have a fixed-term jail sentence for each crime, regardless of the circumstance. We'll save ourselves a lot of time, and it will eliminate any bias in the severity of punishments."

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#739: In Loco Parentis [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
When separated dad @@RANDOMMALENAME@@ put his daughter @@RANDOMFEMALFIRSTNAME@@ on the train, he made sure her mum knew the correct time and platform at which the child was due to arrive. He also arranged for a babysitter to travel with the tot, given that she was only two years old. Controversially, the babysitter was his son, himself only seven years of age. A train conductor noted both children travelling alone, and intervened by calling the police and social services.

The Debate
1. “The only ****ing problem here is the ****ing train conductor ****ing interfering where he wasn’t ****ing wanted,” complains @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, the mother of the two children, as she thrusts a sippy-cup containing Eckie-Cola at her resisting daughter. “We’ve been doing it this way for two ****ing years, and never had any ****ing problems. How about the government, the police, social services and all you other nosy ****s keep out of how we choose to deal with OUR ****ing children?”

2. “This is about child safety!” exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, the train conductor. “I mean, we actually have a reasonably priced service where we offer supervision to unattended children. What sort of lousy parent puts a seven-year-old in charge of a two-year-old? Frankly, if parents are too lazy to use the provisions, they shouldn’t be allowed to raise kids at all. You should invest in Child Protection Services, and extend their powers to take children into safe, governmental care when they’re being neglected by incompetent parents.”

3. “If I might interject?” interrupts @@RANDOMMALEFIRSTNAME@@, the seven-year-old boy at the centre of the saga, as he changes his sister’s nappy. “Clearly capability varies from child to child, but some of us are obviously more advanced than others. While I accept a priori that adults are responsible for safeguarding the wellbeing of children, I think there’s room for flexibility in the interpretation of adulthood. Posit: Can we institute a formal test, to be applied for at any age, that is legally required to prove capacity to act in loco parentis? I’ve been reading up on the legal ins-and-outs, and it seems like a straightforward enough possibility. I’d be happy to help you draft something.”
Last edited by Jutsa on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:05 am, edited 64 times in total.
My national anthem~
(also the original)

Currently working on conlang, may rework solar system and geography.

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Jutsa
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Posts: 3157
Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#740: The Enemy Within: A Day In The Life [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive, Ransium]

The Issue
Ninety-three minutes ago, a hijacked bus laden with bombs was detonated in the lobby of the @@CAPITAL@@ Stock Exchange. Ten minutes ago, with all of @@NAME@@ glued to their TVs in horror, the spreading fire caused the building's structure to critically fail and the Stock Exchange collapsed.

The Debate
1. "There's people trapped in the rubble!" shouts your driver, young Walter Lee, grabbing a crowbar, a shovel and a small red brick from the trunk of the car. "Emergency services are trying to get through, but traffic is gridlocked! Come on, boss, let's head there on foot! We can get digging, and maybe save a life or two!"

2. "Let's be level-headed here," suggests government aide @@RANDOMNAME@@, emerging from the vehicle behind to pass you a comb, a breath mint and a diazepam tablet. "The nation is in panic here, and your duty is to soothe their nerves and appeal for calm. Let's get a press conference set up, and then a Crisis Co-ordination Centre. We can be much more effective if we remember that you're the nation's leader, not an emergency worker."

3. "This isn't the time for press conferences, this is a war situation!" yells your bodyguard @@RANDOMNAME@@, motioning for you to duck your head down to stymie any unseen snipers. "We're under attack, and we need to get you to safety. We've got to mobilise now, and get to a secure bunker. From there, you can declare a state of curfew and martial law."

4. "Yeah, yeah, another terrorist attack, what else is new?" dismisses your brother, while glancing at his watch. "Our dinner reservations are in the opposite part of town, and if we hurry, despite all this unpleasantness, I still think we can make them on time. Believe me, a building or two falling down is not worth missing this stunning rendition of Dàguó cuisine."

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#741: The Enemy Within: We Can Work It Out [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive, Ransium]

The Story So Far
Twenty-four hours ago a bus filled with explosives was used to bomb the @@CAPITAL@@ Stock Exchange, destroying the building and causing significant loss of life.

The Issue
Preliminary reviews of traffic camera footage have revealed that the bus had on board a trio of suicide bombers who have been identified as disaffected young Violetists from a local neighbourhood, and who were vociferously in favour of "holy war" against @@NAME@@. It seems unlikely that they acted alone, so now you need to root out the mastermind behind this violent attack...

The Debate
1. "The curfew has made both police investigation and maintaining order much easier," gratefully reports Chief of Police @@RANDOMNAME@@, "but if we want to break open the support network of these terrorists, we'll need your permission to take a more robust approach. I'm talking about detention for interrogation of their family members and known associates, a low threshold of probable cause for initiation of investigation and freedom to act in the name of national security without being tied up with paperwork. Lose the red tape, and I'll get you truth."

2. "If we want to break open the support network of these terrorists, we'll need your permission to take a more robust approach," reports Chief of Police @@RANDOMNAME@@. "I'm talking about detention for interrogation of their family members and known associates, a low threshold of probable cause for initiation of investigation, and freedom to act in the name of national security without being tied up with paperwork. Lose the red tape, and I'll get you truth."

3. "Data and data-processing are what we need here," claims social media guru Archie Meades. "I suggest crowd-sourcing your anti-terrorism efforts. Share what intel you have in the public domain: personal data of the suicide bombers, any video footage and basically anything else you can get hold of relating to that day. Then, let a motivated populace trawl through it and use their own ideas and creativity to collectively find the truth. Give me a lever long enough, a place to stand and one million unpaid volunteers, and we can move the world!"

4. "If you want to find your culprits fast, I think I might have new software to help you..." suggests criminologist @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Link up the capital's CCTV feeds to my image machine-learning program and with a combination of phrenological face-mapping, gait-profiling and chromodermal analysis will tell you exactly who to arrest, and when."

5. "If we want answers, we need to get past the wall of silence," pleads social worker @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Young men in the Violetist community get radicalised because they feel isolated, and frankly they just don't trust the police. Our cops need cultural sensitivity training. For example, did you know that Violetists are taught not to trust anyone not wearing purple somewhere on their clothing? We should be adding a nice indigo hatband to our police caps! Get them to trust us, and maybe they'll rat out their extremist buddies."

6. "If you want results, you ought to hire experienced professionals," offers Commander @@RANDOMNAME@@, of Private Military Contractor Shades Of Grey. "My group are experienced at urban operations, and we have a high success rate in location and resolution of insurgent and terrorist threats. We just need funds, and for you to look the other way while we do what needs to be done to get your answers." @@HE@@ places cable ties, sack hood and jump leads on your desk, and raises @@HIS@@ eyebrows suggestively.

7. "Hate to say it, but what you need here is good old-fashioned coppering, boots-on-the-ground police work, and maybe properly-paid overtime," offers Detective Sergeant @@RANDOMNAME@@. "It's all about asking friendly questions, getting people to open up, and doing the legwork with no shortcuts. Not quite like CSI: @@CAPITAL@@ on the telly, but it's what works."

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#742: The Enemy Within: And Your Bird Can Sing [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive, Ransium]

The Story So Far
In response to a terrorist attack, you have granted extraordinary powers to those responsible for rooting out terror threats within @@NAME@@.

The Issue
A Violetist priest who criticised the national curfew and the government's response to recent events was arrested. He was then 'heavily questioned' for twelve hours, with a bucket of soapy frogs and a rubber wetsuit with the bottom cut out of it. Now free, the fellow is making noises about human rights and inherent dignity, while complaining about the 'advanced questioning tactics' being used.

The Debate
1. "It's not just that I was unfairly arrested," complains the limping clergyman, @@RANDOMNAMEMALE@@, "but also that the whole approach being taken is not going to be effective. There's reams of evidence that torture does not work as an interrogation technique, and that the most effective form of questioning is a friendly and open manner, to encourage a cooperative attitude. You must ban the use of physical and mental abuse as a state tool of interrogation."

2. "Torture? Do not be a silly one, this is not the torture!" argues Interrogation Enhancement Specialist @@RANDOMNAME@@ in oddly patterned speech, wiping @@HIS@@ knuckles clean with a silk handkerchief. "You can be thinking on it as an extension of the good cop, the bad cop. We use the gentle persuasion when we need to, and we use the not-so-gentle persuasion when we need to. A bit of the waterboarding, or the sleep deprivation, or the pain positions: none of these are the torture, per se. Do not be tying our hands in the red tape, or you will be compromising the nation's national security. You are caring about the nation's national security, are you not?"

3. "It's not so much whether it works as a tool of information gathering," adds Psychological Operations Chief Dr. @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, "but also the broader effects it has on our overall approach. Engaging in punitive and permanent non-voluntary bodily modification and induced physical extremity magnitude reduction may not make an individual more talkative, especially in the surgically-induced absence of glossal musculature, ha ha... But the truth is we aren't trying to reach the individual. Rather, think of the extensive group psychological impact, the deterrence effect, and the fear we can instill on our nation's enemies! That is why we must do all we can to maximise our interrogation impact index."

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#743: The Enemy Within: Here, There And Everywhere [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive, Ransium]

The Story So Far
@@CAPITAL@@ Stock Exchange has been bombed by Violetist terrorists, but with no visible enemy to strike back against, frustrations are rising.

The Issue
Spoiling for revenge and impatient with the lack of results from police investigations, militant far-right groups have decided to take matters into their own hands. There have been reports across @@NAME@@ of Violetist citizens coming under attack from mobs keen to dispense midnight vigilante justice on anyone who shares the faith or culture of the terrorists.

The Debate
1. "We need to make it clear that we're not a nation that persecutes folk for their choice of religion," simpers flower-in-hair peacenik @@RANDOMNAME@@. "You need a public education campaign to encourage tolerance and diversity, and maybe you could personally visit a Violetist temple or two to show that we're all @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ together."

2. "Sure, sure, peace and understanding and all that hoo-haa are lovely," mutters Army Sergeant @@RANDOMNAME@@, "but we need a more direct solution to save lives in the here-and-now. Station armed troops in a ring of steel around Violetist neighbourhoods, and nobody will get in or out without our permission. We can also shoot down any fools who are there to cause trouble and simultaneously remind the local Violetists that we're keeping an eye on them, in every possible way."

3. "Seems like that would be punishing the victims of violence," worries Police Chief @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Can't we just catch and arrest the vigilantes, and maybe put in stricter laws against hate speech and bigotry? Aim at those inciting violence, and the attacks will stop."

4. "We are merely being responsible citizens, assisting our government in cleansing the nation of Violetist influences," states self-appointed and black-uniformed Colonel @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@ of the @@DEMONYM@@ First Militia. "You should be endorsing our organisation, and applauding our efforts! No Violetists will escape alive!"

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#744: The Enemy Within: I Want To Hold Your Hand [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive, Ransium]

The Story So Far
@@CAPITAL@@ Stock Exchange has been bombed by Violetist extremist terrorists, but you've not let this get in the way of a policy of religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence with Violetist communities.

The Issue
Visiting a Violetist temple on the west side of @@CAPITAL@@ you're surprised to see your teenage nephew, Montague, at the temple and wearing the traditional purple skullcap of Violetism. What's more, he looks to be holding hands with an immigrant girl his own age, whom you realise is from the local Violetist neighbourhood.

The Debate
1. "Oh, hey..." greets Montague, looking a little worried. "Uh... this is Julie, and we've been kind of hanging out and we're kind of together now. Also, I'm... umm... converting to Violetism. Can we maybe just keep this on the down-low? I don't want her or me in the centre of a media circus."

2. "@@LEADER@@, it's an honour to meet you," says the Violetist girl, lowering her eyes deferentially for a moment, before deciding to meet your gaze. "If I may: I am not ashamed of my love for Monty, rather I am proud of it. If you want, we can be the figureheads for community integration for your campaign, so that all can see you as a leader who is close to minority communities."

3. "Oh... wow... uh, really... NO!" interrupts Civil Policy Officer Crupkey. "I mean, I got nothing against this in principle: my dad was an immigrant and my mum a local. But right now? When there's so much anti-Violetist sentiment? When we haven't even had the funerals of some of the bomb victims yet? These kids need to cool their hormones, and maybe start dating again in a year or so, when everything is calmer."

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#745: The Enemy Within: This Bird Has Flown [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive, Ransium]

The Story So Far
Since @@NAME@@ suffered a terrorist attack in the heart of @@CAPITAL@@, you have been looking to unpick the support network behind the suicide bombers, and to identify the brains behind the operation...

The Issue
Success! Your chosen methods appear to have paid dividends, and your Intelligence Services have identified the terrorist ringleader behind the @@CAPITAL@@ Stock Exchange bombings. What's more, you know exactly where his fortified HQ compound is. The only problem? It's deep within the nation of Blackacre, who historically haven't been too keen on @@DEMONYM@@ military actions within their sovereign territory.

The Debate
1. "This is a tricky situation," surmises @@RANDOMNAME@@, your ambassador to Blackacre. "I think we can make a deal, though. We can ask Blackacre to use their armed forces to engage and deal with this terrorist, and in return support a narrative that gives them credit for locating him. Also, maybe we could sweeten the pot by discreetly releasing those two Blackacre spies that we caught snooping around last year. Everyone wins!"

2. "We can't rely on Blackacre. After all, who is to say they're not in league with the terrorists?" questions Intelligence Director @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@. "Let's move in below the radar, and have plausibly deniable intelligence operatives carry out an assassination of the terrorist leader. We can claim we have nothing to do with his death, while simultaneously being sure that the threat has been neutralised."

3. "This terrorist has declared war on @@NAME@@, and he can't escape justice by sheltering within a foreign power!" asserts General @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, waving @@HIS@@ hands in the air, indicating that @@HE@@ does in fact care. "I'm going to need a rapid insertion force of paratroopers for a surgical strike on the camp, with a fighter escort to keep Blackacre from interfering. For The @@TYPE@@!"

4. "Sounds to me like every approach has downsides," worries your elderly mother. "Maybe you could just announce his location to the world, and hope that somebody else deals with him."

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#746: The Enemy Within: There's A Place [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive, Ransium]

The Story So Far
When the @@CAPITAL@@ Stock Exchange was destroyed by terrorist attack, it was a blow to the heart of @@NAME@@. The terrorists responsible were identified, as well as the mastermind behind the attack. Now, the crisis is over.

The Issue
Time moves on, and most @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ have begun to drift back into their normal routines. However, for the families of the victims of the attack, the void caused by the absence of their loved ones will be felt for the rest of their lives. The site where the terrorists struck is now being cleared of rubble, and debate has begun over the future of the area.

The Debate
1. "We need a memorial to those who died, and perhaps a plaque to thank the rescue workers who did what they could in this darkest of hours," suggests the mayor of @@CAPITAL@@. "Also, a Tribute Centre and a Memorial Museum. Money from ticket sales could go to the families of the deceased. We must never forget these events."

2. "No. We can't let them think they hurt us!" asserts stockbroker @@RANDOMNAME@@, who lost several colleagues to the bombing, showing @@HIS@@ depth of grief by conducting half a dozen online trades as @@HE@@ talks to you. "The best way of reacting to terror is business as usual. Have a new Stock Exchange built, bigger and better than before, with faster trading connections and more computing power. Let's look to the future rather than the past."

3. "No. We can't let them think they hurt us!" asserts stockbroker @@RANDOMNAME@@, who lost several colleagues to the bombing, showing @@HIS@@ depth of grief by flicking through a sheaf of share certificates as @@HE@@ talks to you. "The best way of reacting to terror is business as usual. Have a new Stock Exchange built, bigger and better than before, with a bigger trading floor and more telephone exchanges. Let's look to the future rather than the past."

4. "The nation has suffered, but those of our faith have suffered more than the rest of you," states Violetist community leader @@RANDOMNAME@@. "If we want to move forward into a new era of inclusiveness and forgiveness, maybe the best way to achieve this is to establish a Violetist temple on the site. Allow us to show solidarity with the rest of @@NAME@@ by condemning the terrorists, and to atone for their actions through quiet prayer, community service and human sacri... uh... human kindness."

5. "Never forget!" yells right wing paramilitary @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Never forget that it was the toxic false faith of Violetism that led to this tragedy! I propose we use the site to establish the HQ for my anti-Violetist organisation, the Brave Inquisitorial Guardians Of Truth. We'll use this as our centre of operations, to continue the hunt for hidden Violetists within the nation, and to wage war against them. Let's make @@NAME@@ hate again."

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#747: The Plane Truth [Pogaria; ed:Pogaria]

The Issue
You've just returned from a pleasant "diplomatic summit" on the tropical island nation of East Calypso. As your plane approaches @@CAPITAL@@ Airport, bright sunlight glimmers upon the foreign names and insignia on a variety of parked aircraft. Eventually, you see a few shabby tail fins with the Air @@NAME@@ logo. The woeful assortment of filthy fuselages and peeling paint barely looks airworthy. Is the national airline truly that pathetic?

The Debate
*1. While waiting for the airplane to reach the gate, you receive a call from Bryan Ringham, a management consultant and frequent flier. He doesn't waste time with chitchat. "Did you know that overhead at Air @@NAME@@ has seen a 380% increase over the last ten years? They won't be competitive with numbers like that. You could help them by eliminating all regulations that prevent airlines from charging for extra services such as seat reservations, checked bags, and clean drinking water. We can have a nice, lucrative budget airline here - and maybe even create some revenue for the shareholders!" [Must have private industry]

*2. While waiting for the airplane to reach the gate, you receive a call from Bryan Ringham, a management consultant and frequent flier. He doesn't waste time with chitchat. "Did you know that overhead at Air @@NAME@@ has seen a 380% increase over the last ten years? You won't be competitive with numbers like that. You need to start charging passengers for all the services that are being given away for free, such as seat reservations, checked bags, and clean drinking water. We can have a nice, lucrative budget airline here - and maybe even create some revenue for the national coffers!" [Must not have private industry]

3. As you disembark and enter the airport, you run into a group of flight attendants who are wearing the national airline's uniform and carrying protest signs. Their leader approaches you. "Your Excellency! Our working conditions are appalling. Air @@NAME@@ will never be able to improve if we're all working sixty hours a week for the industry's worst wages. Anyone who can get a better job with one of the foreign competitors like Maxay Pacific or Althaniq Airways has already left. Decreased hours and improved pay would do wonders for morale - meaning that we could serve the passengers better, of course."

4. Following this confrontation, your security detail ushers you through an employee break area to bypass the crowds. However, you are soon ambushed by airline manager @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Aileron, who appears to have packed @@HIS/HER@@ lunch in an airsickness bag. "Why don't we just ban all the foreign airlines?" @@HE/SHE@@ declares, while still chewing @@HIS/HER@@ food. "All of these outsiders are taking our people's money and sending it to our enemies! A true patriot only flies Air @@NAME@@, no matter how lousy the service is or how many times we skip routine maintenance - er, I mean, skip the needless luxuries. Without any foreign competition, we could keep every last @@CURRENCY@@ within our borders."

**5. Later, FlyerChat forum moderator 'Queen of the Skies' sends you a private message. "Air @@NAME@@ has nothing but disregard for its loyal passengers. First of all, the frequent flyer miles are useless. My most recent valuation puts them at only one-thousandth of a @@CURRENCY@@. Award availability is terrible, even with zirconium status. And don't get me started on the atrocious brand of caviar they serve in first class! This needs to be an airline that cares about its passengers, even if that requires huge government subsidies to bring it up to par. The first order of business is to change the elite mileage ratios to - hold on, I've got another troll who keeps calling us a bunch of nerds. Let the banning commence!" [Must have private industry]

**6. Later, FlyerChat forum moderator ‘Queen of the Skies’ sends you a private message. "Air @@NAME@@ has nothing but disregard for its loyal passengers. First of all, the Glorious People's Victory Points are useless. My most recent valuation puts them at only one-thousandth of a @@CURRENCY@@. Award availability is terrible, even with zirconium status. And don't get me started on the atrocious brand of caviar they serve in First Among Equals class! This needs to be an airline that cares about its passengers, even if that requires huge government subsidies to bring it up to par. The first order of business is to change the points redemption ratios to - hold on, I've got another troll who keeps calling us a bunch of nerds. Let the banning commence!" [Must not have private industry]

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#748: The Enemy Within: In Spite Of All The Danger [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive, Ransium]

The Story So Far

When terrorists attacked the @@CAPITAL@@ Stock Exchange, many courageous volunteers braved the dangers of the ruined building to help search for and recover survivors from the rubble.

The Issue
The danger is long passed, and the site cleared, but there now appear to be multiple cases of mesothelial lung cancer and other serious respiratory ailments amongst the volunteers who attended the site at the time of the attack. Doctors are attributing this to exposure to toxic smoke and building dust.

The Debate
1. “Hard to... talk...” wheezes breathless patient @@RANDOMNAME@@, struggling to be heard through @@HIS@@ oxygen mask. “We helped out... for @@NAME@@. Now we want... @@NAME@@... to help us. Healthcare... financial... support. Please, @@LEADER@@... please.”

2. “Yes, yes, a lot of people have health problems for lots of reasons, it’s terribly tragic,” yawns clinical oncologist @@RANDOMNAME@@, waving the patient away. “The answer here is not compassion in a case-by-case basis, but a broader approach of socialised medicine, so that anybody who needs healthcare can get it when they need it.”

3. “That’s communist claptrap! It’s not for you to spend MY taxes on other people’s health,” says @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, CEO of Panacea Private Medical Services. “Look, I will help these people out of my own pocket, for no reason other than that because I’m super-duper charitable and a really great guy! See? No government intervention needed, just free individuals in a free market helping each other out without the nanny state getting in the way. Three cheers for the free market!” He starts writing a cheque for 10 @@CURRENCY@@ for the cancer victim.

4. @@RANDOMNAME@@, your loyal driver, snarls at the CEO, hefting a small red brick at his head to scare him out of the room. “Um, boss... weren’t you there at the centre of things, digging through the rubble? I reckon if you declare a six-month complete tax break for all people who were there at that time, that’d give people the cash to afford their own healthcare and show the nation’s thanks for their goodness. And you know, I think you deserve a little something too, for being so damn courageous that day.”

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#749: Not Mushroom For Error [Bears Armed; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
Wild mushroom season is upon @@NAME@@ again, and as is traditional, @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ from all over the country will go out to gather nature’s bounty. In recent years, however, there have been more and more deaths due to people mistaking poisonous fungi for harmless ones.

The Debate
1. “Ignorance is the problem,” comments Mario Morchella, famed plumber and forest forager, passing you a peach he found near an old castle. “You should set up a system for training and licensing people who want to collect wild fungi, require collectors have the best field guide books, and ban any unlicensed individuals from mushroom gathering. Also, increase the number of park rangers, so these life-saving measures are properly enforced.”

2. “Quality is the problem,” suggests Willow Cantharellus, one of @@NAME@@’s leading mycologists. “First, let’s ban wild mushroom foraging. But also, we must increase funding for mushroom farming research. I know we can develop domesticated mushroom varieties and farming methods that would match wild ones for variation in type, good taste, and other desired properties. People can have their mushrooms and eat them without risking death too!”

*3. “Greed is the problem,” complains Coraline Grifola, Under-Minister for Food Production. “They’re the people’s mushrooms. They should only be harvested by state agents, after which they can be checked by proper experts and then distributed fairly... with priority rationing for senior Party members, of course.” [Must not have private industry]

*4. “Cityfolks is the problem,” retorts Rural Association representative Hiro Tuber, in his rustic dialect. “We countryfolk knows good ‘shrooms from bad, all right. It’s just townies coming out to take stuff without even a ‘by your leave’ that is getting theyselves into this here trouble. Let’s keep ‘em out of our fields and woods, where they doesn’t belong no-hows, and then they won’t end up deader ‘n four o’clock. Oh, and we’ll supply you with plenty of fine wild mushrooms for free iffen you wants ‘em.” [Must have private industry]

5. “Mollycoddling is the problem,” grumbles libertarian thinker Mia Amanita. “You should do away with this nanny-state system, and let people take whatever risks they think they can manage; and if they fail… well, then that’s just Darwinism at work.”

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#750: Cheerleading Community Does The Splits [Sanhon; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
When East @@CAPITAL@@ High School denied a male student’s request to join their cheerleading squad, they thought that was the end of it. Since then, the story has been picked up by the national media, with the boy, the cheerleading coach, and a spokesperson from Equality @@NAME@@ giving interviews about the controversy. Now, a gaggle of highly-opinionated and very-spirited individuals have entered your office, demanding your attention.

The Debate
1. “Give me an ‘E’! Give me a ‘Q’! Give me a ‘U’-‘A’-‘L’! Give me an ‘I’, and a ‘T’, and a great big ‘Y’! What’s it spell? EQUALITY!” cries @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, doing an impressive backflip routine in his plaid skirt. “Every boy deserves an equal chance to live out their dreams, whether that dream is to cheer a mediocre football team, or be on a mediocre football team! You must force every school to allow any individual to join any team they want, regardless of sex! Why not? Girls are just as strong as boys, and we boys can be darn cute in these skirts!” Cheering your name, he cartwheels out the door.

2. “Cheerleading is for girls, and only for girls,” asserts middle-aged former cheerleader and parent, @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, as she attempts to perform a forward roll, but gets stuck underneath your desk. “Let the boys do wholesome boy sports, like football and boxing, away from our precious daughters! You know what teen boys are like: primitive hormone factories, only after one thing! Besides, with rates of sexual abuse on campuses already so high, you must prevent boys and girls having any contact in sport.” She ceases her attempts to extricate herself from beneath the desk, gasping for air.

3. “You’re both idiots!” thunders @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, his neck muscles straining against the collar of his camouflage shirt. “Cheerleading is stupid. It’s not even a real sport! The funds wasted on girls prancing about could be used on REAL sports, that help REAL men to become strong and powerful! Taught by manly coaches, like me. Abolish this waste of money immediately, and pour the cash into useful, manly sports!” He punts one of your priceless vases into your equally priceless chandelier.

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#751: @@ANIMALPLURAL@@ Breed Contempt [Luna Amore; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
A legal battle is raging between the @@NAME@@ Department of Life, The Universe, and Environment and Kay Rumble Property Development Group. While surveying for a luxury condominium complex, a rare @@ANIMAL@@ subspecies, the two-spotted glow-in-the-dark @@ANIMAL@@, was found traipsing around the proposed build site, potentially holding up construction.

The Debate
1. "I'm all for protecting truly endangered animals," grumbles @@RANDOMNAME@@, the head of the housing firm, "but you can't walk ten feet in @@NAME@@ without tripping over @@A@@ @@ANIMAL@@. So what if these particular ones have a different spot on their underbellies or whatever? I'm trying to build houses for people - your people - and I keep running into red tape because of these damn hippies! We need to loosen these protection laws so I can get on with my job."

2. "But the three-striped, er... or was it four-toed @@ANIMAL@@, is truly unique!" squeals @@RANDOMNAME@@, a noted environmentalist, while nursing a baby @@ANIMAL@@. "This subspecies is rare enough without these greedy opportunists destroying the only habitat they have left. These poor darlings need our protection. If an endangered species, subspecies, or genetically diverse population has been spotted, no form of molestation or habitat destruction should be allowed."

3. "With all due respect, you're huffing and puffing over a truly simple matter," chastens @@RANDOMNAME@@, an amateur carpenter, while patting your shoulder gently. "We don't need to drive these creatures nor land-development to extinction. If we require developers create new habitat to replace whatever endangered populations they destroy, then everybody wins, don't they? I'm sure the two-spotted glow-in-the-dark @@ANIMAL@@ will adapt just fine to their new, man-made habitats."

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#752: The Immortal Cells of Mrs. Gratwick [The Atlae Isles; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Two generations ago, scientists took a biopsy of a tumor from a cancer patient named Elizabeth Gratwick, who died soon after. Without her knowledge or consent, these cells were preserved in the laboratory and proved to be exceptionally stable in replication. As stable cancer cell lines are highly useful for medical research, “ElGr cells” have been sent to and used by scientists all over the world. However, objections are now being raised by Elizabeth’s descendants.

The Debate
1. “We thought my poor grandmother’s remains had been buried in accordance with her wishes,” growls Elizabeth’s direct descendant, Catherine Gratwick. “Can’t you let her rest in peace? This is her body that you’re messing with. You can’t just irradiate and poison her; you must ask me first! How would you like it if your family’s remains were exhumed and mutilated? You must never use cells from deceased people without the explicit pre-mortem consent of the patient or their relatives. As for granny - I insist that all remaining samples of her be buried, and that you financially compensate her family for the pain and grief you have caused!”

2. “No! ElGr cells are a scientific miracle!” cries biologist @@RANDOMNAME@@, jiggling a beaker full of purplish goop as @@HE@@ waves @@HIS@@ arms in exasperation. “These cells have been a breakthrough; not only in testing cures for cancer, but also in understanding how cancer develops and functions! All these years later, these cells keep chugging along, outliving all the others! Who knows, with these cells, we might even one day unlock a path to immortality! Are you going to let bureaucracy get in the way of SCIENCE?”

3. “This stuff is funny!” giggles your niece, squishing her fingers in the goop. “It’s all warm, gluey, and bouncy! Someone should be turning out this stuff for kids to play with, or as sticky putty to stick posters to walls, or whatever. You’ve got, like, an infinite supply of it, so that’s good economics, right?”

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#753: I’ve Got My Ion You [Jovian Socialist Republic; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]


The Issue
Thanks to a marathon of military sci-fi films at @@NAME@@ High Command's recent movie night, most of the four-star generals and senior officers in the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ armed forces are abuzz with enthusiasm about next generation weaponry. In particular, there's growing excitement around the idea of plasma weaponry: that is, the use of projected superheated ionized hydrogen gas to destroy your enemies.

The Debate
1. "PEW! PEW! PEW! Just think of the possibilities, Leader!" exclaims Professor @@RANDOMNAME@@, an experimental physicist who has been seconded to your military, proudly displaying a clay model of a gnarly-looking plasma cannon. "We can make plasma flamethrowers, plasma machine guns, plasma ship cannon, plasma howitzers, plasma knives, basically plasma anything! With sheer firepower, we'd be able to overpower anything and anybody! We're... just a bit low on funding... so can you buy us the gear we need?"

2. "But this is going to be the hottest new thing," interjects @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of HydrogenScience Corp. "You have to let the private sector in on the profits! Just share with us any early data and blueprints you have, and we'll give your nation special discount rates when we sell plasma weaponry to the world. Oh, we'll also need permission to sell plasma pistols and rifles to your citizenry as well! The only way to stop a bad guy with a plasma rifle is a good guy with a plasma rifle: access to white-hot killing power is the fundamental right of every man, woman and child!"

3. "This stuff is far too unstable to be deployed as a weapon of war!" yelps pacifist physician and aid worker Dr. @@RANDOMNAME@@. "For the good of the nation and international peace, you should be concentrating solely on the healthcare and industry applications of plasma and laser devices." @@HE/SHE@@ then proceeds to spray-paint a peace sign on your desk.

4. "I think we can compromise," offers grey-suited logistician @@RANDOMNAME@@, looking worriedly over the latest prices of neodymium and high-output capacitors. "How about we simply stop this plasma weaponry research, and instead divert the money to buying tried-and-tested conventional weaponry?"

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#754: The Hit Parade [Ransium; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]


The Issue
Two decommissioned satellites recently collided, the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ craft @@ANIMAL@@-4, and East Lebatuck's Sputnak-3. In the aftermath, scientists have become alarmed over the possibility of Kessler syndrome, a phenomenon where the density of debris in space becomes so high collisions can have a domino effect, causing further collisions and debris. Using crayons and peanut butter, your aides have drawn you a diagram to try to convince you that this positive feedback loop could ultimately destroy all low earth orbit satellites, making space travel impossible for generations.

The Debate
1. "I have a bad feeling about this," warns famously handsome astronaut, Lieutenant George Kloonalski. "It's the same feeling I once had on a space walk while repairing a satellite, and that did not end up going well. But I don't want to bore you with my space stories, the point is, reforms are desperately needed to make sure collisional cascading does not happen. You should make sure every satellite launched in @@NAME@@ has high standards of safety and planning, most importantly having a plan for satellite disposal at mission's end. Given the gravity of the situation, I think these steps are unavoidable."

2. "Taking unilateral action is futile if other space-faring nations do not also act in kind," remarks mediator Carey Fissinger, well known for space shuttle diplomacy. "We need to immediately launch an international space debris summit to assure that all nations, not just @@NAME@@, properly regulate launched satellites. Given the dependence of modern economies on satellites, we shouldn't be afraid to use trade sanctions and other forms of political pressure to persuade all nations to agree to global regulations."

3. "But East Lebatuck started it!" whines @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of your more petulant advisers. "@@ANIMAL@@-4 was just fine until that stupid Sputnak-3 hit it. We shouldn't have to do anything other than tell the world where we're putting satellites. It's up to East Lebatuck to move out of our way!"

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#755: Candid Camera [Noahs Second Country; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
Outdoor survival expert @@ANIMAL@@ Grylls was being filmed in the latest edition of Man Vs Wilderness: Untamed, when he stumbled upon a top-secret military base that even you didn’t know about. Not only did he discover the clandestine base, but he also broke into it - alongside his entire media crew - thanks to his shrewd usage of camouflage and bottles of urine. TV-broadcasted footage inadvertently shows highly-sensitive and confidential projects in the background of many scenes. With this in mind, you have decided to venture into a dark, smelly room in an isolated wing of the government offices to call a covert meeting.

The Debate
*1. “There can be no mercy,” argues the gruff voice of the commander of the @@NAME@@ military, @@RANDOMNAME@@. “We must publicly execute Mr. Grylls and his crew. No exceptions. The government should send a message to the public! You must show them that the state will hound them relentlessly if they are caught snooping around. Double the guards, double their weapons, double everything!” [Must not have prisons]

*2. "There can be no mercy," argues the gruff voice of the commander of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ military, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "We must imprison Mr. Grylls and his crew for the rest of their lives. No exceptions. The government should send a message to the public! You must show them that the state will hound them relentlessly if they are caught snooping around. Double the guards, double their weapons, double everything!" [Must have prisons]

3. “I, uh, I’m not so sure about the whole ‘no mercy’ thing,” stammers a handcuffed @@ANIMAL@@ Grylls, with a concerned look on his face. “I mean, it’s your own fault that we found it, right? If someone stumbles upon government secrets, y’should just let them wander on. Can I, uh, go now? I’ve gotta film an episode on those venomous pigeons by tomorrow.”

4. “The solution is obvious,” claims military strategist @@RANDOMNAME@@. “All we have to do is come out with all of the information stored in that base - false, of course. Then, we come up with some good lies to convince the public that these secret systems are something else. Do you think we could pass these rockets off as a fireworks display?”

5. “It’s all too much hassle,” sighs your Intelligence Minister, resting @@HER@@ head upon the meeting table. “You know what, @@LEADER@@? We should just tell them everything. No more secrets, no more hidden military projects. Release all of the government’s confidential information into the open, and let them do what they want with it. Maybe we could crowdsource some suggestions for our new underground projects?”

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#756: The Issue With Issues [Maori Moon; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
After an influx of poorly thought out, redundant, and otherwise trivial issues have been shoved across your desk, concern has been raised as to whether the government should start better regulating the issues you receive.

The Debate
1. “There must be an issue crack down!” bellows @@RANDOMNAME@@, your personal secretary, while removing gum off @@HIS@@ shoe. “If we don’t do something, pretty soon we’ll be getting issues that could have just as easily been dealt with the flip of a coin!” @@HE@@ pauses to discreetly move an old picture of your niece and her pet from your direct line of sight. “Let your staff take care of the frivolity so you can focus on the big stuff. In fact, if a government official passes on an issue that’s too trivial to you, fire them on the spot!”

2. You suddenly hear a shattering noise and find @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Advisor Of Trivial Matters, has broken through your office window. “Sorry about that, your office door was being fixed,” @@HE@@ apologies. “Anyway, an issues crackdown? Ha! Your window’s a trivial issue, yet you’ll probably be enlisting all of @@NAME@@'s government to replace it! I say, anyone who wants should be able to bring an issue directly to your attention! Then the people will feel like the government is a helpful organization working for them, not something big to fear! If that doesn’t work, I’ll even help fix your window!”

3. “There’s no need to go to either extreme,” ponders @@RANDOMNAME@@, an intern and amateur vuvuzela-player who was just practicing @@NAME@@’s national anthem outside your window. “I have a creative solution: we should create a rigorous, 34-tier color-coded system to evaluate how @@LEADER@@-worthy an issue is and you can work through the issue queue accordingly. The people with most urgent and important issue will get a faster response. Everybody wins!”

4. “It’s not the issues that you’ve got to watch out for, but the sorts of people that are giving you solutions,” volunteers the bee suit clad Dr. Bees, walking hand-and-hand into your office with the Bird Lady. “I can’t help but notice that some of the people who are giving you advice are a bit... odd. You just need to make sure that you’re properly vetting all your advisors, then the actual decisions making process will be a snap, no matter how trivial or important an issue is.”

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#757: Extra Credit? [Kingdom of Jacobia; ed:Zwangzug]

The Issue
A series of cases of mistaken identity from the credit bureau Expertfaux recently culminated in your young cousin receiving a deluge of petitions from aggrieved citizens. Frustrated @@DEMONYMNOUNPLURAL@@, who are beginning to doubt their own names, have called the efficacy and necessity of modern credit bureaus into question.

The Debate
1. "These people have no credibility!" protests @@RANDOMNAME@@, littering your desk with the shredded ruins of @@HIS/HER@@ credit report. "Incompetent credit bureaus' background checks labeled Mr. @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@ as a criminal and Ms. @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@ as deceased. Besides, any attempt to boil down my life into a single number will fall short of doing me justice. Credit bureaus need more oversight, so they can't come between hardworking @@DEMONYMNOUNPLURAL@@ and the loans we need!"

2. "These were minor mishaps," claims @@RANDOMNAME@@, a representative from Expertfaux, who appears to be addressing a government accountant instead of you. "Lenders, landlords, and even employers need our services to weed out undeserving clients. Imagine if companies didn't know who in the blue they were lending to! Credit bureaus must be allowed to self-regulate without government interference. The future of our wallets depends on it!"

3. "Doing background checks one at a time is so inefficient," muses the accountant in question, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Why not put credit regulation under government control, and research people's financial history in advance? That way anybody can access our database at any time. I'm sure the police would love to have a record of major transactions and movements too."

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#758: Bye Bye to the Birdies? [Frieden-und Freudenland; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
After Smalltopian journalists reporting on recent protein powder trade negotiations penned more articles on @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ government buildings covered in bird droppings than international commerce, questions have been raised as to whether @@NAME@@’s “pigeon problem” has gotten out of control.

The Debate
1. “Get these damned flying rats off me!” yells @@RANDOMNAME@@ Hitchcock, a member of the @@CAPITAL@@ Beautification Council, desperately trying to wave away the pigeons pecking at @@HIM@@. “These vermin are everywhere, defecating on us, spreading disease and damaging bronze and marble with their caustic droppings. It’s all happening because a bunch of nutjobs are feeding them to feel good about themselves. @@LEADER@@, ban pigeon-feeding immediately, so we may be free of this feathered pestilence!”

2. “This is their city as much as it is ours,’’ sings your childhood nanny Miriam Poppout, while staring at a snow globe with unsettling intensity. “You can’t let these beautiful creatures die! We should embrace bird feeding. @@CAPITAL@@ will become known as ‘The City of a Million Pigeons’ and tourists will flock from across the world to see the birds and feed them at only two @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ a bag.”

3. “I can’t see what the fuss is about,” chimes in B.F. Spinner, a spokesperson of the @@CAPITAL@@ Ornithological Society. “Ask any illusionist or postman you know: pigeons are highly trainable animals. If the problem is that they are pooping around, they can simply be given potty training. Just put small toilet bowls at designated spots in the city, equipped with a food dispenser that gives food pellets when a pigeon poops there. The pooping behavior will thus be positively reinforced and voila! - the next time the pigeon will go to the toilet bowl when it needs to poop. Problem solved!”

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#759: Marry, Marry, Quite Contrarily [Neocaledonia; ed:Ransium]

The congregation of a local church of @@RELIGION@@ has come under fire after their refusal to wed a homosexual couple, inciting protesters to glitter bomb the pastor and congregants.

The Debate
1. “We should be allowed to marry whenever and wherever we want,” insists gay rights activist @@RANDOMNAME@@. “If these people’s ‘God’ is such a bigot, then maybe they should find a new one. Churches should either agree to conduct gay marriages or not be allowed to conduct marriages at all. You can’t have one rule for straight folk and another rule for gay people.”

2. “This is absurd!” exclaims Pastor Hal E. Looya, still picking glitter out of his hair. “You know what that very same woman said before gay marriage was legal? ‘However much others may despise our positions on certain issues, we still have every right to live the life we want.’ Now she’s trying to force her beliefs on us! If the gays are that desperate to feel like they are ‘married’, they can find a church that shares their views or they can go to a public courthouse. Just leave us out of it.”

3. “This is the logical result of government sticking its nose where it has no business,” insists your libertarian cousin @@RANDOMNAME@@, giving you the same line he does anytime you ask for his opinion. “@@NAME@@ shouldn’t officially recognize or even provide tax breaks for any marriage, homosexual or heterosexual. Nor should it care if religions want to discriminate against various people for whatever reason. All marriages and religions should be treated equally, in the sense that they aren’t being treated by the government at all.”
Last edited by Jutsa on Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:04 pm, edited 55 times in total.
My national anthem~
(also the original)

Currently working on conlang, may rework solar system and geography.

User avatar
Jutsa
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Posts: 3157
Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#760: A Debatable Question [Maxemia; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
It’s election season in @@NAME@@, and several of the smaller political parties are voicing their concerns about being left out of the big televised debates, again.

The Debate
1. “It’s so unfair,” sulks Lord Kettlenoggin, leader of the Marxist Alliance For The Advancement Of Agrarian Libertarianism (MAFTAOAL), while speaking to a local gathering of six people. “We polled just below one percent last election cycle, and I demand to be heard! In fact, anybody that wants to join in should have the right to do so. The big parties are just scared to let us debate with them, but don’t let that get in the way of what really matters; vox populism, eh, populi.”

2. “It’s both fair and efficient,” lectures @@RANDOMNAME@@, majority whip for the Liberal Conservatives, while putting out a cigar on a @@ANIMAL@@ Supremacy Party campaign pamphlet. “Only the biggest parties stand a real chance at power, and muddling what really matters with thirty different fringe causes – that have no ground in reality – would be unfair to the voters. Trying to mess with the way we’ve been doing political debates since the dawn of time will only serve to put mental stress on the masses, so let’s not.”

3. TBD

4. “I don’t think we have to go to either extreme here,” suggests Simon Cobweb, former TV-producer and the freshest face on your team of spin-doctors. “If we gave the power to decide eligibility to some non-partisan commission, they could set specific criteria to be included in the televised debates, and a panel of impartial judges could rate prospects based on that. Now, that’s fair. It might cost an extra @@CURRENCY@@ or two, but can you really put a price on democracy? Hmm, I guess I just did, kind of.”

5. “All this debating is giving me a headache,” complains @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Daft Ideas. “Imagine all the time people would save if they didn’t spend the day listening to arguments about tweaking the tax code or giving benefits to old people.” He motions over to a window overlooking a lone activist spray-painting ‘MAFTAOAL FTW’ across @@CAPITAL@@’s main square. “I have an idea, what if we just stopped debating altogether? No meddling politicians, at all. Let the voters decide for themselves.

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#761: As Seen On TV [Cazalius lodra; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Classic TV fans have pointed out that the terrible events of the recent @@CAPITAL@@ Stock Exchange bombing were strangely foreshadowed in long-cancelled shlock soap opera ”The Light of Day”, sitcom ”The Flimpsons”, and in a dozen other TV programs produced by the same media company.

The Debate
1. “Since we’re outperforming the Intelligence community, you should make use of our talents!” suggests producer @@RANDOMNAME@@, sensing the opportunity for some great PR. “I figure that we’ve got our finger so tightly on the pulse of society that we’ve become psychically attuned to the zeitgeist of tomorrow. That’s why subconsciously, our programming content can predict that which your so-called experts are oblivious to. We’ll happily send you all our predictions for a small consultation fee.”

2. “They’re receiving information from elsewhere!” stage whispers @@NAME@@’s lousiest spy, Jason Bouring. “None of our agencies could have predicted the bombings, and I don’t think it’s likely mere TV producers could have made this string of perfect guesses. They must be in league with terrorists, maybe as spies sent from Blackacre. We must arrest them, and deal with these traitors harshly!”

3. “Don’t you think the real problem is that intelligence services that can be beaten by a TV entertainment company?” asks Intelligence Agency Director Abbot Blackbriar. “Counter-terrorism measures need upgrading, and national security services need better funding. With more agents, rigorous training programs and more investigatory powers, we’ll soon be better than the best. In fact, you should just assign me a budget, and leave things to me.”

4. “The only obvious thing here is that it’s all a coincidence,” points out mathematician Khethelo Roberts. “There was no reasonable way to predict the @@CAPITAL@@ bombings, and frankly there’s no reasonable way to predict terrorism at all. Best thing to do is to strip back security and intelligence services altogether, and give us taxpayers a break!” He yelps suddenly as black-gloved hands pull him into the back of an unmarked van.

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#762: Double Down On Double Time? [Australian Republic; ed:Caracasus]

The Issue
Turning up one bright Monday morning, you are met with a mob of angry janitors, delivery drivers, security guards and cleaners on strike after legislation for increased weekend pay was defeated for the sixteenth time. Given that all available office space is full of uncollected rubbish and smells faintly of Friday’s lunch, a meeting on the issue has been held at a busy local cafe.

The Debate
1. “What do you think they’re striking for?” asks a department office intern and student @@RANDOMNAME@@, still half asleep from working weekends at a greengrocers. “Fair wages for antisocial hours, that’s what! Do you know how many of us have to sacrifice our free time, our social lives and even our health for the same rate as someone doing a nine-to-five? Big business can afford to pay a bit more, so make them give us night shift and weekend workers extra pay!”

2. “Having to fork out extra for weekend workers would sink us,” butts in nosy cafe owner @@RANDOMNAME@@, slinging a sweat-soaked dishcloth at his girlfriend so she can take over. “Me and the old gal have to scrimp and save to pay for staff as it is! Tell you what, you lot cut back a bit on all those wage laws for us small businesses and I might even be able to take the old nag out somewhere nice.”

3. “We never used to rush about like this when I was a young’un,” interjects old-timer @@RANDOMNAME@@, holding up a queue just to talk to you. “Nowadays no-one seems to have enough time for a cuppa and a chat. Why don’t we go back to the good old days when you only had to work on weekdays, and everything closed at five? That’ll give us all plenty of time to get to know each other properly, like back when I was a nipper.”

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#763: Any Body For Science? [The 19th Century; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
A group of @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ scientists have advocated loosening ethical regulations to allow scientists to perform research with live human test subjects.

The Debate
1. “Well, it is certainly difficult to find enough willing volunteers,” argues Dr. Nikita Mengele, who slinked into your office dressed in a crisp white lab coat. “Rare conditions such as Brancalandian Burps and @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Habitancy can only be found in a few individuals, and more often than not they refuse to take part in our studies! We need the government to step back and let us researchers decide who should and should not be tested upon, for the sake of medical science!”

2. “Don’t listen to her, @@LEADER@@,” pleads @@RANDOMNAME@@, directing @@HIS@@ cries towards your potted plant. “Doctor Mengele blinded me with her so-called research! This is what happens when scientists think that they can do whatever they want. Surely you cannot just forget about the idea of consent! If anything, you should require a fully detailed consent form for any kind of medical procedure or treatment. If any scientists don’t like it, just take away their funding.”

3. “But what incentive would people have?” asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, taking a wallet and syringe out of @@HIS@@ bag. “It’s obvious that testing on live subjects is a priceless opportunity, and that is exactly why we should place a price on it! Mandate that all participants should be paid, say, 5000 @@CURRENCY@@ per day while they are undergoing tests. This stops low-rate scientists from going overboard, and it helps the poor. It’s a flawless plan!”

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#764: Dude, Where’s My Elected Representative? [Nation Of Quebec; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A recent survey of MPs in @@NAME@@ revealed that only 50% of them actually live in the ridings that they represent.

The Debate

1. “This is a disgrace!” shouts street protester and irate bird farmer @@RANDOMNAME@@, whilst launching some sort of squishy projectile at your front door with a handheld catapult. “How is someone who lives in Northern @@NAME@@ supposed to have any understanding of how people in Southern @@NAME@@ live? My MP lives hundreds of miles away from the good honest folk he’s claiming to represent. Frankly, it’s an insult to the electorate. The government must force elected representatives to live in the areas they’re supposed to represent, or kick them out of office!”

2. “This is a democracy, remember?” argues @@RANDOMNAME@@, who was elected to represent the rural fishing folk of @@ANIMAL@@-by-the-Sea, despite living in @@CAPITAL@@. “I may not live in the rural wilderness right now, though I’ll probably live there one day. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about these places. I mean, I do have access to Kwikipedia, after all! Forcing me to resign is a slap in the face to the good people of @@ANIMAL@@-by-the-Sea and an insult to democracy itself!”

3. “There’s always room for compromise,” suggests noted centrist politician, @@RANDOMNAME@@, who is known for attending as many government meetings as possible. “Obviously we need to have our politicians be knowledgeable about the areas they’re representing, but we also can’t deny them a right to choose their own place of residence. How about we instead compel all politicians to educate themselves about their chosen ridings? Force them to study the area’s history, culture, and languages and actually spend some time there. Then, test them! Give them an examination to pass to prove they know their stuff! If they fail, then they can’t run in that riding. After all, a little bit of knowledge never did anyone any harm.”

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#765: Don't Judge Me [Eaischpnaeieacgkque Bhcieaghpodsttditf; ed:Zwangzug]

The Issue
Yesterday, the plaintiff, defendant, and jury in a local court had to wait over five hours before the judge arrived late. Furious over the waste of their day, the jury decided to reconvene this morning and charge the judge with being in contempt of court and criminal negligence of a national position. Some are claiming that there is a scarcity of national magistrates throughout @@NAME@@, and the political establishment is convinced that something should be done.

The Debate
1. “I’m being disgraced!” pleads the judge in question. “The public boos me even though I was on the other side of @@NAME@@ yesterday morning doing another case! The statistics are dire, @@LEADER@@. There are not enough judges for a country of our size, and we’re spread too thin. You need to appoint more colleagues for me on the bench. And while you’re at it, get me a pardon already.”

2. “I agree that more judges should be appointed, but how do we know they are not just motivated by power?” inquires your lawyer while fixing his suit. “Judges should be selected randomly like juries are. The only difference is that those who could be picked should be limited to lawyers and people who actually know how the law works. When a trial needs to take place, nearby people that fit the qualifications can be summoned and chosen from. I’ll take an oath that nothing could ever go wrong.”

3. “No, no, no, no, no! These are horrible ideas!” wails @@RANDOMNAME@@, a noted anarchist, while burning a judge’s robes. “The entire judicial system is an unjust use of brute force to suppress inherent human freedom. Abolish the judicial system and free us from the tyranny you politicians label ‘law’.”

*4. “I say, that blubbering anarchist is on to something here, what!” realizes @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Defense, while smoking a cigar. “After wrangling unruly cadets, our valiant military officers should have no trouble disposing of court cases in lieu of overworked judges. That way, the courts will be under strict orders from you to do the job properly. And if people complain about it, why, it would be a jolly good workout for me to step and convince them that it’s okay.” @@HE@@ cracks @@HIS@@ knuckles and grins cheerfully. [Smoking is legal]

*5 “I say, that blubbering anarchist is on to something here, what!” realizes @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Defense, while toying with @@HIS@@ monocle. “After wrangling unruly cadets, our valiant military officers should have no trouble disposing of court cases in lieu of overworked judges. That way, the courts will be under strict orders from you to do the job properly. And if people complain about it, why, it would be a jolly good workout for me to step and convince them that it’s okay.” @@HE@@ cracks @@HIS@@ knuckles and grins cheerfully. [Smoking is illegal]

6. “You all are not taking this seriously!” foams @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Anger Management, while punching a hole in the wall. “You don’t need to change anything. The only thing that should be replaced is that incompetent judge who arrived late! Fire the crook and replace her with someone that actually wants to take the job seriously! I don’t care if that means judges can’t sleep or eat or whatever it is besides doing their duty to @@NAME@@. Our judicial system is counting on their undying loyalty to the law!”

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#766: Carbon Emissions Are Why We Can’t Have Nice Things [Continental Commonwealths; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
Signing that international climate treaty all those months ago really put a feather in your cap, and in the cap of @@NAME@@. Stately banquets in Brancaland and numerous editorials on your progressive leadership; it really has been quite delightful. Today, however, a strongly worded letter from the treaty compliance commission arrived at your desk, asking you to detail how @@NAME@@ plans to fulfill its obligations.

The Debate
1. “Well, we always knew this day would come,” laments renowned business tycoon @@RANDOMNAME@@. “The important thing now is to ensure that the most business-friendly option is pursued. If we hook ourselves up to one of the established cap-and-trade systems, we can go shopping in the backwater signatory states and buy enough permits to allow @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ companies to continue producing at their current rates. Our industry won’t technically reduce their emissions, but it’s an ‘international’ treaty, right?”

2. “Let’s do this the right way, yes?” suggests @@RANDOMMALENAME@@, avid ‘yes-man’ and resident of a territory completely devoid of oil and gas. “If you want a tried and true method for reducing carbon emissions, you can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned tax scheme. Yes, those territories with larger energy reserves and heavy industry will likely be impacted to a greater extent than those without, and socioeconomically it’s bound to be somewhat regressive, but we have to consider future generations. We can offset the damages by investing the revenue in renewable energy and social welfare, yes?”

3. “There’s another way”, posits Balon Busk, the nation’s foremost newspaper columnist on technology and fantasy fiction. “Carbon capture and storage technology has some great potential. Of course, kicking off new tech is always risky, so we’ll need massive subsidies for investments in the right infrastructure and equipment. But if we get it to work, we won’t need to reduce carbon emissions at all. We’ll just put it someplace it won’t do any harm and no one is likely to stumble upon it, like deep below the Misty Mountains or something. It’s the epitome of eating your cake and having it too! Expensive cake, but still.”

4. “This meddling in national affairs is sickening,” howls @@RANDOMNAME@@, an energy sector advocate known for @@HIS@@ love of dramatic exaggerations. “Any one of the proposed options will decimate our economy, without having the slightest positive impact on the environment, probably. All the worthwhile companies will flee to more business-friendly jurisdictions, and @@NAME@@ will die a horrible and painful death; that’s right, I said it: that treaty of yours will kill @@NAME@@. Who’s going to appreciate all those flowers when everybody’s dead, huh? Trash the treaty!”

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#767: Xe Said, Zhe Said [The Marsupial Illuminati; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
Transgender students at @@CAPITAL@@ University are up in arms after @@RANDOMNAME@@, a noted Sociology professor, refused to use students’ preferred pronouns. After being briefed on the minefield of multiple genders and microaggressions, you step outside your safe space to face the masses.

The Debate
1. “By refusing to call me by my preferred pronouns, he is denying my humanity!” cries a spirited student with no clear gender. “He is a transphobic person, using free speech as an excuse to cover his bigotry. I don’t feel safe on this campus anymore because of this. We as a society discourage the use of offensive speech all the time, which is why we don’t allow racial slurs on our campus. Why aren’t pronouns treated the same way? Misgendering should be a hate speech and those who do it should be fired from their jobs and liable for psychological damage!”

2. “Oh shut up, free speech is a cornerstone of our nation,” bemoans the professor in question. “Restricting speech is how most authoritarian and fascist regimes in history began. First they’ll come for your ability to use the pronouns you want, and you’ll say nothing because you don’t want to offend people; next, they’ll come for the media! We cannot allow this to happen! I am not a bigot just because I refuse to address a transgender student with a made-up pronoun concocted by radical activists. Besides, I have a thousand students, I can’t be bothered to remember a thousand pronouns; I must be allowed to refer to people however I want.”

3. “The problem is that our speech allows for such offenses to be had at all,” claims @@RANDOMNAME@@, a controversial equality advocate. “I’m not just talking about eliminating gendered pronouns from our language, although that’s really a no-brainer, I’m talking about eliminating any sort of possibly offensive descriptors. Adjectives possibly related to race? Gone! Descriptors of different religions? Gone! Racial slurs? Oh man... er, person, are they gone. With new @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ OffenselessSpeak, @@NAME@@ will be paradise.”

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#768: Trouble Brewing [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
This morning’s strategy meeting was brought to a grinding halt when you and your cabinet were subjected to the worst pot of tea you have ever had the misfortune of suffering. The leaves weren’t properly brewed, the milk was skimmed AND powdered, the water was lukewarm, and the sugar bowl was full of salt...

The Debate
1. "Oh gosh @@LEADER@@, I'm so sorry I don't know how to make your boiled leaf water," spits @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@, the ever-sarcastic secretary responsible for the offending brew. "I was busy learning trivialities like typing, minute-taking, IT skills, and calendar organising. How about you all drink Eckie-cola from now on, instead? In fact, you should get rid of tea from the whole of @@NAME@@: it's a drink for old farts and fuddy-duddies anyway."

2. "Look, I'm the Secretary of State, the damn Secretary of State, I say, and even I know how to make tea properly," complains your elderly Secretary of State, pointing to the desk nameplate that says Secretary of State. "The problem with young people today, well, besides being constantly glued to their Pear Phones, is that they don't know how to slow down and take their time. We should make tea-making and kitchen skills a part of the national curriculum, and encourage all those teenagers and twenty-somethings to stop rushing around, and to appreciate a proper tea service."

3. "Pfft, slow-mo food and drink is so last century," mocks @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Chief of Science, while digging into @@HIS/HER@@ microwave burrito. "What you need is instant tea, in a can, with some sort of heating widget that triggers with the ring pull, and plenty of preservatives to make it last. Once again, science has the answer! So, shall I assign some government grants for food technology research, or what?"

4. "Oolongs for better tea?" giggles @@RANDOMNAME@@, your pun-loving Minister of Agriculture, and your Cabinet brace themselves for an onslaught of tea-related puns. "Can we Matcha solution to the problem? Can we Rize to the occasion? Did you read that report I Sencha? Did I get things down to a tea, my Darjeelings?" In the face of blank faces and silence, @@HE/SHE@@ changes tack. "Uh... anyway, coffee. Coffee is easier to make and nicer. Subsidise coffee growers."

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#769: How To Print Money? [Singapore no2; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
An independent study recently estimated that up to ten percent of all physical money in circulation is counterfeit. The Treasury Department are greatly worried, both that the counterfeiters are still at large and that @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ could be being severely devalued over time.

The Debate
1. "The fake bills just keep coming and coming!" exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, your excitable Chancellor of the Treasury, pouring out a suitcase of the counterfeit notes onto your desk. "If we want to stop this, I'll need a special task force under my direct control, and a free hand to act decisively... With that, I guarantee you we'll stamp out all forms of counterfeiting within a month. Or maybe two. Or however long it takes!"

[2]. "An easier solution would be to implant small RFID-microchips into our notes and coins," proposes @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Gadgets, demonstrating a prototype to you. "This would ensure that all genuine money could be immediately verified by handheld scanners. As an extra benefit, it'd be a lot easier to track the movement of cash if we need to." [Must have substantial scientific advancement OR I.T.] [???]

3. "All that glitters is gold, and really that's all we'll need to know," mumbles @@RANDOMNAME@@, a gold magnate. "Wouldn't it be much simpler if a 1-@@CURRENCY@@ coin was actually worth one @@CURRENCY@@? If you used gold coins instead, not only would the coins have intrinsic value, but counterfeiting would become profitless and thus non-existent."

4. "What a boring, utilitarian solution," yawns @@RANDOMNAME@@, an uppity artist, who is currently painting a mural on your ceiling. "The correct way should be to issue new notes and coins, and adorn them with elegant and intricate patterns. Not only will they be hard to copy, but they'll look fabulous as well. Only then will it be difficult for criminals to make a mould."

5. "What's so wrong with individuals making money?" questions a dodgy-looking stranger with ink stains on his hands. "If the government can print money, then why can't private citizens? It'd stimulate the economy, I reckon, by creating cashflow and hyperinflating the currency, or something like that. Hyperinflation is something good, right? Isn't that what free market economics means?"

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#770: Vaping Up A Storm [Kortza; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
E-cigarettes and vaping have been growing more popular, but some have expressed safety concerns.

The Debate
1. "I caught my son puffing mist from this weird device!" panics mother @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, holding an e-cigarette at arms length as if expecting it to explode in her face. "I haven't tried it myself, but if you combine electricity with the dangers of nicotine, who knows what will happen? We must stop people using them until there's been more research into their safety!"

2. "Mom, you have like, minus one hundred percent idea what you're talking about," retorts her son, fifteen-year-old @@RANDOMMALEFIRSTNAME@@, obnoxiously exhaling a cloud of berry-scented vapour into your face. "E-cigarettes have have like, no bad stuff in them at all, so they're as safe to smoke as drinking water. I mean drinking water is as safe as smoking these, not that you can smoke water... uh... you get what I mean. In fact, they help people stop smoking. Which is good, so I hear, though I've never actually tried smoking cigarettes. Plus, it's really cool-looking. I've been trying to impress that Julie girl with my vape hearts. Anyway, don't cut me off, because I really like Julie. Like really, really like. You get me?"

3. "Nicotine replacement devices are reasonable to help with nicotine addiction," interjects Dr. @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@ in a paternalistic tone of voice, "and that's all that they should be used for. People are too stupid to decide things for themselves: you need someone who has a brain to tell them what to do. @@LEADER@@, if you have any respect for the moral and physiological well-being of our nation, I implore you to necessitate a psychiatrist's prescription for electronic cigarettes."

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#771: Drug Up The Prices [Outer Sparta; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
Bletchley Pharmaceuticals recently hiked up the price of Garatim, a once-affordable branded drug used to treat neurodegenerative conditions, to over twenty times its original cost. Sick patients have accused Bletchley of greedy practices, and citizens have begun to take to the streets, calling on the government to intervene.

The Debate
1. “Why is Big Pharma doing this?” shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, opting to simply throw a megaphone at your secretary rather than speak through it. “I have taken this medicine for decades, but some selfish pharmaceutical firm wants to deny me the care that I desperately need! Am I supposed to spend all of my life savings just so that I can survive? Enough of it! We need the government to oversee all drug prices to keep things fair for everyone.”

2. “This is much bigger than a handful of sick people!” rants @@RANDOMNAME@@, majority shareholder of Chant Healthcare, almost spilling the vast contents of @@HIS@@ wallet onto the ground in his anger. “This is about the free market, and how it drives innovation. Of course we make money off these drugs, but these profits are what give companies the incentive to develop these drugs in the first place! Take away that, and who would ever want to push the boundaries of pharmacological science again? The government should have no hand in this market, for the sake of our nation’s health.”

3. “The problem isn’t price gouging, it’s our healthcare system!” protests @@RANDOMNAME@@, a prominent socialist thinker, scowling at the furious businessman. “Solving this problem only eliminates a symptom, not the disease itself. Our healthcare system lets greedy pharmaceutical companies exploit society’s disadvantaged. We must seize control of the means of drug production and outright ban private institutions from developing medications.”

4. “It’s all an elaborate plan!” exclaims Marty Stebeckli, the CEO of Bletchley Pharmaceuticals, revealing a sheet of paper covered in indecipherable text. “You’re going to have to trust me here. Raising the price of Garatim was intended to put pressure on private health insurance companies, by forcing them to spend massive amounts for the drug. We’re even giving it out for free to people that actually need it! @@LEADER@@, our intentions were pure. Perhaps the government should encourage this behaviour by handing all drug production over to my company?”

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#772: Do You Have Artistic License? [Goolsbee; ed:Caracasus]

The Issue
Disaster! The organizers of a charity dinner you are attending have been forced to cancel a scheduled stand-up routine by Jerry Fallon, famous comedian and headliner, because he has not renewed his entertainer’s license. During the commotion, several of the nation’s great and good also in attendance have come to your table to argue their positions on occupational licensing.

The Debate
1. “This shows why we must end licensing once and for all!” splutters @@RANDOMNAME@@, Chairman of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Freer Enterprise Committee. “I ask you, who do you think is best placed to decide who is qualified? Some stuffed shirt bureaucrat sitting in a comfy office in @@CAPITAL@@ or the employer? Leave it up to the free market to decide! If folks don’t think much of a plumber, electrician or doctor then they’ll vote with their @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@!”

2. “Don’t listen to this laissez-faire claptrap,” sneers consumer advocate @@RANDOMNAME@@, discreetly shoveling vol-au-vents into @@HIS@@ pocket. “Occupational licensing protects consumers from incompetence and harm. We should be expanding the scope of licensing! Just look at the shoddy workmanship on these table decorations!”

3. “My children’s babysitter doesn’t need a license to do a good job, but we obviously need to enforce certain standards for important professions where people’s lives are at stake - like doctors,” observes Dr. @@RANDOMNAME@@, President of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Medical Association. “The best way to protect the public and to keep out the riff-raff is to require a letter of recommendation to the licensing board from established and respected associations, such as mine.”

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#773: Know Thy Selfie [The Grim Reaper; ed:The Grim Reaper]

The Issue
While taking a photo with a journalist, you were interrupted by an enthusiastic supporter who promptly fainted in your arms. The journalist’s article went viral overnight, turning the image of you and your fan into an internet sensation. The next morning, you were greeted by your intern, @@RANDOMNAME@@, begging you to take a selfie with him in the same pose. It turns out you’ve acquired a new fanbase. This raises a question - how can you turn this situation to your advantage?

The Debate
1. “All my classmates are so jealous that I get to work in your office,” squeals your intern, gleefully posting the selfie to his blog. “If you started a student organization to help you campaign online, we’d be queuing up to join! The best students are the ones who work hard for their futures. This’d give us another way to start working for yours!”

2. “More publicity means more scrutiny,” murmurs your personal assistant, straightening your curtains. “We need to keep your online image squeaky clean. We should keep your public presence where it belongs - pre-prepared teleprompter speeches and draft-by-committee press releases.”

3.“Woah, that sounds really, really boring,” sneers your Chief of Staff, pulling your curtains askew again. “Look, give me some of your social media passwords. I’ll dump some opposition research to get your fans really riled up. They’ll make short work of anyone who tweets at you the wrong way.”

4. “You have all these fans, and you want to manipulate them?” gasps @@RANDOMNAME@@, head of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Bureau of Statistics and hobbyist street petitioner. “It would be far more valuable to know exactly who supports exactly what policies. With bots to scrape social media for all the hashtags and profiles you’ll ever need, you can finally see every citizen the way they want to be seen - as a data point!”

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#774: Clean Switch [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
It turns out the @@MAN@@ who cleans your office toilets is actually double-qualified as a real estate lawyer and an orthopaedic surgeon. In @@HIS@@ home-country, that is. In @@NAME@@, @@HIS@@ qualifications are not recognised. According to the rocket scientist that makes your sandwiches in the canteen, this is a common problem for immigrants across the land.

The Debate
*1. "Increasing access to a skilled workforce can only be good for our economy," observes Minister of Work and Pensions @@RANDOMNAME@@, who has been complaining all day that @@HE@@ couldn't get an appointment with @@HIS@@ dentist. "Allow foreign qualifications to be recognised here, and we'll have more doctors, lawyers, engineers and so on. Some of their practices might come across as slightly unorthodox, but still: an increase in supply will lead to a decrease in costs, benefiting public spending and private sector growth. We could clean up. Get it? Oh goodness, somebody stop me." [Must have private industry]

*2. “Increasing access to a skilled workforce can only be good for our economy,” observes Minister of Work and Pensions @@RANDOMNAME@@, who has been complaining all day that @@HE@@ couldn’t get an appointment with @@HIS@@ dentist. “Allow foreign qualifications to be recognised here, and we’ll have more doctors, lawyers, engineers and so on. Some of their practices might come across as slightly unorthodox, but still: an increase in supply will lead to a decrease in costs, benefiting our national balance sheet. We could clean up. Get it? Oh goodness, somebody stop me.” [Must not have private industry]

3. “You can’t trust foreigners,” states native-born and trained structural engineer @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not being racist, I’m talking about trusting the quality of training. Who can say whether their standards are as good as ours? Who knows what dangerous practices might be considered normal in their nations? If they want to work here, they have to gain OUR qualifications, so we can know they are safe. Otherwise, they can stick to pushing brooms.”

4. “Hey, they’ve already taken all the low level jobs; you can’t let them take the high paying ones too!” rants unemployed ex-factory worker @@RANDOMNAME@@. “@@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ jobs should be for @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ people! Make it illegal for employers to offer a job to an immigrant unless they can prove that there’s no native to fill the spot.”

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#775: Affirmative Election [Singapore no2; ed:Pogaria]

The Issue
Recent elections in @@NAME@@ have resulted in yet another parliament with few racial or ethnic minorities. In response, several minority-interest organizations have been protesting for weeks on end outside your office. The ruckus has become so distracting that you tried to veto your grocery list. After realizing that this couldn’t continue any longer, you have decided to give them an audience.

The Debate
1. “This tyranny by majority must end!” demands @@RANDOMNAME@@, a Macronesian protest leader, who claims to represent all 2500 Macronesians in @@NAME@@. “We have been trying to become members of parliament for most of our adult lives, but we have not won even a single seat. I insist that you permanently reserve a few seats for minority groups throughout our nation.”

2. “That would not even begin to make up for the decades we spent suffering in silence,” laments @@RANDOMNAME@@, an ethnic Moltovean who was unsuccessful in @@HIS@@ last three runs for a seat in parliament. “The current system obviously doesn’t work. Why don’t we just redraw the voting districts? We can arrange the borders in a manner that will ensure our parliament has a more representative percentage of minorities. Rather than having a few reserved seats, we could actually have fair elections that result in a diverse parliament. Of course, the nation’s homogeneous rural areas might need to be, um, divided a little more creatively to allow our people to get elected there.”

3. “These dreadful ideas would alienate a large chunk of our voting base,” complains Speaker of Parliament @@RANDOMNAME@@, who was recently lampooned in the book Stuff Ethnic @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ Like. “Furthermore, the proposals are completely unmeritocratic. No matter how much you spin it, if a candidate fails to meet the expectations of the voting public, the candidate does not deserve a seat. And besides, you’ve seen how those loutish Bigtopians conduct their own affairs. Do you really want those sorts of people in our government?”

4. “The proposed rules don’t go far enough!” proclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, a devout follower of a very small sect of Conspiritivism, sporting a tin foil helmet and insulating robes. “If minority races get to have special considerations, it’s only fair that we have them too. You should allocate reserved seats in parliament to both ethnic minorities and minority religions to give everyone a voice!”

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#776: Fake News, Everyone! [Nation of Quebec; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
Journalistic pieces filled with falsehoods have been popping up all over the internet recently, especially on social media.

The Debate
1. “Lousy so-called ‘journalism’!” exclaims the highly intelligent but often forgetful @@RANDOMNAME@@, an aging journalist. “Fake news is a blasted scourge and an insult to real reporters everywhere. Whatever happened to the good old days when the media reported the truth and nothing but the truth? No lies, no political bias, and no freedom to spread incorrect opinions. Of course, it might not reach today’s hip young audience, but we can’t let subjective thoughts ruin the press. Ban these fake news sites and arrest these ridiculous conspiracy theorists!”

2. “I’m from @@NAME@@, and that’s why I deserve my free speech!” rages Alexander Jonas of the controversial show My Info Struggle. “People should be able to say whatever they want. The truth is, I’m a hard-hitting, fact-seeking, freedom-lover! The government has no right to declare that my journalism is any less valid than the hacks you see on television. People deserve opinions from people that aren’t a part of the bureaucratic elite, from independent sources that they can trust. You should be cutting taxes for shows like mine, because the government needs critics to stop corruption dead in its tracks!”

3. “No matter what you decide, someone is going to be unhappy,” notes Trevor Oliver of The Weekly Moan, a news satire program. “Allowing fake news spreads ignorance and fear, but clamping down on it harms freedom of speech. You’ll note that before each of my shows, there is a disclaimer stating that this isn’t real news and shouldn’t be taken seriously. Couldn’t you simply force the fake news sites to openly state that they’re fake? Sure, the government would be able to decide which sites should and shouldn’t be coupled with a warning, but the people wouldn’t be easily tricked any more.”

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#777: Betting On The Future [Drasnia; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
During a family dinner, your brother - who is well-known for his fondness for slot machines - bemoaned the fact that his favorite casino was going out of business. The next day, you found out that he has secretly arranged to have several major casino owners meet you in your office.

The Debate
1. Edward Rump, owner of the failing casino, shakes your hand for an awkwardly extended period of time. “There are so many problems for honest businessmen like me. That’s what they’re all saying. Believe me, the worst is the terrible zoning and property laws in our nation today. The worst. We need to have our casinos in the best places to reach the very very best people. These laws are destroying our nation. Bigly. Without them, it’ll be amazing. Only the best, I’m telling you. You’ll have so much money, you’ll be sick of money.”

2. “No, you’ve got it all backwards,” says ‘Portly’ Pete Russo, board member of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Gambling Commission, while lighting a cigar. “What’s killin’ us are those taxes of yours. They’re highway robbery! Shift the tax burden from us to income tax and I bet we’d be able to increase our operations and bring in even bigger hauls that’d more’n make up the difference. Seriously, I’ll give you two-to-one odds, what’d you say? Anyway we’re the lifeblood of the economy, and you wouldn’t want to be the one responsible for bumpin’ off an industry that nets ya so much dough, now would ya?”

3. Your brother, who has been eavesdropping the whole time through your office door’s keyhole, interrupts the group. “How about instead we use tax money to purchase credit for casinos and then distribute that credit to every taxpayer? That way they’re basically getting a tax break and there’s an incentive for people to try these really entertaining games. Oh - totally unrelated - but could you lend me some money again?”

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#778: Mal Appetit! [Frieden-und-Freudenland; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
Hugh Jass, @@NAME@@’s most famous TV foodie, drew a lot of criticism when he visited a world-class restaurant in yesterday’s episode and gorged on expensive gourmet foods in a manner that some viewers found too “appetite-stimulating.” Mr. Jass’ extravagance was said to be particularly disrespectful to millions of poor @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ citizens who could not afford one of the dishes he ate with their entire monthly salary.

The Debate
1. “How inconsiderate!” exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, a labourer whose love for TV is accentuated by @@HIS@@ square-framed eyeglasses. “While my family subsists on beans and rice, this guy shamelessly sups that fancy pasta and mushroom thing. My children ask why we never eat white Brancalandian truffles. What can I tell them? @@LEADER@@, please ban these TV foodie shows so that our children will not have to grow up feeling self-conscious about our financial circumstances.”

2. “Mon dieu!” grumbles Mr. Jass, sniffing his croissant, and throwing it away untouched. “Do these wretched ignorami not recognise the worth of a good tagliolini con tartufo? ‘Pasta with mushrooms’ indeed! If these peasants have neither the means nor aspiration to appreciate vicarious high-quality culinary culture, they can simply change the channel. I render a valuable service to our economy by giving publicity to our first-class restaurants. So, how about the government picks up the restaurant bills for our gastronomic journalism? I’ll cover the service charge, of course.”

3. “Ahem, please excuse Mr. Jass’ terse reply. He adores all @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@. I’m sure we can find a compromise,” mutters @@RANDOMNAME@@, the producer of Mr. Jass’ show, awkwardly fidgeting with @@HIS@@ gold watch. “Rest assured, we can arrange to cater for the needs and desires of our under-resourced viewers. Perhaps you could incentivise Mr. Jass to show that he understands all his demographic, and should occasionally visit more affordable restaurants. What do you say?”

4. “This is pathetic,” sneers Robin Wood, an advocate for equality, picking up the extra croissants on Mr. Jass’ plate and tossing them out of the window to the huddled masses who anxiously await your decision. “These poor, benighted workers fail to question why they are unable to afford these fancy foods in the first place. It’s because of this hideous income inequality! @@LEADER@@, redistribute our great nation’s wealth and give a standard salary to everyone, no matter their job! No more, no less!”

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#779: We’re Dying For Your Business [Pigeontree; ed:Ransium & Lenyo]

The Issue
A recent exposé of the death care industry revealed that funeral costs are leaving some families dead broke. The reason for the price increases is thought to be because while population growth continues to rise, funeral parlour growth has stopped cold, resulting in shocking cases of price gouging. Demand for last rites has become so high that families sometimes have to pawn all of the deceased’s possessions just to afford a simple burial.

The Debate
1. “Dying is not something we have a choice in,” weeps a sombre woman dressed all in black. “The tragic death of a loved one followed by an astronomical bill landing on our doorsteps can put families’ finances in a death spiral. I urge you, Leader, to scrap death charges altogether and provide state-funded funerals for everyone. That way families won’t have to mourn their bank accounts as well as their loved ones.”

2. “Yes, and do you know why there’s a shortage of funeral services, hmmm?” quietly seethes funeral director Igor Fronkensteen, while dragging a lumpy burlap sack behind him. “Burial plot land costs...they are rising, yes? The price of insuring a hearse these days is, how do you say, absolutely ludicrous, yes? And the restrictive laws on ‘adequate refrigeration’ and ‘treating the dead with dignity’ all are running our margins and my salary down! You want more funeral services at a cheaper price, you should ease up on the bureaucracy, yes?”

3. “Funeral services? What a waste of money,” scoffs obscure thinker @@RANDOMNAME@@, who has yet to sell any copies of @@HIS@@ book Rich Dead, Poor Dead. “What’s the point in some drawn-out shebang for someone who’s not even going to be around to see it? Do away with funerals altogether. That way we can cremate everyone and harvest their bodies for phosphorous!”
Last edited by Jutsa on Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:51 pm, edited 21 times in total.
My national anthem~
(also the original)

Currently working on conlang, may rework solar system and geography.

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Jutsa
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Posts: 3157
Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#780: Vexing VAT [Nuremgard; ed:Helaw]

The Issue
A collection of shoppers and business owners have gathered outside your office to protest over the current levels of value-added tax - the sales tax that is applied to products and services at the time of purchase - also known as VAT.

The Debate
1. “It’s outright theft, I say!” exclaims business owner @@RANDOMNAME@@, while restocking a display with mugs exhibiting your image. “Why should the state leech off my success? I’ve had customers walk out of my store in a huff because the VAT jacked up the prices. The government could easily make money through other kinds of tax instead of harming my business. I say we get rid of this ridiculous VAT altogether and let our economy thrive without limits!”

2. “Are you mad?” scoffs bureaucrat @@RANDOMNAME@@, twirling @@HIS@@ bespoke pen. “Do you have any idea how much the national treasury takes in through VAT? It helps pay for all kinds of things! Education, welfare, defence, and so on. The point is, this form of tax is a very valuable part of our taxation code that, if removed, would leave many public works bereft of funds. I say we increase VAT, and use the funds we raise to reduce the despicable income tax that bleeds the hard-working people of @@NAME@@ dry.”

3. “As always, there is a third option,” muses a passer-by with a voice of confidence. “There is no doubt that this tax disproportionately affects the poor, but we also can’t deny that it helps fund programmes that the poor themselves benefit from. Might I suggest reducing VAT on basic necessities while increasing it on luxury items? The rich might not like it, but it’s high time that they paid their dues to society and their fellow citizens.”

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#781: The White Man’s Burden [The Marsupial Illuminati; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Albinos - born with an absence of pigment in their eyes, skin or hair - suffer a lot of medical problems as a result of their condition. Additionally, they can often face multiple forms of discrimination, and some even believe that their bodies possess extraordinary health benefits and magic powers. Following a brutal attack on an albinistic teenager, which left him armless and disfigured, you have been urged to address their persecution.

The Debate
1. “Decapitations, infanticides, kidnappings, and amputations! It’s beyond the pale!” weeps @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, mother of the now hospitalised victim of the attack. “These are the dangers that albinos face every day. This must end! It should be illegal for anyone to discriminate against albinos, and that includes the media. In fact, make it easier to be an albino in Aqualagoon: give them free eye care, police protection, welfare support, and a lifetime supply of sunscreen!”

2. “This isn’t a black and white issue, and skin-deep solutions won’t tackle the root causes,” declares @@RANDOMNAME@@, a divisive atheist demagogue. “Ignorance and superstition are to blame for all this, so let’s stamp them out. Raise awareness about what albinism is and isn’t. Teach people that albinos are normal @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@, just like you and me. We must erase the absurd primitive thinking that drives these attacks. Teach rationality, teach science, teach atheism!”

*3. “Albinos definitely possess magicks beyond this realm,” bellows the self-proclaimed Witch of the Wilds, whose person is adorned with amulets made of albino body parts. “Trust me, I’m also a doctor. The hair of an albino is a cure for many afflictions, including blindness, cancer and brain freezes. The tears of an orphaned albino child will remedy a broken heart. Therefore, the government must support my endeavor to bring the gifts of the albino to all in @@NAME@@ by setting up albino hunting guilds and farms. The nation can even benefit by sacrificing an albino every now and then for victory in war or a bountiful harvest!” [Must not have unlocked @@CAPITAL@@]

*4. “Albinos definitely possess magicks beyond this realm,” bellows the self-proclaimed Witch of @@CAPITAL@@, whose person is adorned with amulets made of albino body parts. “Trust me, I’m also a doctor. The hair of an albino is a cure for many afflictions, including blindness, cancer and brain freezes. The tears of an orphaned albino child will remedy a broken heart. Therefore, the government must support my endeavor to bring the gifts of the albino to all in @@NAME@@ by setting up albino hunting guilds and farms. The nation can even benefit by sacrificing an albino every now and then for victory in war or a bountiful harvest!” [Must have unlocked @@CAPITAL@@]

5. “Within the Ashen Ones, the spirit of the divine dwells,” proclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, Grand High Poobah of the Order of Violet. “Their eyes, the windows to the soul, reveal this to be Truth. One observes the lavender ghost of the great Mistress Violet typing within, Her presence on earth made physical. That is why the rest of their bodies lack any color; the whole existence of the albino is devoted to housing the Holy. It is written; they must be revered! Pay tribute to our albino masters, @@LEADER@@, and lay your nation’s riches at their feet.”

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#782: Sit-Down Money [Frieden-und-Freudenland; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
With traffic congestion on the roads of @@CAPITAL@@ reaching unbearable density, labour unions are demanding that employees be paid overtime wages for time spent in traffic jams.

The Debate
1. “Have mercy on us, @@LEADER@@!” yells @@RANDOMNAME@@, honking @@HIS@@ car horn right under your window. “I’ve been stuck in this damned traffic jam for so long I’ve forgotten what my children look like! It is inhumane to spend four hours every day just trying to commute to work and back home! I deserve to be paid overtime wages to compensate for the stress I endure!”

2. “What is this noise?” asks your secretary @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ Karoshi, crawling out from under @@HIS@@ desk, still wrapped in @@HIS@@ blanket. “Tell these softies that nobody is forcing them to drive back home after work. People whose homes are far away from work should be encouraged to sleep over at their offices and only go home once a week or so. This would also help boost their company loyalty. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to take a quick shower. The garden sprinklers are on, right?”

3. “I’m not sure why it’s government business what our corporate pay structures are,” observes well-rested CEO @@RANDOMNAME@@, whose commute involved a 15-minute private helicopter trip. “The labour unions always have one demand or another, but we can deal with these problems with hardball negotiation, judicious hiring and firing, and failing all else, water cannon. How about government stays out of it, and lets us resolve these pay disputes our own way?”

4. “This doesn’t make any sense,” mutters your shy teenage nephew almost inaudibly, hiding his face behind his uPad. “Being physically present at your school or workplace is so outdated - and unnecessary, if you ask me - thanks to the latest developments in technology. You should ban the commute, and subsidise remote working. People can just attend classes online or communicate with their colleagues via Trype. This will solve the traffic problem, and also help reduce the social anxiety that some people might feel in face-to-face interactions.”

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#783: Sergeant McCool Reporting For Duty [Annihlators of Chan Island; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
Gossip magazines have exploded into a frenzy after news broke that famous teen idol @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ “Squeaky” McCool is being conscripted into @@NAME@@’s military.

The Debate
1. “I heartily welcome this man to the force,” dead-eyed military recruiter @@RANDOMNAME@@ utters in flat monotone. “Sergeant McCool failed to pass his initial examination, and he exited through the wrong door. But these are minor obstacles every soldier can learn to overcome. He will enter training immediately, and I am sure he will be proud to serve in the front lines with the other grunt... fine @@DEMOYNMADJECTIVE@@ men and women.”

2. “NO! He’s going to DIE!” screams @@RANDOMNAME@@, a 45-year-old who gives @@HIS@@ current profession as ‘Squeaky’s Number One Fan’. “@@LEADER@@, you can’t let Squeaky get killed. Can’t you just, well, refuse him? We Squeakers need him so much. He supports all kind of charities: Dinner-Dance for the Destitute, Masquerade for the Pox-Marked... Say, if he paid you some of his millions, couldn’t that be seen as a surrogate to actual service?”

3. “This the pretty boy that’s due in?” rasps @@RANDOMNAME@@ from the shadows, riffling through gossip magazines and military files. “He should already be physically fit at his age. In neighbouring countries, kids of seventeen, fourteen, six, can already disassemble and reassemble a rifle, crawl along the ground on their knees and elbows and take out a sniper... normal stuff.” @@HE@@ pauses to show you a video of unknown origin, which appears to depict youngsters playing cops-and-robbers. “Our imitation of conscription has failed to instil healthy @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ values into our people. We must widen the net and make the training harsher.”

4. “When an engineer joins, we put them to work fixing stuff,” explains Army logistician, @@RANDOMNAME@@, moving a battalion of toy soldiers from one side of your desk to another. “Why not use this pop singer’s talents? We’d welcome him into the Army, but never put him on the front line. Instead, he’d fly from base to base singing to adoring uniformed fans, pose for recruitment posters, and go on TV to praise the glory of our great nation. He will serve beautifully.”

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#784: The Driving Force [Petreniax; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
With @@NAME@@ committed to reducing its carbon footprint in accordance with the International Climate Treaty, many are asking if encouraging hybrid engines and electric cars might help.

The Debate
1. Ebon Flask, the oddly-named CEO of Nikola Automobiles, is sitting on the corner of your desk, bursting at the seams with excitement. "Hybrid engines are the future! You'll see lower emissions, and drive the growth of new industries. I'm not saying that we should ban the gas guzzlers, of course, but perhaps we could encourage new ways of thinking?" He leans over slightly. "Like maybe increase road tax on polluting vehicles, then subsidise eco-friendly ones? After all, making these cars is a bit expensive..."

2. "Forget this hybrid stuff; my boys in the lab are working on a full-electric engine," interjects Evan Mask, the strangely similar-looking CEO of Edison Industries. "That would get rid of fossil fuel dependence all together; and with renewable energy generation we're talking unlimited travel with no negative effects. All you need to do is ban petrol stations, and build lots of plug-in charger stations in their place. Oh, and you're going to need lots of wind turbines too. One every hundred yards across the country should do it."

3. Soccer mom Alana Messc offers you her opinion about the situation. "People across the nation have different opinions. So why don't you allow free choice in a free market? Let's have gas, hybrid, and electric cars. I'm rather partial to my gasoline-powered minivan: it does just fine when I'm taking the boys to practice. But I know my husband wouldn't mind a hybrid, and my oldest is interested in an electric car, so it's a win-win-win. Of course, we could use an income tax break to be able to afford all those vehicles..."

4. "You hear that? Her GASOLINE-POWERED vehicle is doing fine. We don't need these greenies ruining the economy with their snotty ideas anyways," asserts Eton Muscat, lobbyist for @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Petroleum. "Do you know how many jobs there are in auto manufacture and oil refinery processes? Do you know how much harm you'd do if you wreck these industries? Discourage ideas like hybridization and electric cars, for the sake of compassion. Oh, and let's quit that dumb climate treaty while we're at it."

5. "That's the face of corporate evil, right there," whispers radical environmentalist Egon Mist, pointing not just at the oil lobbyist, but at all four of the previous speakers. "@@NAME@@ needs to free itself of this culture of seeing ecology-destroying transportation as a right. Our ancestors got around fine on foot, and never needed to travel more than a hundred miles from the place of their birth. Get rid of them all: cars, trains, buses, planes, and anything with an engine. That's the way back to a greener and better world."

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#785: Born To Be My Baby [Frieden-und-Freudenland; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
When @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@ and her husband couldn't conceive, they employed a surrogate to bear a child for them, using the father's sperm and the surrogate mother's egg. However, after the baby was born, the surrogate mother refused to give up the child and is battling for permanent custody.

The Debate
1. "This kid gets 50% of his genes from me. Surely that counts for something in a court of law?" questions the intended father of the baby, holding his wife's hand. "My wife has ovarian cancer; she can't have children and a surrogate was our only choice. This woman was paid a considerable amount for the job of carrying our baby. Now she says she wants to keep our child? Utter nonsense! As Justin's biological father, I demand that we be given custody!"

2. "There is no way you can take my little Justin from me!" yells @@RANDOMFEMALENAME@@, the surrogate mother, letting the baby dangle on the handcuff strapped around her wrist. "I am his biological mother! Men do not understand the bonding that mothers experience with their children at birth! That guy who claims paternity rights just because he gave me his sperm has no such bond with Justin. They can have the money back, but they can't have MY son!"

3. "As always, science will provide the solution to this dilemma," states John Piaget, a developmental psychologist from the University of @@CAPITAL@@. "Just bring these people to my lab. We'll put the baby in one corner of a room and the mothers in two different corners. Then we'll record the eye movements of the baby - whichever woman he looks at the longest, gets the parental rights to Justin. We could even use this method during bitter custody battles!"

4. "That's a terrible idea. Nobody should put baby in a corner!" grumbles @@RANDOMNAME@@, the director of @@CAPITAL@@ Minimum Security Orphanarium, cradling a baby in @@HIS@@ arms, while two other toddlers clutch at @@HIS@@ clothes. "Our institution is overflowing with poor orphans. Wouldn't it be better if you just provided financial incentives, perhaps paid for with a small tax increase, for infertile couples to adopt?" Taking advantage of your momentary absent-mindedness, @@HE@@ puts the baby on your lap. "Speaking of adoption, would you like to take care of this adorable little girl? I think she likes you."

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#786: Tainted Tattoos [Nuremgard; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
There has been a rise in infection rates across the country from unsterilized tattoo needles. Health advocates have called on the government to impose safety standards on tattoo parlors across @@NAME@@.

The Debate
1. “This can’t go on!” cries @@RANDOMNAME@@ of the @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ Health and Safety Board. “The government needs to regulate tattoo artists and ensure that minimal health and safety practices are being followed. Otherwise, we’ll have a full-blown crisis on our hands. Did you know that some tattoo artists don’t even sterilize their equipment? That’s risking all kinds of disease!”

2. “This is ridiculous!” exclaims tattoo artist @@RANDOMNAME@@ as @@HE@@ inks one of your staffers with a skull tattoo. “Why punish all of us because a minority don’t use clean needles? We need less state interference, not more. Word of mouth, not government regulation, will put the ones who infect their customers out of business. It’s common sense!”

*3. “It’s about time this country banned body modification altogether!” condemns controversial religious speaker @@RANDOMNAME@@. “Tattoos, piercings, and - ugh - fake nails, are all disgusting and offensive against the Creator. Holy books from all religions clearly indicate that this modification is a sin. Put some funding into religion and religious education instead to bring forward these lost souls so we can show them the true path of righteousness.” [Must lean towards being religious]

*4. “The only people who wear tattoos are criminals and gangbangers,” reminds police officer @@RANDOMNAME@@, who heads the Gang Warfare division of the @@CAPITAL@@ police force. “It’s about time we banned tattoos and other bodily modifications. They give people this idea that they’re ‘cool’, which leads them towards a path of crime. Banning them will reduce crime, and make it tougher for the gangs to identify each other. That makes my job easier.” [Must lean towards being secular]

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#787: Come Fly With Me [Thyerata; ed:Pogaria]

The Issue
A recent Air @@NATION@@ flight departing from @@CAPITAL@@ Airport was overbooked, resulting in the violent removal of a passenger. After legal scholars were unable to find any clear consensus about passenger rights within the nation’s existing laws, you have been dragged in to make a decision.

The Debate
1. “Now look here,” says @@RANDOMNAME@@, the injured passenger, speaking to reporters from @@HIS@@ hospital bed. “I paid top @@CURRENCY@@ for that seat, and yet those horrible police officers thought I should be dragged off the plane just because the airline hadn’t properly planned for the amount of people who would want to fly that day. It’s unfair. I say that if we pay for a ticket, we should be allowed to fly on the airplane. It’s that simple.”

2. “But we do plan!” sputters @@RANDOMNAME@@, Chief Operations Officer of Air @@NATION@@, as @@HE@@ strides into your office without an appointment and knocks your transportation advisor out of his seat. “Virtually every flight has cancellations and no-shows to balance out the overbooking. We just had an abnormal influx of passengers for that particular flight. Yes, we also needed to put a few of our own employees on the flight, but that’s completely irrelevant. I say that we should be allowed to throw passengers off the plane if we have to - and if they won’t go willingly, they should have to deal with the consequences.”

3. “Why do we even have airplanes in the first place?” asks elderly protestor @@RANDOMNAME@@, waving a “Just Plane Stupid” banner. “Airplanes are noisy, polluting monstrosities that are prone to frequent maintenance delays and flight cancellations. I say we should get rid of airplanes and invest in public transport... by which I mean domesticating the @@ANIMAL@@ and teaching people to ride them.”

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#788: Duel Purposes [Singapore no2; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
You are having an early morning discussion with your Finance Minister about Maxtopia’s recently enacted sheep tariffs when a sword-wielding maniac jumps into your field of view.

The Debate
*1. “Hello, my name is Count Mount Crystal,” monologues the saber-brandishing hooligan, who seems rather familiar for some reason. “I was given a life sentence for false charges of high treason. I lost my wealth, property, and custody of my children while in prison. However, I managed to escape, and I am here to settle a score. Prepare to die!” [Must have prisons]

*2. “Hello, my name is Count Mount Crystal,” monologues the saber-brandishing hooligan, who seems rather familiar for some reason. “I was exiled for false charges of high treason. I lost my wealth, property, and custody of my children after I was forced to leave @@NAME@@. However, I managed to return, and I am here to settle a score. Prepare to die!” [Must not have prisons]

3. “Excuse us, ‘Count’, but we were in the middle of a discussion of national importance!” fumes your Finance Minister, trying to shoo the miscreant away. “This just demonstrates the uncouth nature of conflicts being settled by two people waving big sticks at one another. We should ban dueling of any sort, have disputes once again settled via the legal process, return to our riveting discussion, and avoid entertaining this cretin.”

**4. “How undignified!” reprimands @@RANDOMNAME@@, an economic advisor, tut-tutting at the entire scene. “Why must we insist on solving disagreements through violence? Instead, how about a nice game of chess? Don’t ban dueling altogether, just make it take a more intellectual form.”

**5. TBD

6. Several security guards burst forcefully into your office, almost destroying your front door in the process, as the ‘Count’ ducks behind a pillar. “We are deeply sorry for our failure to protect you!” apologizes @@RANDOMNAME@@, Head of Security, grabbing your arm and hastily leading you out of the room. “Clearly, allowing dueling to solve political disputes will quickly deplete us of all our leaders and politicians, including you. You just have to ban people from challenging politicians to duels, and call it a day.”

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#789: @@CAPITAL@@gate: @@CAPITAL@@gate [Nation of Quebec; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
In a clandestine operation, your Propaganda Ministry and Intelligence Services have been wiretapping the offices of government critics and the headquarters of the opposition parties. The most prolifically targeted individual is recently elected representative Barry Maxman, a dashingly handsome author and political journalist, who is a determined enemy of your government. Unfortunately, Barry caught on, which gave him fresh ammunition for his latest magazine articles agitating against your leadership. He's dubbed this the @@CAPITAL@@gate scandal, and is holding it up as an example of your "many abuses of power." You have convened your advisors in an emergency meeting.

The Debate
1. "This is bad. How in the name of Violet did this happen under your watch?" asks Gordon MacGruber, your Chief of Staff, as he frantically points at an anti-government newspaper with the headline '@@LEADER@@ Must Go!'. "We must categorically remind the people that you were not involved and disavow anyone who has been named in the scandal. We need to cover up this mess as much as we can while we distract people so their minds are focused elsewhere. Stay strong, @@LEADER@@, we've got this covered."

2. "@@LEADER@@, I implore you! If you help me, I'll help you launch the perfect counter-attack!" exclaims Propaganda Ministry aide Virgil van Houten, who was named in the scandal. "Exonerate me and put me in charge of handling the investigation. With more wiretaps and more covert surveillance, we'll be able to find something scandalous on this guy and discredit his claims of corruption. With Maxman facing ad hominem tu quoque attacks, you'll emerge stronger than ever!"

3. "Instead of working against Mr. Maxman, why not work with him?" suggests Frankie Willis, your Minister of Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows. "Barry is pretty popular, and it wouldn't hurt you to borrow some of his credibility. We... no... YOU need to apologize to him, along with anyone else who was victimized, and work with him to improve your public image. I bet you'll find that you'll survive this scandal much better by playing nice as opposed to acting belligerent. Who knows, he might even have some good ideas on how to actually run this country!"

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#790: @@CAPITAL@@gate: The Art Of The Distraction [Nation of Quebec; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Story So Far
The @@CAPITAL@@gate scandal has gone viral, and you have decided to distance yourself from the people involved.

The Issue
The @@CAPITAL@@gate scandal continues to be front page news. Facing continued scrutiny and criticism, several of your closest Cabinet ministers and aides have suggested doing something to distract the people from @@CAPITAL@@gate.

The Debate
1. "The people are clearly angry because we haven't gone far enough!" exclaims Gordon MacGruber while continually squeezing a stress ball. "Dismiss anyone involved in the scandal from their posts, and don't stop there. Take a stand by prosecuting the corrupt career politicians and the lobbyists, and ensure that there's always a free press to ask tough questions. Once @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ see how none of this was your fault, they'll surely forgive you! Just make sure you appear sincere in your efforts."

2. "Nothing distracts the people more than a good dosage of fear from an even bigger enemy," reminds your Minister of Defense, while quickly leafing through a book entitled Political Corruption For Dummies. "You've read my reports of those pesky East Lebatuckese infiltrating Marche Noire, right? What if we started rumors about something similar happening here? We could claim that the East Lebatuckese have agents in @@NAME@@, and we could even come up with some sort of agency to track them down. People will be so scared they'll turn on each other and forget all about us!"

3. "I hate to say 'I told you so,' but I told you so!" rebuffs Propaganda Ministry aide Virgil van Houten, as he emerges from his hiding spot in your coat closet. "To be honest, the only one who truly understands @@NAME@@ is the person who has been running it. We need to start cracking down hard on the media, protesters, and that pesky Barry Maxman just like I said. It's obvious that he's engaged in un-@@DEMONYM@@ activities. You come up with some trumped-up charges and I'll plant the evidence."

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#791: @@CAPITAL@@gate: The Smoking Gun? [Nation of Quebec; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Story So Far
With the @@CAPITAL@@gate scandal heating up, you have authorized increased surveillance against government critic and opposition politician Barry Maxman, in an effort to find something scandalous to discredit him.

The Issue
Intensified snooping into Barry Maxman's personal life has revealed his preferred brand of cereal, what times he goes to the bathroom, how often he walks his poodle named Violet, how much he spends on post-it notes, and whether he wears boxers or briefs. What it hasn't revealed, however, is any salacious material or defamatory evidence, leaving you with the dilemma of how exactly to proceed with the campaign to discredit one of your most vocal critics.

The Debate
1. "Damn this guy is clean! Barry Maxman doesn't even have an overdue library book!" exclaims a rather frustrated Virgil van Houten, who now heads the Propaganda Ministry. "It's obvious what we need to do - make something up! If the people see a strong leader smacking down a pesky troublemaker like Barry Maxman, then surely they'll fall in line! Heck, we could even use this method to target more people we don't like!"

2. "I disagree! The smarter thing to do is consolidate your position," suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@, a young intern with a hint of ambition in @@HIS@@ eye. "Pass laws that give you more power, and fire anyone who makes you look bad, including those who were named in @@CAPITAL@@gate. Let no law or government initiative pass without your approval. After all, only YOU can be trusted to run @@NAME@@ effectively, perhaps with the assistance of some previously unknown young guns. The gullible fools will eat it right up."

3. "Hmm... if Maxman seems too much of a goody-goody to be true, he probably is," muses Director of State Security @@RANDOMNAME@@, waving a bug detector wand around your office. "He's almost certainly an East Lebatuckese infiltrator, out to destabilize our fine nation. The reason why there's no evidence is because East Lebatuckese spies are good at covering their tracks. What we need is to set up The Committee On Un@@DEMONYM@@ Activities to assess the loyalty of everyone in @@NAME@@, including journalists and politicians who are a little too critical or annoying."

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#792: @@CAPITAL@@gate: Why Can't We Be Friends? [Nation of Quebec; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Story So Far
In the wake of the @@CAPITAL@@gate scandal, you shocked @@NAME@@'s political establishment by deciding to work with Barry Maxman.

The Issue
Barry Maxman, despite being targeted by rogue officials in @@NAME@@'s government, has agreed to meet with you personally. After being escorted by his own private security, he has arrived at your office, ready to state his demands for reform.

The Debate
1. "Thank you for agreeing to meet with me," remarks Mr. Maxman, after handing you an autographed copy of his latest book, Johnny's Government. "Now let's get down to business. What I want, and I suspect many @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ agree, is ridding this government of corruption once and for all. Scumbag corporate lobbyists and dirty politicians infest your government - they must all be arrested! You also need to guarantee freedom of the press, and ensure that the government will never again spy on private citizens in any way, shape or form. Finally, you personally must apologize for letting things get this bad, and agree to full government transparency forevermore."

2. After Mr. Maxman leaves the room, you confer with a few close associates. "If you want to make sure scandals like this don't happen again, you need to consolidate power around yourself," suggests your brother, a personal admirer of Blackacre's Supreme Leader. "Pass a law that requires all laws, directives, and operations to go through you. You'll be seen as a strong leader who keeps an ever-watchful eye over the government. There's no need to give into Maxman's demands. If the Party backbenchers and opposition don't like it, they know where the door is."

3. One of your more sinister advisers approaches you and whispers in your ear. "We have Maxman in our grasp! We need to arrest him now before he goes off the radar. You can even spin it that you tricked the traitor into letting his guard down by inviting him to meet with you. Now that's a win-win solution! Well, not for Maxman, I suppose."

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#793: @@CAPITAL@@gate: Knock Knock. Who's There? Not You Anymore! [Nation of Quebec; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Story So Far
In a stunning move, you have fired scores of politicians, hundreds of staffers, and dozens of department heads who have had allegations of corruption against them in the wake of the @@CAPITAL@@gate scandal.

The Issue
The halls of government are silent. Not a creature is stirring, not even a lobbyist. It is becoming increasingly difficult to govern @@NAME@@, and the few politicians who remain have gathered to address these concerns.

The Debate
1. "My sources are telling me that it's being reverently called 'The Purge,'" declares your personal secretary, who is now doubling as your Finance Minister. "'I think that people have bought the way you handled the @@CAPITAL@@gate scandal and that you had nothing to do with it. This is the perfect time to call for a new election. That should ensure that you'll be elected in a landslide, and not to mention it'll help you find a replacement for me. I'm not cut out for all this financial mumbo jumbo."

2. "Now is not the time for a costly and divisive election," reminds your Minister of Keeping Things Real, one of the few cabinet ministers who still has @@HIS@@ job. "We should bring back some of the people we dismissed. Why not rehire the people who were let go for the most trivial of offenses? We can't run the country like this. We can still pass your reform bill, but right now we need more people, and a proper budget, to make @@NAME@@ run efficiently again."

3. "Have you ever considered that things are just fine the way they are?" suggests the North @@NAME@@ Libertarian Party Chairperson, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "You know, the government was so bloated you probably had no idea where one ministry began and where another ended. No wonder @@CAPITAL@@gate happened right under your nose. Fewer politicians and ministries suckling on the taxpayers' collective teat can only be a good thing. The best government is a small government, and it's much more efficient."

4. "Well you've cleaned house, but there's still one thing you haven't done," observes Barry Maxman, who is currently in the process of writing a tell-all book about his ordeal. "Even if you say you weren't directly involved in these corrupt activities, they still happened under your watch, and under your administration. I suggest that you take responsibility for once in your life, and throw yourself in prison. It's the morally right thing to do. Remind the people that nobody is above the law, not even you."

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#794: @@CAPITAL@@gate: Fear And Loathing In @@CAPITAL@@ [Nation of Quebec; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Story So Far
You decided to greenlight The Commission On Un-@@DEMONYM@@ Activities, an organisation with the purported goal of rooting out East Lebatuckese spies and agitators within @@NAME@@.

The Issue
There are many lingering questions about the Commission, and it is now looking to you for direction and strong leadership to set its path in the days ahead.

The Debate
1. "Now is the perfect time to strike against anyone who might oppose you!" giggles Virgil van Houten, throwing a knife at a poster of Barry Maxman. "The polls are in, and the people are behind you. We all agree that something needs to be done about the 'East Lebatuck problem.' Let's round up anyone who is on the government's 'Enemy List' and execute the lot of them for treason. Kill them all! Barry Maxman, we're COMING FOR YOU! HAHAHA!" He picks up your butter knife and makes several stabbing motions.

2. "Executing Maxman and his followers will only make us look guilty," reminds your rather shocked policy adviser. "If we start executing anyone who criticizes the government, there'd be nobody left. It would be easier to encourage citizens to snitch on each other, and gather all the rumors, accusations, and smears into a secret database. With that 'evidence,' we can subtly blackmail and bully anyone who opposes us into silence."

3. "I couldn't care less about this Committee On Un-@@DEMONYM@@ whatever," yawns your tired and lazy brother, who always looks for the easy way out. "There's always a simple solution to these problems. What if we release a list of suspected spies, and then announce that patriotic citizens won't be prosecuted for taking national security into their own hands? Say, with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, in a dark alley. That should take care of the Maxman problem before we visit mother next weekend..."

4. "There probably are REAL East Lebatuckese spies lurking in @@NAME@@, hidden deep undercover," replies secret agent James Bont, back from a successful mission that thwarted a cat-loving supervillain's plot for world domination. "I seriously doubt this Maxman is one of them. What you should be doing is investing in the spy agencies and police, so we have the proper funding and equipment to catch these guys. Background checks on all citizens would be a good place to start. Sure, it doesn't really solve the scandal, but the people's minds will be more focused on whether their neighbor is a spy, not some scandal that's yesterday's news."

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#795: @@CAPITAL@@gate: Lock Him Up! [Nation of Quebec; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Story So Far
Barry Maxman has been arrested on charges of terrorism and treason.

The Issue
Now that Barry Maxman is languishing in a prison cell, it's up to you to decide what to do with him. However, there are many in your government who have their own ideas...

The Debate
1. "Barry Maxman is a terrorist and a traitor to our glorious @@TYPE@@!" declares @@RANDOMNAMEMALE@@, your Interior Minister, wearing no shirt and a black hood over his head. "We will show @@NAME@@ and @@REGION@@ that we do not tolerate these ingrates in our nation. We must burn his books and execute him in @@CAPITAL@@ Square for all to see! That'll send a message to any of Maxman's sympathizers! I'll execute the bugger myself, if you'll just say the word."

2. "Killing Maxman is all well and good, but having him rot in prison would send a far more powerful message to anyone who has the audacity to challenge you," points out Virgil van Houten, who is arguably one of the most powerful people in @@NAME@@ right now. "The image of a broken-down Maxman in an orange jumpsuit would be a constant reminder to anyone else who might get some crazy ideas. There's nothing like fear to keep the people in check!"

3. "There is always room for compassion," advises your mother during her monthly visit. "Executing Mr. Maxman sends a terrible message and makes us no better than the tinpot dictatorships that we're supposed to be condemning. Pardon him and give a good speech about how compassionate you are. You gave him and other dissidents a good scare. He'll surely toe the government line now."

4. "If the people want a face-off with you and Maxman, let's give them one!" gleefully suggests Lucy Commodus, your assistant who happens to be an avid historical reenactor. "Why not a televised sword-fight to the death with you and Maxman at @@CAPITAL@@ Square? We'll dull his blade and slip some sedatives into his water to make sure you win. Not only will this take care of the Maxman problem, but you'll look like a badass at the same time."

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#796: @@CAPITAL@@gate: It's Dangerous To Go Alone! [Nation of Quebec; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Story So Far
To prevent another scandal from happening under your watch, you consolidated power around yourself, making sure nothing happens in the government without your knowledge.

The Issue
Your newfound authoritarian streak has your influence increasingly growing in @@NAME@@. You now have a unique opportunity to solidify your power base and take control of the nation. Your innermost circle has conferred to advise you on the best path to take...

The Debate
1. "It's dangerous to go alone. Take this!" enthuses your Chief of Staff, thrusting a pen into your hand. "Here's a new piece of legislation that will outlaw all elections in @@NAME@@ and keep you in power for the rest of your long and prosperous life. Everything would be so much easier without pesky things like debates, checks and balances, and voting getting in the way. This is for the prosperity and security of our great @@TYPE@@!"

2. "You're nuts! That's a sure way to get you assassinated," scoffs your chief strategist @@RANDOMNAME@@, known for infamously punching a journalist who asked too many questions. "The real problem in this country is the fake news media. After all, they're the ones who caused this fake scandal to get as big as it did. Let's dismantle it and set up our own state-controlled news. Imagine how much easier things will be when WE control the message!"

3. "As Mockiavelli said, it's best to rule by fear," loosely quotes Virgil van Houten, who many regard as the true power in @@NAME@@. "Eliminate the people's so-called right to privacy so we always know what they're saying and doing. We could even set up anonymous tip lines for people to report their family and neighbors for suspicious activity! We can identify problematic people, then swoop right in and take care of them before they get out of hand. This is for national security!"

4. "All of you are nuts!" exclaims opposition politician @@RANDOMNAME@@, as your bodyguards struggle to hold @@HIM@@ back at your doorway. "It's good that you're taking steps to improve the government's reputation after @@CAPITAL@@gate, but becoming an authoritarian despot is hardly the way to do it! If you want a true test of how the people feel about you, call a General Election, and prove you have a democratic mandate! That will win more hearts and minds than tyranny ever will."

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#797: @@CAPITAL@@gate: Yesterday's News [Nation of Quebec; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Story So Far
It has been some time since the @@CAPITAL@@gate scandal, and many are reflecting on what the scandal's place in @@DEMONYM@@ history should be.

The Issue
The @@CAPITAL@@ District Schoolboard has decided to update their @@DEMONYM@@ History course to include recent events, including the @@CAPITAL@@gate scandal. The scandal is still fresh in people's memory, and those who were involved in the scandal have their own ideas on how it should be taught in schools.

The Debate
1. "The lesson from history is absolute power corrupts absolutely, and government cannot be trusted," points out Barry Maxman, whose new novel chronicling @@CAPITAL@@gate recently topped the best seller list. "@@CAPITAL@@gate was about unchecked corruption, censorship, and your gross incompetence. We must remember @@CAPITAL@@gate, to make sure that no other person is intimidated the way I was. That should be its legacy."

2. "The lesson from history is dissidents must die, for the sake of the nation," points out your Interior Minister, wearing a t-shirt depicting Barry Maxman's grave and the caption 'We Got Him.' "@@CAPITAL@@gate was about a hack author and a traitor to this great country who was planning attacks against us. He made up the idea of this so-called scandal to try and turn the people against you. We must never allow people like Barry Maxman to have that kind of sway in @@NAME@@ again. Dissent will never be tolerated. That should be its legacy."

3. "The lesson from history is that traitors and terrorists are always hiding among us," exclaims Virgil van Houten, who is widely expected to replace you one day. "The Commission On Un-@@DEMONYM@@ Activities continues to hunt down the enemies within as we speak. It shows just how much the people are willing to sacrifice for the good of the nation. @@CAPITAL@@gate proved that when there's a threat to @@NAME@@, the people will always unite and rise up against it, even if that threat is a fellow citizen."

4. "The lesson from history is the free press safeguards democracy," reminds media baron @@RANDOMNAME@@, handing out free newspapers to everyone in the room. "If it weren't for the media, we might never have found out about the government's shady dealings. @@CAPITAL@@gate reminds us that the free press must be protected at all costs, otherwise a dictatorship just might be around the corner."

5. "The lesson from history is that only the government can be trusted to tell the truth," reminds @@RANDOMNAME@@, your new Propaganda Minister, after burning the last remaining non-state newspaper in @@NAME@@. "The so-called @@CAPITAL@@gate scandal was nothing more than a fabrication of the press. They created this fake scandal because of their personal vendetta against you. That is why we had to step in. Now the people know that they're getting the truth from our state media. After all, allowing all those opposing ideas would be absolute chaos."

6. "The lesson from history is that democracy is the best form of government, for all others have been tried," states your sister, who now works as a democracy advocate throughout @@REGION@@. "This was a healthy reminder that we need to be a nation that freely elects its leaders, and we won't allow some dictator to walk all over us. You chose the noble path, dear @@LEADER@@, and we'll continue to make sure that @@NAME@@ is respected throughout the land!"

7. "The lesson from history is that an iron fist will always achieve better results than so-called democracy," states your brother, who enjoys his new extravagant lifestyle. "This was a healthy reminder that @@NAME@@ needs a powerful leader to run it, regardless of what anyone says! You took the opportunity to seize power and crush the opposition. All praise our glorious Leader! Hail @@LEADER@@!"

8. "The real question is why is this being taught in schools at all?" queries an eager young intern, who literally worships the ground you walk on. "Yeah, @@CAPITAL@@gate isn't exactly a bright spot in @@NAME@@'s history, but you know some of these teachers will use it as propaganda against you. It's best if we all simply forgot about it, and ban any teachings or depictions of the scandal from here on out."

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#798: A Periodic Issue of Elementary Nature[Island of Stability; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
Your Science Minister has convinced you to go to a party being thrown by @@NAME@@'s leading scientists to celebrate the successful synthesises of a new element at @@CAPITAL@@ University. The element itself decays within microseconds, but that hasn't stopped the party from dragging on for hours. Your attention has finally been sparked as a massive debate over the name of the element has broken out. The situation threatens to become as unstable as the element itself, and people are looking to you for a solution.

The Debate
1. "I believe the answer to this issue is as simple as polynomial quadratic expressions to those possessing acceptable levels of neural tissue," yells @@RANDOMNAME@@, the leader of the research team responsible for the discovery, while attempting to disrupt the gaggle of boffins around @@HIM@@ by swinging @@HIS@@ phone wildly and playing lightsaber noises. "It should be named after me. I discovered it after all. That makes it the optimal method to utilise when naming newly created elements."

2. "I disagree with that hypothesis," begins @@RANDOMNAME@@, head of the Advanced Superheavy Synthesis and Electrochemistry Society in a calm monotone whilst sipping from a glass of dihydrogen monoxide. "The correct name for this element would be Unseptnineteenbillionium in accordance with the regulations of my organisation. Any other name would only inhibit clarity to chemists across the world." Whilst saying this, @@HE@@ unravels a periodic table and writes a five-letter symbol in the position of the new element.

3. "I have an even better idea," claims your cousin, using a megaphone to be heard over the sodium-level volatile debate now occurring at the party. "Why not name it after you? This element could make us well known as the scientific leaders of the world! Besides, who else is more worthy of such an honour? In fact, why not extend it a bit further and name every element after glorious leaders of our nation?"

4. "Woah, woah, woah!" gasps an increasingly incredulous undergrad, who happens to be passing by a window on the way to the library. "How the heck are we supposed to remember anything about it from names like that? We should name the elements after what they actually do! Like this new one can be called 'Lastslessthanamillisecondium'. That'll make it way easier for us all to make any sense of this stuff."

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#799: A Political Cock-Up [Iraines; ed:Caracasus]

The Issue
A low budget film allegedly showing junior government minister @@RANDOMNAME@@ in a compromising (though technically legal) position has gone viral on social media. Concerned individuals, especially parents, are loudly voicing their opinions on the matter.

The Debate
1. "Touching that and then shaking hands with you?" gasps local parent and averred shoplifter @@RANDOMNAME@@, while discreetly watching the infamous video on @@HIS@@ phone. "We can't have people like that on television addressing the public, or anywhere else in government for that matter! Besides, you deserve better than to have your good office be sullied by such an immoral individual!"

2. "Booting them out of their job won't do any good for our country. If anything, they'll just go down as a martyr to their fellow deviants!" rants affluential religious talk-show host @@RANDOMNAME@@. "I've subjected myself to constant, repeated study of the sinful actions of this filthy reprobate, and as far as I'm concerned the only way to teach degenerates like this a lesson is through proper punishment. A thrashing maybe, or a good old-fashioned stoning in the town square!"

3. "Don't you think this is taking things a bit far?" queries the minister in question, nervously. "It's a low-quality video and that could be anyone's... Okay, it was me. But I don't do it anymo— Okay, I still do it, but it's biology that made me this way! Can you blame biology? @@LEADER@@, you can't deny that I satisfy you with the job I do, so why should it matter how I spend my leisure time?"
Last edited by Jutsa on Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:21 pm, edited 18 times in total.
My national anthem~
(also the original)

Currently working on conlang, may rework solar system and geography.

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Jutsa
Minister
 
Posts: 3157
Founded: Dec 06, 2015
Left-Leaning College State

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#800: Please Call 1-800-NTA-VRUS, Your Government May Be Compromised [Luna Amore; ed:Caracasus]

The Issue
One of your interns unintentionally infected government computer networks after @@HE@@ called a 1-800 number on a popup and gave the scammer remote access to the computer. While IT tries to sort out the damage, your team is divided as to what to do about the situation.

The Debate
1. "It was a very convincing warning!" sobs the intern responsible who is feverishly resetting @@HIS@@ passwords to Passw0rD1. "I thought our national security was at stake! Why didn't our antivirus stop it? Why are we so vulnerable? Why am I the only one crying? We need to install better protection like the Fortons, Maxphos or McCafes. Better yet, all three!"

[2]. "I've been lobbying your administration about this for years," chastises Pear Inc CEO, Steve Tasks, dramatically sliding an ultra-thin tablet computer from a manila envelope onto your desk. "Your systems need a complete overhaul. Unlike those clunky UBM dinosaurs, Pear products never get a virus, with end-to-end protection provided by my company. Just gaze in awe at the Pearbook Vapor. See how sleek it is... And it’s so light and thin, you could take it anywhere. I hear Manamana's beaches are wonderful this time of year." [Must have private industry]

[3]. "Government computers are not for looking up @@ANIMAL@@ memes," chastises Stafford Brewer, head of Distribution Cybernetics. "They're for allocating collective resources as efficiently as possible, scheduling party meetings and keeping tabs on counter-revolutionary behaviour! Rip out these decadent capitalist contraptions and install government networked terminals in every distribution hub across the country. We'll be more efficient, and safer, than ever." [Must not have private industry]

4. "What codswallop!" exclaims your head of IT, @@RANDOMNAME@@, yanking an unencrypted USB drive from your computer. "Why go wasting millions of @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ on a band-aid fix? Shiny new computers don't help if the problem is the idiot behind the keyboard. We need to lock down these machines. Every Sam, Dick and Martha intern should not have administrator rights on these machines. Lock them down."

5. "This scammer business has gone on long enough," growls military intelligence officer Colonel Flagg while sizing up everyone in the room. "They hide outside our borders in East Lebatuck taunting us with this bull hockey. Enough is enough! Give us the authorization and we'll smoke these bastards out at the source."

6. "Hello I am from UBM Technical support" chirrups a tinny voice as you answer your phone. "We have noticed that your system has multiple viruses on it and we are here to help. If you could just log in please and visit our website where you'll be prompted to enter your bank account number, passwords, mother's maiden name and pin numbers we will repair your systems for you."

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#801: Animation Provocation [Montagna; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
When media boss Ian Tivruski green-lighted a new Brancalandian animated series for the @@DEMONYM@@ Kids Network, he thought he was commissioning a delightful children's show about metal-working amazons who knit cozy jumpers for their grandkids. As it turns out, the surprisingly explicit animation Sword Heroins: Love Needle has caused a lot of confusion amongst young viewers, and upset many parents.

The Debate
1. "Innocent children's minds need to be protected from such corruption," declares noted moral guardian Maria Polytunnel. "To achieve this, we should set up a Children's Regulatory Animation Panel, with me as its fully-paid leader, of course. We can then deem what is and what is not suitable for broadcast."

2. "Should we blame these images on TV? No! Blame Brancaland!" declares angry mother Sheila Brelufski. "We should send tanks, and planes, and soldiers to the Branclandian borders, threatening war unless they stop making this filth!"

3. "I don't get why people are complaining, to be honest," dissembles Tivruski defensively. "Clearly, we added 'Sword Heroins' to our line-up to educate children about the dangers of peer pressure, drug abuse, and challenging everyone you vaguely dislike to a duel. Let us broadcast what we like when we like, even if it does challenge the tastes of some of our more easily offended viewers. Stand up for free speech, and endorse our decision, @@LEADER@@."

4. "I think we're ignoring a broader issue here," bemoans frustrated animator Parker Stonetrey, "which is that animated art forms are never taken seriously enough to be considered anything more than kiddie fare. I say that we develop @@NAME@@'s artistic vision and creativity by subsidising adult animation. When people think @@NAME@@, they should think Hentai!"

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#802: No Lock, No Gun Stock, And No Smoking Barrels [Jutsa; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
Last night, a colonel checking the inventory at Fort @@ANIMAL@@, @@NAME@@'s largest military armory, found only a broken musket and a giant hole in the wall that @@HE@@ was pretty sure wasn't there earlier. There is a strong suspicion that this heist is linked to certain groups that have been raising a stink over @@NAME@@'s gun ban.

The Debate
1. Commandant @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, the head of the breached facility, shows you a large schematic of a dense mass of mostly incomprehensible sketches, including a drawing of what appears to be a giant killer robot. "What we really need is to have more funding for security. We simply can not allow our weapons to be stolen, let alone potentially sold to the rebellious public. We need better security. In fact, our security facilities need their own security facilities. Sure, it'll be expensive, but it'll be worth it."

2. Your Minister of Law and Order draws a large, red X across the schematic. "This kind of thing doesn't exactly happen in a vacuum. We should focus on discouraging others by capturing the crooks who broke into our base in the first place. In fact, if we really want to get to the root of the problem, we should boost our national law enforcement to investigate and arrest anyone who is promoting the idea of guns being returned to our citizens."

3. "This wouldn't be a problem if guns were given back to the public," comments the somewhat sheepish looking colonel, while wadding the schematic into a ball and tossing it aside. "If our populace were armed, then they'd have less incentive to steal our weapons, except for the really cool ones I suppose. Plus, they'd have an easier time defending themselves in an attack."

4. "You've got it all backward!" interjects @@RANDOMNAME@@, a @@MAN@@ in fencing gear, who appears to have wandered in on the conversation. "These things were banned from the public for a reason - they are dangerous! We need to extend the present ban to the military - if they have a real problem, they can just use swords. Observe!" @@HE@@ skewers the crumpled schematic with @@HIS@@ rapier.

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#803: Park That Thought [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
It is widely recognised that @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ are significantly smarter than the world average. There have been calls for the government to make use of this national resource.

The Debate
1. "Science! Progress! A Better Tomorrow!" sprays frazzle-haired twenty-something geek @@RANDOMNAME@@, mouth half full of cold pizza. "We're living in a changing economy, and the future lies in fuzzy logic and quantum computing. I'm not talking about a discrete quantity of computing... aha... ha... ah... Hmm, tough crowd. Anyway, the government should fund a Science Park to push forward the boundaries of technological thinking, and to shake up the status quo. It's an investment in the industries of the future!"

2. "Clever is as clever does," declares frazzle-haired thirty-something PhD student @@RANDOMNAME@@ smugly. "Governments and world leaders, you always want to monetise things, when actually intelligence and learning are their own reward. Instead, you should fund a Symposium Park, where ideas can be exchanged, poems can be written and minds can grow. No, there's no money in it. It's not all about money, you know."

3. "Clever? There is no clever..." intones frazzle-haired forty-something philosopher @@RANDOMNAME@@. "We are thinking too much about thinking and not enough about mindfulness. Give us some land to build a Meditation Park. Discourage this mad world-questioning and worship of intellect. Embrace introspection and spirituality, and grow our souls."

4. "So we're an oh-so-clever nation, and now you want to build a national park celebrating that?" moans frazzle-haired fifty-something cattle breeder @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Give me a break! Help me out with setting up a Ranch Park where we can raise good quality cattle. IQ doesn't fill bellies. Beef fills bellies."

5. "So we're an oh-so-clever nation, and now you want to build a national park celebrating that?" moans frazzle-haired fifty-something farmer @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Give me a break! Help me out with setting up a Soya Park where we can intensively farm that most versatile bean. IQ doesn't fill bellies. Soy cheese fills bellies."

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#804: Motivational Posters [Omakhandia; ed:Gnejs]

The Issue
A @@MAN@@ was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter yesterday. Over an extended period, @@HE@@ encouraged @@HIS@@ online acquaintance - who suffered from depression - to end his own life, which he subsequently did.

The Debate
1. "If this @@MAN@@ can be put on trial for @@HIS@@ words alone, what's next?" queries one of your younger advisors, texting you from a seminar on meme ethics. "We shouldn't be in the business of policing what people can and can't say. Yes, @@HE@@'s a terrible, terrible person; I mean, who does that, seriously? But this is much bigger than @@HIM@@. I urge you to pardon this @@MAN@@ immediately, and promote true freedom of speech and expression."

2. "We can't have people pushing others to suicide and getting away with it," calmly states your former Minister of Homeland Insecurities, who has taken up a career as an anti-cyberbullying activist. "Is it not our responsibility - as a society - to protect impressionable and vulnerable people? Now, if you ask me, this @@MAN@@ is not some sadistic monster, but @@HE@@, and others like @@HIM@@, need to learn that actions have consequences. Let @@HIM@@ face @@HIS@@ punishment, and divert some funding to provide for a national awareness program teaching people that their words actually carry weight."

3. "Obviously, both of these people were severely disturbed, and we all know what got them there," asserts your chronically under-stimulated Minister for Medieval Fairs, clad in motley, as is @@HIS@@ custom. "If anything, this is a wake-up call. @@NAME@@ needs to get rid of the internet altogether. Newfangled communications methods, with their instantaneity, clearly desensitize people and can make a troll out of the best of us. Not the 6 hit dice regenerating kind, mind you, the other sort. With the internet gone, people will have the time to truly reflect on their words, and nothing like this will ever happen again. Truly, it's a small price to pay for the well-being of our nation."

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#805: Solving A Dissolving Dilemma [TBA; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
Following several months of political squabbling, there is concern that the incumbent legislature in @@NAME@@ is no longer able to function efficiently. As a result, some have been questioning if voters should be allowed to dissolve the parliament and call for a new election.

The Debate
1. "This government is ridiculously ineffective!" exclaims Leader of the Opposition @@RANDOMNAME@@, who appears to have snuck into your office while you were out for lunch. "It's a well-documented fact that not even members of the majority party are satisfied with the current parliamentary leadership. Citizens should be able to initiate a referendum to dissolve the legislature! Let the people decide what the future of @@NAME@@ will be."

2. "This is obviously an absurd notion," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, the current Minister of the Interior. "@@NAME@@ has had a regular election schedule for ages, without any major catastrophes since that incident with Mr. Scruffy. There's no need to muck it up by constantly dissolving parliament. The voters elected us for a full term of office; to serve anything less than that is anti-democratic."

3. "If you ask me, the power to dissolve the legislature should only be wielded by our glorious leader," asserts infamous sycophant @@RANDOMNAME@@, the author of 1001 Paeans to @@LEADER@@. "In the capable hands of such an august personage, this awesome power can be used as a safeguard against those elected crooks in our parliament. I'm confidant our supreme protector wouldn't dare abuse it." @@HE@@ continues to stare at you in adulation as security escorts @@HIM@@ out of your office.

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#806: Unlicensed To Kill [Ransium; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
The @@DEMONYM@@ Medical Association has declared that participating in a lethal injection is a violation of medical ethics and grounds for revocation of license to practice. Following this development, a recent execution had to be postponed when all medical personal with the appropriate credentials to administer the execution refused to participate.

The Debate
1. "Acck! Vat a bunch of babies!" exclaims Dr. @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, your Minister of Mad Science, wearing @@HIS@@ trademark blood-splattered lab coat. "Zey can't even put murdering maniacs to death? Sure, my doctorate might be in zeoretical physics, but I've been performing quite a few dissections of late; I'm sure I could figure out how to administer a simple IV drip."

2. "I have an easier solution," utters @@RANDOMNAME@@, @@CAPITAL@@'s no-nonsense Chief of Police. "Make it the law that doctors have to participate in whatever medical procedures the government asks for. If those hippies want to continue to make their silly protests, you could make make sure they are 'Punished' with a capital 'P', if you catch my drift. Poetic justice, eh?"

3. "When are you going to accept that there is no good way to kill people?" yells Dr. @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, head of the @@DEMONYM@@ Medical Association. "That doctors refuse to participate in the act should tell you something of the act's value. Stop fooling yourself into thinking you're 'executing people humanely', and join the rest of the civilized world in outlawing the barbaric practice of capital punishment once and for all."

4. "Why don't we give ownership of the punishment back to the wronged parties?" asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, a stressed-looking accountant working the Justice Department's quarterly budget. "As in, get victims or the families of victims to administer the punishment. Just give them some syringes and needles, tell them which common domestic products are poisonous, and let them work it out for themselves. I mean, I expect they'll kill the convict eventually, and it'll be a really cheap fix."

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#807: Have War Crimes, Will Travel [Annihilators of Chan Island; ed: Caracasus]

The Issue
A small disputed strip of land in your sphere of influence has been in a state of civil war for decades. @@NAME@@ has been approached by the international community to hold the first round of peace talks. Unfortunately Colonel Idi Amore, the self-styled revolutionary in charge of the Popular Freedom Fighters with multiple warrants for war crimes against him, will have to be issued a safe conduct pass to attend the talks without fear of arrest.

The Debate
1. "The Popular Freedom Fighters are a disgusting group!" yells @@RANDOMNAME@@, a grief-stricken refugee."They killed my father, razed our village, and ruined my stamp collection! I say you invite their jerk of a leader into @@NAME@@, then you have your police arrest the monster! It's the only way justice can be served."

2. "You can't seriously be considering this!" exclaims overworked diplomat @@RANDOMNAME@@. "We've been working for years to bring peace to this region. He may have blood on his hands, but so do the other sixteen sides in this war. A sudden power vacuum will just prolong the hostilities! We have a real chance of securing a lasting peace here, surely that's worth overlooking a couple of mass murders?"

3. "This really is a bind," muses your trusted advisor @@RANDOMNAME@@. "If we arrest him on our soil, we will forever be known as people who breach our safe conduct passes. If we let him go, we will let a wanted war criminal slip through our fingers. The solution is plain: refuse to hold the talks. I'm sure they can figure it out without us looking over their shoulder."

4. "We want this warlord gone, but don't want to look bad because of it," whispers Agent Cobblepot from behind an oversized potted plant. "Give this individual safe conduct, let him do his thing and if some kind of terrible accident were to befall our dear friend... how could you possibly have known that ceiling beam was going to fall on his head?"

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#808: Big Trouble In Little Dàguó [Laeral; ed:Pogaria]

The Issue
The large, militaristic nation of Dàguó is currently in a dispute with the breakaway province of New Dàguó. As nations around the world begin to take sides, opposing ambassadors have arrived in your office to seek your support.

The Debate
1. "This 'New Dàguó' is nothing but a treasonous cartel of hoodlums and degenerates," scowls @@RANDOMNAME@@, the ambassador from the Empire of Dàguó. "We are one of your most important trading partners, especially for your @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ industry. We demand affirmation as the one true and legitimate government of Dàguó. Don't believe the lies those criminals tell you - our Holy Emperor, long may he live, provides true prosperity and success to all of his citizens. Besides, we might just have to take military action against those who support the so-called New Dàguó - and you want to be on the correct side in this coming war, don't you?"

2. "We deserve recognition!" asserts @@RANDOMNAME@@, the self-proclaimed ambassador from New Dàguó. "We are a democratic nation that holds free elections in our territory. Dàguó's tyrannical regime was oppressing us, so we declared a revolution! Sure, they outnumber us ten to one, but if you send us weapons and support, we'll become fully independent in no time! We'll even pay you back after we figure out how to import enough food without Dàguó's price controls."

3. Your Minister of Foreign Affairs, @@RANDOMNAME@@, comes up to you and whispers in your ear. "Look, @@LEADER@@, we can't afford to lose our trade with Dàguó - our @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ industry would collapse! But we also shouldn't turn a blind eye to Dàguó's flagrant human rights abuses. How about we send a vaguely-worded statement saying that we support a peaceful solution to the conflict, and then just say that we supported the winning side all along? It's a no-risk solution."

4. Later, your seldom-seen Minister of Whispers appears behind you in what you thought was a deserted corridor. "We have an exceptional opportunity here, Your Excellency. It would be easy to discreetly sell weapons to both sides while remaining officially neutral. Our enemies in Dàguó will become increasingly unstable, while we profit from the situation. Some may call these actions unethical - but @@NAME@@ didn't start this conflict. We're just acting in the best interests of the realm, of course."

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#809: So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish [Szczuropolis; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
Mounting scientific research shows the fishery stocks across territorial waters are plummeting, with the possibility of whole fisheries collapsing in the near future.

The Debate
1. "There is only one reasonable thing to do," proclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Fish. "We must immediately introduce limited fishing quotas, add restrictions on catch size, and punish any violators harshly! There simply aren't enough fish to go around. I'm afraid the fishing industry will just have to take one for the school."

2. "There is only one reasonable thing to do," proclaims your Minister of Agriculture and Aquaculture, looking up from a paper splattered with red ink. "We simply can't allow ourselves to sink more funds into an industry that's about to go belly up anyway. Gut the fishing fleet, so that their capacity only matches sustainable fish harvesting levels. You can shift the funds to retrain the crews for other jobs to ensure no one's livelihood is threatened. The boats can carry tourists and vacationers instead."

3. "Hold on there, matey!" exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, head of the Trawler and Angler Trade Union of @@NAME@@. "Surely there are plenty of fish in the sea, at least in the remote, international waters of @@REGION@@? The government must subsidize a massive fleet of full sea trawlers. Do that and we'll have those fine-finned delicacies back on your table in no time!"

4. "Hold on there, matey!" exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, head of the Trawler and Angler Trade Committee. "Surely there are plenty of fish in the sea, at least in the remote, international waters of @@REGION@@? Let us invest in a massive fleet of full sea trawlers and we'll have those fine-finned delicacies back on your table in no time!"

5. "There is inadequate data to know with such certainty fisheries are in danger of collapse," suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@, contrarian professor in the Department of Marine Studies and Fin Cuisine at University of @@CAPITAL@@ while reaching for a slice of lemon. "Maybe it's been a rough few years for our gilled friends for reasons other than the millions of fish we catch a year. The only thing to do is collect more data. Keep things as they are and continue to monitor fish intake. If fish catches continue to decrease over the next two to three hundred years, then we can be sure we have a problem."

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#810: Armed and Unready [Annihilators of Chan Island; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A small countryside skirmish against a score of bandit militiamen ended in a complete catastrophe, despite the deployment of two dozen @@DEMONYM@@ battle tanks and one hundred and fifty infantrymen. The @@DEMONYM@@ conscripts proved to be no match for their well-trained and motivated enemies. Unsurprisingly, the perceived quality of the nation's soldiers has come under heavy fire.

The Debate
1. "Hang on, which end is it that we point at the bad guys?" asks clueless Private @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@, haplessly staring down the barrel of an assault rifle in genuine confusion. "I give up! Look here, @@LEADER@@, I'm just not cut out to be a soldier, neither is anyone else in my unit. You have millions of men who couldn't hit the side of a barn with a battle tank main gun, even if the tank was parked in the barn! Couldn't you let us prove our pride in our glorious nation by doing some good instead, like tending to the elderly, cleaning up the streets or peeling potatoes?"

2. "Our military isn't what it was in the good old days," comments retired Drill Sergeant @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@. "You should revisit basic drill and training. Concentrate on the fundamentals, like disciplined formation marching to the beat of a drum, standing up straight, keeping your uniform shiny, and having abuse shouted in your left ear."

[3]. "As always, technology has the answer!" announces computer programmer @@RANDOMNAME@@, pausing halfway through level 242 of Call of Honor to talk to you. "With the latest targeting computers in our military equipment, even a child couldn't miss! An interlaced augmented reality overlay and combat AI could tell soldiers in real time squad and enemy locations, ranges, wind speed, optimal weapon selection, tactical movements, inspirational morale boosting messages.... It's modern warfare!" [Must have computers]

4. "I think your approach is already correct," wheedles @@RANDOMNAME@@, your sycophantic aide-de-camp. "In fact, the only issue we have is that we don't conscript enough soldiers! With greater numbers, victory would be assured. For starters, I'm sure the elderly and the disabled would be proud to serve our great nation."

5. "Or you could go back to having a volunteer army," mutters @@RANDOMNAMEMALE@@, hand-cuffed deserter and sole survivor of the recent massacre. "Look, I didn't want to be a soldier anyway. I wanted to be... a lumberjack! Leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of... of... Anyway, ditch the draft."

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#811: Get Baked [White Girls Metropolis; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
While strolling through the annual bake sale at your niece's school, you couldn't help but overhear a heated argument between two of the mothers at a nearby snickerdoodle-and-cupcake display.

The Debate
1. "@@RANDOMFIRSTNAMEFEMALE@@, I don't care how much kale you put into those cupcakes; we just shouldn't be feeding this much sugar to children," lectures one gaunt-looking mother, waving a carrot in exasperation. She catches a glimpse of you out of the corner of her eye and turns to you. "@@LEADER@@! You must regulate all junk food going to our children at school! If we need a fundraiser, we can sell fruits and vegetables instead of this high-calorie, low energy bull-"

2. "Oh my, @@RANDOMFIRSTNAMEFEMALE@@, you must watch your mouth! There are children in here!" complains her dumpling-shaped counterpart, hip-bumping her way to a centre-stage position in the conversation and sending the previous speaker flying into a tower of rice cereal treats. "You can't get rid of this sugary goodness! These kids love it. If anything, we need MORE sugar, and some help for businesses that provide the sweet treats that bring so much happiness. Who cares if people are gaining weight? That's just evolution."

[3]. "Evolution? That's what this is about?" interjects @@RANDOMFIRSTNAMEFEMALE@@, local Violetist and busybody, showing up from behind a display of savoury doughnuts in the shape of a Violetist religious symbol. "The Holy Purple Passages state that 'Sweetness Is Not Virtue, and You Shall Not Consume the Fruit of the Cane.' Maybe that's not exactly correct, but you get my point! Ban desserts entirely!" [Violetism is legal]

4. "AAAAAAAAAAARGH!" screams your niece, causing everyone to suddenly turn to her. "Thank you! Who cares what kids eat? It should be our choice alone if we want to eat cookies and candy all the time, not yours! Give children the choice to put whatever food we want in our bodies, it's the only way!"

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#812: The Old Boys' Club [Nation of Quebec; ed:The Free Joy State]

The Issue
A recent survey of @@NAME@@'s politicians has revealed that a majority of them identify as "old @@DEMONYM@@ men of @@FAITH@@". The same study revealed a significant lack of female politicians, especially in your Cabinet. Angry social activists have demanded that you take immediate executive action or face the consequences next election.

The Debate
1. "Whatever happened to making sure the best person gets the job?" queries your old school friend and high-ranking Party MP, @@RANDOMNAMEMALE@@, who always surrounds himself with buxom blondes during Question Period. "It ain't broke, so don't fix it! If these womenfolk want to get elected, then more qualified candidates should step forward. Hell, if they weren't always whining about gender equality and the so-called glass ceiling, people might take them more seriously."

2. "I've always said that Parliament needs a woman's touch," notes @@RANDOMNAMEFEMALE@@, a small-town mayor who wrote of her national ambitions in a book entitled You Shouldn't Need A Member To Be A Member. "As I've mentioned countless times before, @@NAME@@ must rid itself of its old boys' club. Introduce quotas that mandate 50% of all political and Cabinet positions be reserved for women. This will ensure that all voices are heard, not just the privileged few."

3. "Perhaps the reason why more women aren't entering politics is because they have a naturally lower tolerance for corruption," twitters pop psychologist @@RANDOMNAMEMALE@@, whose doctorate is in floristry. "If the government began cracking down on the rampant ministerial corruption, you'd start seeing more diversity emerge organically. There'd also be gradual attrition of the behind-the-timers, and when they want to leave...well, they know where the door is. That has to be better than forcing it."

4. "Silence!" bellows black-latex clad dominatrix @@RANDOMNAMEFEMALE@@, as she flicks at the previous speaker's calf with her whip. "These pathetic little steps are a start, but don't go nearly far enough! It's high time these mansplaining politicians in their ivory towers faced the same kind of discrimination that we face on a daily basis. If lessons are to be learned we must be severe: restrict the number of male politicians harshly. Ensure these puny males afford proper respect to their female superiors. And no more talking over women, shouting about things about which they know nothing. Such errors will be corrected most assiduously."

5. "Hold on! What about an option that doesn't discriminate?" asks your cleaner @@RANDOMNAME@@, sitting on your desk with surprising ease for a @@MAN@@ of @@HIS@@ advanced age. "Need I remind you all that sortition doesn't discriminate? Male and female, young and old, @@DEMONYM@@ or immigrant, it doesn't care. Everyone will get their, albeit short, time to serve. Granted, all MP selections will be completely random, but at least then nobody can complain that there's deliberate discrimination!"

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#813: A Little Birdie Told Me [Frieden-und Freudenland; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
The Supreme Leader of Blackacre, Valeria Drake, threatened to "make it rain fire and fury all over @@NAME@@" via her Twitcher account. A horde of security experts have surrounded you to discuss the precautions that must be taken.

The Debate
1. "We cannot underestimate the danger!" asserts your Minister of Defense, carefully putting @@HIS@@ Castles & Cockatrices figurines on your desk with a rather creepy smile. "A threat is a threat, be it declared via a twitch or at a fancy press conference with all the bells and whistles. We must respond accordingly, by preemptively positioning battleships within bombardment range of their major cities. If they don't back down, we'll wipe them off the map! That'll teach them what a rain of fire looks like." @@HE@@ chuckles as @@HE@@ knocks over a miniature effigy of Supreme Leader Drake with a wyvern.

2. "Aren't we taking this woman's Twitcher rants a bit too seriously?" questions your Ambassador to Blackacre, without showing any effort to disguise @@HIS@@ boredom. "I mean, this gal basically twitches all the time about xenophobic conspiracy theories or rants about dissidents. You should not reinforce this nonsense by giving her the attention she craves. Ignore her, and hopefully she'll learn to govern her country like an adult."

3. "If you let her get away with this insult, our people will start to question your competence as a leader!" clamours @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Public Relations Adviser, as @@HE@@ scrolls down on @@HIS@@ phone to read Drake's vitriolic twitches. "What we should do is to set up an official Twitcher account for you. This way you can counter Drake's attacks with her own weapon. An eye for an eye. You can also use this account to polish up your public image, of course. Your ministers could get in on this too."

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#814: A Topic Of Ethical Import [Ransium; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
A recent story in the @@CAPITAL@@ Herald showed that massive @@DEMONYM@@ demand for Maxtopian jumbo shrimp is driving environmentally damaging practices in Maxtopia, including the rapid clearing of mangrove forests for huge jumbo shrimp farms. In response, @@NAME@@'s biggest green lobbying group has launched a campaign demanding that the @@DEMONYM@@ government block unsustainable imports exemplified by the oversized Maxtopian seafood.

The Debate
1. "This is an outrage!" exclaims environmentalist @@RANDOMNAME@@, while hastily wiping something that looks suspiciously like cocktail sauce from @@HIS@@ mouth. "We'd never tolerate this sort of environmental degradation here; why would we enable it in other countries through trade? We must ban these delectable - er, detestable shrimp imports from Maxtopia, and make sure we are properly assessing the environmental impact of all goods imported into @@NAME@@."

2. "@@DEMONYNPLURAL@@ wouldn't have to import these things if more was produced at home," states @@NAME@@'s only organic jumbo shrimp farmer, @@RANDOMNAME@@, holding what appears to be a scrawny-looking crayfish. "Cut a few environmental regulations here, throw a few @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ at businesses such as mine, and I could grow my little jumbo shrimp farm enormously while lowering the prices for consumers. It'll still be greener than those barbarians in Maxtopia and you'll be putting @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ back to work!"

3. "Why should we care what's happening all the way in Maxtopia?" asks one of your aides, @@RANDOMNAME@@, while sunning @@HIM@@self on your office's balcony and eating a shrimp platter. "We can't solve all the world's problems, so let's focus on what matters: keeping @@NAME@@ beautiful. If anything, we should be outsourcing more of @@NAME@@'s most polluting industries." @@HE@@ then turns up @@HIS@@ boombox and gestures at the shrimp. "Want one?"

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#815: Embargoed In [Caracasus; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A coalition of economically powerful nations have made headlines by installing an embargo against @@NAME@@, citing the nation's weapons of mass destruction program as "alarmingly large and detrimental to world peace." It is predicted that serious damage to the economy may be imminent, with particular emphasis laid on the loss of trade in agricultural produce between @@NAME@@ and these countries.

The Debate
1. "This is an outrage!" yells @@RANDOMNAME@@, CEO of Megafruit Imports, kicking over a crate of unexported and slightly rotten-looking @@DEMONYM@@ kumquats in rage. "So what if @@NAME@@ might have stepped on a few toes here and there? All we're guilty of is being a strong and proud nation. Send the navy in to blockade their ports, and they'll soon come crawling back."

2. "Typical," sneers Commissariat Chief @@RANDOMNAME@@, kicking over a crate of unexported and slightly rotten-looking @@DEMONYM@@ kumquats in rage. "These profiteering swine will do anything to undermine our glorious nation, but they are nothing more than paper tigers. I say we place agents and supply arms to instigate socialist revolution in these nations. Once the people there seize power from their oppressive masters, we'll soon see those imports come flooding back."

3. "Are we really going to risk starting war over this?" quails @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Minister of Dairies, shaking in fear behind his pineapple milkshake. "Even if we win, the problem isn't just that these nations are not trading with us, it's that our agricultural economy isn't self-sufficient. With some significant investments from the government and a ban on all imports, I'm sure we can achieve food security and a state of absolute economic independence from foreign trade."

4. "Plenty more fish in the sea," shrugs your Minister for Trade, looking remarkably calm about the entire situation. "There's plenty of smuggl... er, enterprising traders in these nations perfectly willing to facilitate trade between ourselves and the nations in this so-called 'Coalition'. Sure, it's a bit on the dodgy side legally speaking, but I'm sure we'll muddle through somehow!"

5. "Maybe we should listen to this coalition's entirely reasonable demands, and scale back our weapons programs," muses your Foreign Minister, munching on a Maxtopian mango. "It's not like we really need that many smallpox-infused nuclear warheads, is it? Then, legume trade can proceed."

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#816: A Hot Topic [The Atlae Isles; ed:Ransium]

The Issue
After @@NAME@@'s Forestry Department started its controversial program of controlled fire - intentionally setting parts of forests aflame to remove fuel for larger wildfires - a fire started by the Forestry Department got a bit hotter than expected and sparked an evacuation of Northwest @@CAPITAL@@.

The Debate
1. "I just don't see why this is being debated with such intensity," yawns @@RANDOMNAME@@, an official in the Forestry Department, while casually flipping open a lighter. "Controlled burns are a proven way to reduce the severity and expense of wildfires. Fire is an element of many forests in @@NAME@@; we're just making sure it doesn't get out of hand. I admit we didn't do so hot with that last fire, but we'll get better, I promise."

2. "You can't keep doing this!" coughs @@RANDOMNAME@@, asthmatic alderman representing Northwest @@CAPITAL@@, while eyeing an unlit candle on your desk nervously. "The smoke from these 'controlled fires' is putting out tons of air pollution and inflaming my lungs. Besides, those bumbling amateurs in red almost 'control burnt' half my district down! Stop this program and focus on fighting fires."

*3. "Do I have a deal for you?" exclaims Big Ed Sharp, owner of Big Ed Sharp's Chainsaw Emporium. "You have a bunch of brush and small trees that are fuel for a wildfire. I have chainsaws galore available at low, low prices. Just hire a bunch more forest rangers to go out there with chainsaws. It'll be expensive and not as 'natural', whatever that means, but the mature trees in the forests will thrive and wildfires will be much less severe, without that nasty smoke!" [Must have private industry]

*4. “You know what’s better than that? A compromise!” exclaims your Minister of Making Work Sigourney @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@. “There are so many @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ who are struggling to find the best way to contribute to the glory of @@NAME@@. All you need to do is send them out to the woods and have them remove those small trees and brush by hand. It’ll be expensive and not as natural, sure, but there will be no more smoke, the mature trees in the forests will thrive, and there will be a great new patriotic project for the workers to participate in.” [Must not have private industry]

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#817: Back-Alley Blues [The Free Joy State; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Following her admittance one week ago, @@RANDOMFIRSTNAMEFEMALE@@ McCormack was arrested at @@ANIMAL@@ General Hospital this morning, charged with attempting to procure her own abortion. Crowds have been clamouring for her immediate release and others – including the would-be father, calling from the cell her testimony put him in – are demanding she be punished with maximum vigour.

The Debate
1. "How could she do this?" sighs Lila Tann, who runs both the Pregnancy Advisory Service and the Bouncing Bambinos Adoption Agency. "Of course, Miss McCormack had a trauma, but why compound that with another? Baby-murder kills the child's body, but it shatters the woman's mind. She can never get over it. Besides, there's always adoption: the safe and pain-free way to give innocent children a chance. You must maintain the abortion ban, in all cases, and support our extensive pro-adoption campaign. It's just forty weeks of their lives. What could possibly go wrong?"

2. "I can certainly see why Miss McCormack would feel like drastic measures were her only option," notes self-professed moderate pro-life advocate, Jedson Dumphy. "Fortunately, I have a solution that can't fail to please all y'all folks. We'll permit it, only for very specific exceptions: for victims of legitimate, proven non-consensual sex or when the host-mother will certainly die without treatment, up to a nine-week gestation period, and with permission of the baby's father."

3. "These people are deluded," a shadowy figure stands in the corner, their gravelly voice indistinguishable as male or female. "Do you want blood on your hands and deaths on your conscience? There could be treatable second-trimester complications and botched back-alley abortions that would have been completed safely in a proper hospital. Women seeking abortion are desperate. They'll try anything, regardless of any restrictions you can pull out of your a... administration. Bring universally available, medical abortion back to @@NAME@@."

4. "We must pursue righteousness with yet more rigour," intones softly-spoken religious leader, @@RANDOMNAMEMALE@@, his black cloak swishing around him. "I constantly hear of 'miscarriages'. Do you know their real name: spontaneous abortion! An abortion, yet there is no punishment. To call them 'miscarriages' perverts the Law that the female can only be saved through childbearing. Unless the woman categorically proves her 'miscarriage' was not potentially the result of cruelty or negligence, our duty is plain: a life for a life! The Text is most clear on this." He wafts his book under your nose, snapping it closed before your eyes can focus.

5. "We must pursue righteousness with yet more rigour," intones softly-spoken right-wing moral crusader, @@RANDOMNAMEMALE@@, dressed in all black. "I constantly hear of 'miscarriages'. Do you know their real name: spontaneous abortion! An abortion, yet there is no punishment. To call them 'miscarriages' perverts nature! Unless the woman categorically proves her 'miscarriage' was not potentially the result of cruelty or negligence, our duty is plain: a life for a life!." He quickly runs off before you can question him.

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#818: We Are Not Amused [Orisoun; ed:Pogaria]

The Issue
Entertainment tycoon and billionaire Walter Eisner has proposed Eisnerland, a massive theme park that he wants to build in an economically impoverished area of northwestern @@NAME@@. Due to the significant expense of this project, Mr. Eisner is asking for state funds to help finance it.

The Debate
1. "Eisner Enterprises has provided a great source of joy and family entertainment ever since our first animated motion picture, Robbie the Rambunctious @@ANIMAL@@, delighted our audiences," says Mr. Eisner as he skips around your desk in a business suit and 'Robbie Ears.' "My wonderland of whimsy will increase economic growth in @@NAME@@, and has a chance to become the number one tourist destination in all of @@REGION@@! Of course, we will have to move a few thousand residents out of the way, but we'll be providing much-needed employment for the area. Now would you like to see my plans for the Experimental Prototype Community Recreation Area Project?"

2. "This is an insane proposition," declares @@RANDOMNAME@@, bursting in with a homemade picket sign that depicts Robbie sitting on a throne of cash. "These corporate monsters are trying to evict us from our homes in order to build this megalopolis of rickety rides and greasy, overpriced corn dogs. For the well-being of our families and communities, and the reputation of our nation, please refuse to provide funds for Eisnerland and ban all new corporate projects in residential areas."

3. "No one thinks about the alternative possibilities for these dilemmas," remarks @@RANDOMNAME@@, your Secretary of Compromises and Other Weird Solutions, who appears to be wearing a different-colored sock on each foot. "You see, the obvious answer is to move the entire project out to the desert. There are no residential areas or regulations to worry about! Sure, many people would be exhausted moving around in the scorching heat, and there aren't any nearby restaurants, hospitals, or hotels, but perhaps the government could help pay for some of those as well."

4. "You can't put a big amusement park there!" shouts artist Harry Jarvey, who is infamous for burning all of his sculptures within a week of their completion. "That desert is the site of our annual arts and radical inclusivity festival. The whole thing is based on freedom of expression and participation, not the sale of pre-packaged commercialism. To turn our cherished playa into a morass of corporate commodification would be an outrage! I insist that you prevent this Eisner fellow from leaving any trace of his vanity project in our desert - or anywhere else - and maybe have the government subsidize our event, for good measure. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to write a few more rules for next year's festival."

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#819: Damned Cold [Candlewhisper Archive; ed:Nation of Quebec]

The Issue
Through a complex and unorthodox set of theological deductions, respected community faith leader @@RANDOMNAMEMALE@@ decided that the local cryonics facility was a work of intrinsic evil. Late one night, he broke in and took a sledge hammer to ten cryogenically frozen brains. He didn't try to evade or resist arrest, and is now honestly surprised people think he has done anything wrong. The question is, what exactly is his crime?

The Debate
1. "Those who had their brains frozen were working on the assumption that they might one day in the future be resurrected, something which experts say is a virtual statistical certainty, given enough time," explains cryonics facility director @@RANDOMNAME@@, whose ruthless business dealings have earned @@HIM@@ the nickname 'Captain Cold'. "Now, they've been denied that. That makes this crime ten counts of murder. Hopefully, nice strict sentencing here will teach people not to mess with our corporate holdings in the future."

2. "Whoa, whoa! Playing piñata with some dead frozen brain popsicles is not the same as spilling the sloppy red stuff of a living person!" asserts tactless journalist Elsa @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@. "I'm not saying we should just let it go, but this wasn't murder. It was a crime of forced entry, damage to corporate property and desecration of human remains. Perhaps we should exercise some leniency seeing how this was, in fact, a political protest."

3. "Actually... there may have been a solid basis for what this protester was saying," ponders theologian Jadis Queen, poring over some apocryphal texts of her faith. "To be on the safe side, we should shut down all cryonics facilities. After all, our immortal souls may be at risk here."

4. "Not sure if this is a criminal matter or just some religious lunatic with a hammer," comments pizza delivery boy @@RANDOMFIRSTNAMEMALE@@ Fry, handing you your pizza. "The guy was clearly nuts either way. Sounds to me like a mental health problem. He needs a psychiatrist, not a prison cell."
Last edited by Jutsa on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:20 am, edited 15 times in total.
My national anthem~
(also the original)

Currently working on conlang, may rework solar system and geography.

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Jutsa
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NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Jutsa » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#820: These Heels Weren't Made For Working [Baggieland; ed:Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Mrs. Gertrude @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@ recently retired after 40 years working as a hotel receptionist. Severe arthritis of her feet - attributed by her doctors to a lifetime of wearing high-heeled shoes - has led to a great difficulty in walking even a short distance.

The Debate
1. "My feet are killing me," bemoans Gertrude, "and it's all the fault of a ridiculous dress code forced on me by my employers. I've been crippled by my work, and now I'm stuck with pain and loss of mobility. The government should ban employers from making particular clothes a condition of work. It's frankly sexist when us women are forced to wear high-heeled shoes! If I can save just one person from experiencing the torture I'm suffering now, then it will have been worth the effort of walking here today."

2. "What's wrong with wanting staff to look professional?" queries @@RANDOMNAMEMALE@@, staff manager at the renowned Iddiott-Hellton Hotel. "We just want our employees to look respectable while they're dealing with clients. Nobody forced this old girl to take this job! Look, @@LEADER@@, if you really want to help, maybe you could set an example by seeing to your own attire. Honestly, everything you are wearing cou