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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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Valentine Z
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Founded: Nov 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#1440: Dungeons and Deaths [Frieden-und Freudenland; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
Dustin Wiseau, the Prime Minister of Brancaland, recently gave a speech at the Nonviolent Objective Police Integrity Group Summit, where he encouraged the international community to investigate the "suspiciously high" rate of suicides and accidental deaths for detainees under @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ police custody.

The Debate
1. "Whaaat? Why do we get blamed for a couple of suicidal thugs and a few isolated accidents?" snorts @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a police sergeant from @@CAPITAL@@. "Just yesterday a stupid teenage shoplifter threw himself out of a fourth floor window at our headquarters. Clearly, his guilt was too much to bear. These scoundrels would rather give up the ghost than the criminal life. We need to make our detention centers suicide-proof: ensure there aren't any ropes or belts lying around, remove sharp objects, and relocate cells to the ground floor so nobody can fall down the stairs. Increase our funding, and it shall be done."

2. "Well, the psychology of many offenders is clearly quite disturbed, so no wonder they are suicidal," pontificates @@RANDOM_FIRST_NAME@@ Shrink, a self-employed psychiatrist. "We could easily solve this problem if the government hired psychiatrists to provide therapy to people in detention. We could talk them out of suicide and maybe even prevent recidivism."

3. "I'm sorry, but why don't you accept your shortcomings for once and seek improvement?" suggests @@RANDOM_NAME@@, the Brancalandian ambassador, while reviewing a stack of reports. "Our Prime Minister has made an acute observation. No sane person will believe that these people 'fell down five flights of stairs' or 'intentionally strangled themselves with a pair of handcuffs'. And what about this other fellow whose cause of death is listed as 'accidental ingestion of pen during interrogation'? Clearly, some of your officers tend to use incommensurate force on detainees. You should publicly apologize to the victims and put your officers in a comprehensive retraining program. We could even help you with the curriculum."

4. "What a shameless insult!" roars @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your Minister of War, crumpling up the newspaper containing Dustin Wiseau's statement. "This is obviously another Brancalandian conspiracy to meddle with our domestic affairs and make us look like barbarians on the international arena. I say it is time to make these mapleheads pay for their transgressions. Give me permission to lob a few missiles at them, and maybe they'll stop spreading baseless rumors about us!"

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#1441: Don't Burn Baby Don't Burn [Apabeossie; ed: Electrum]

The Issue
Yesterday, a house in @@CAPITAL@@ City caught fire while two young children were inside. Firefighters rescued the children, who were found hiding from the flames in a closet, before it was too late.

The Debate
1. "Children who are unfamiliar with fire instinctively hide from it," says Fire Chief @@RANDOM_FIRST_NAME@@, holding up a weighty fire safety manual titled Fires: They're Not Lit. "We've even seen situations where kids have hidden from uniformed firefighters. You should add fire safety to the national curriculum and provide grants for fire departments to visit schools so that we can teach kids how to escape fires."

2. "Wait, the parents left children ALONE at home?" cries @@RANDOM_NAME@@, while ignoring his leashed-up toddlers who are sticking their slimy hands into your sweets jar. "If these kids were not left home alone, they would have never needed rescuing! Children should always be supervised by at least one adult guardian at all times who can rescue them from emergencies. It's the only way to keep them safe. Also, parents should be charged with child neglect if their children are left unaccompanied."

3. "You know, a fire can't get out of control when nothing in the house can burn," says pyrophobe @@RANDOM_NAME@@, decked out in a fire proximity suit and wearing a fire extinguisher on her back like a diving tank. "Just mandate that all, yes all, household objects be fire resistant. That way fires can't spread as quick, and children will be less likely to face life or death situations... at least, not ones related to fires. Here, I've brought a new fireproof suit for you. You look good in yellow fluoro. Very slimming."

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#1442: A Green Bill of Health [Candensia; ed: Electrum]

The Issue
An outbreak of huanglongbing, a disease that causes citrus fruit to turn green and die, nearly wiped out all of @@NAME@@'s orange crop before it was contained. Investigators have determined that the outbreak originated from contaminated fruit brought by overseas travelers.

The Debate
1. "We're at code blood orange here," reports Minister of Agriculture @@RANDOM_NAME@@ from the ministry's 'citruation room'. "Our nation's delicate ecosystem is constantly under threat from foreign diseases that can seriously harm our flora and fauna. Strict regulations must dictate which food products are allowed into @@NAME@@. If someone refuses to let customs officers confiscate prohibited items, they'll have to make like a banana and split right back to where they came from."

*2. "A strategy like that sounds sensible, but our agriculture would still be susceptible to rot from within," counters geneticist @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who recently grew flies with eyes on their wings. "It takes only one breach for there to be another outbreak. The government should sponsor a large-scale gene editing program so that the next generation of crops and livestock won't even blink at exotic diseases. While we're at it, we can improve them in other ways as well. You know, I've always wanted to make a chicken glow in the dark." [Must not have compulsory vegetarianism]

*3. "A strategy like that sounds sensible, but our agriculture would still be susceptible to rot from within," counters geneticist @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who recently grew flies with eyes on their wings. "It takes only one breach for there to be another outbreak. The government should sponsor a large-scale gene editing program so that the next generation of crops won't even blink at exotic diseases. While we're at it, we can improve them in other ways as well. You know, I've always wanted to eat glow-in-the-dark cherries." [Must have compulsory vegetarianism]

4. "Woah... dude, aren't plants supposed to be green?" asks hippy herbalist @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who imports the Sedji berry 'superfood'. "Let's encourage our plants and animals to build their natural immunity by exposing them to these diseases from abroad — just like a pox party. After all, it's worked just fine in nature for millions of years and stuff."

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#1443: Forage and Forget [Candensia; ed: Frieden-und Freudenland]

The Issue
The @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ Botanical Society has reported a sharp decline in wild herb populations due to over-collection, resulting in a blossoming debate over foraging rules.

The Debate
1. "It's thyme to root for our herbs!" reads the sign carried by botanist Rose Marie, who is brushing some thistles off her pants. "Our plants are cruelly uprooted to be gluttonously eaten, greedily sold, or even used by hikers as improvised toilet paper! We cannot afford to let our native species become extinct, just because they look appealing to wipe with! We should impose limits on foraging for all plant species to safeguard our flora and my - I mean our - botanical research."

2. "Will my daughter need a flower picking permit?" snaps Basil Nettles, the host of the Cuisine Without Culture podcast. "And what's next, a lawnmower ban? What a joke! Plenty depend on wild herbs for food security or to supplement their income, not to mention to spruce up their bland food, and extensive regulation would leave them eating dirt. Let me give you some sage advice: foragers should have the right to roam free and collect as many wild berries and herbs as they like."

3. "Over-regulation is bad for the economy, but so is extinction," reports Deputy Commerce Minister Al O'Vera. "Especially if, say, the exterminated herb has medicinal properties - @@NAME@@ would lose out on any health benefits, and the ability to profit off of it! So how about this? Let's identify economically and medicinally important plants, then preserve them in national botanical gardens and herbaria. That way, even if foragers go wild, the nation still flowers."

4. "Plants deserve to blossom freely, not be pent-up in a stuffy greenhouse," interjects Cory Andrea Parsley, the chairwoman of the local neighborhood beautification council, dropping a bag of seeds on your desk. "We should give free seeds to all hikers and encourage them to spread them around while they are walking. Soon enough we will have a rampant vegetation to offset the loss from free foraging."

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#1444: Trouble in Deed [Cretox State; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
During a photo op in a fairly upscale neighborhood of @@CAPITAL@@, you notice a surprising number of abandoned houses dotting nearly every street. According to the painfully grinning woman whose baby you're kissing, the properties are still owned by @@DEMONYM_PLURAL@@ expats who emigrated to various other countries, often decades ago.

The Debate
1. "Are these decrepit buildings a blight on the place? You betcha!" remarks the ever-smiling woman, who happens to be a City Councilor, wrestling your Minister of Public Relations over the baby. "It's not just here, either. My colleagues tell me that cities across @@NAME@@ are dealing with this plague, and it's getting in the way of the plans for our new megamall, dontcha know. Local governments need broad authority to step in and seize buildings that aren't being used, so that they can be auctioned or demolished. Now can I have my baby back? I've got a hotdish in the oven."

2. "You can't do that!" screeches your rarely seen Minister of Sanity, crawling out of the woodwork of a nearby house. "Imagine what would happen if we let some mayor seize property just because it isn't being used, especially if that property is owned by expats who might have dual citizenship! Do you want an international incident on our hands? The government needs to do things by the book, and not stir up any trouble. Instead, let's try to contact every person that owns unused property here, and ask if they'd be willing to sell."

3. "What happens in @@NAME@@ stays in @@NAME@@!" declares vagrant @@RANDOM_NAME@@, loading a bulging stack of boxes into a shopping cart. "As far as anyone's concerned, the people owning these properties have ceased to exist. Us local folk could really use them houses for living, social gatherings, and steali- er, borrowing anything not nailed down. If the owners come back, you can just give the land back to them. What've you got to lose?"

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#1445: The Dialectics of Dialects [GeodesicDragon; ed: Frieden-und Freudenland]

The Issue
A few days ago, a tourist from Brancaland was hospitalized due to a severe allergic reaction after ingesting street food in @@ANIMAL@@ City. It turned out he had asked the local vendor about the ingredients, but had been unable to understand her heavily accented reply. The incident has stirred up a debate over what to do about the wildly different dialects of @@NATION@@.

The Debate
1. "Everywhere I go, I see tourists struggling to understand the many different dialects in use in this country," moans @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your Tourism Minister. "So, how about we help them by printing a guidebook? That way, the tourists and the locals can communicate with each other more easily. Plus, profits from the sale of the book would obviously benefit the national treasury, right?"

2. "Och, awa' ye go wi' that rubbish!" scoffs @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a resident of a city in the far north of @@NATION@@. "We dinnae need tae be panderin' tae yon tourists; if they cannae understaund wit it is we're saying, then dae ye really think they shid be comin' here tae begin with?" He taps his head with a finger. "Think on, @@LEADER@@, think on."

3. "I reckon banning tourists for not being able to speak the dialects is a downright preposterous idea," splutters @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your Minister of Education. "It is high time that we formed a committee of linguists and dialectologists to develop a new curriculum to make sure every citizen ditches their vernacular language and learns the standard variety instead. This will make language instruction much easier, both for our own students and for foreign learners."

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#1446: Yet Another Issue About Periods [Baggieland; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Your niece has been berating your Secretary of State on her Twitcher account, accusing him of making her feel uneasy by his use of full stops in his text messages. She claims they indicate that the sender is annoyed at the recipient and that the full stop should no longer be considered as proper usage. Once a quiet chat has been had with the 55-year-old about why he's texting your 16-year-old niece in the first place, a conversation begins about your niece's ideas.

The Debate
1. Your niece DMs you, despite the fact that she's only just across the room: smh, your messages are all so Formal And Proper... were basically having a conversation rn, so you should write like youre actually speaking out loud – add some *emphasis* and cut out those full stops, i mean, have you heard anyone speak every sentence with a flat inflection? while your at it, you should fr make everyone over 30 attend texting literacy class, yall gotta learn somehow

2. "I've never heard such nonsense," proclaims Professor Phileas Ogaria, the nation's foremost authority on punctuation. "Proper pedagogical procedures necessitate principles of punctuation, and every youth should be carefully considering how to conform correctly. If children cannot accurately use a semicolon by the time they leave kindergarten, then there's no hope for them."

3. "Ancient Maxtopia had a way around this problem," states archaeologist @@RANDOM_NAME@@, as she chisels away at your desk. "They used hieroglyphs to communicate the written word, and didn't punctuate at all. Imagine if we adopted a similar pictorial script that portrays modern @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ life; there'd be no more arguments over whether the writing needs a semicolon or a colon, and the younger @@DEMONYM_PLURAL@@ will feel a lot less threatened."

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#1447: The Lowest Form of Wit [Frieden-und Freudenland; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Rosalia Fallon, your Minister of Health, became a target of criticism when she responded to a political opponent's colorful insults by saying "Maybe you should consider rinsing your dirty mouth with bleach. It might even help you get rid of that bad breath." Unfortunately, some citizens took this as actual advice that this would work as a treatment for their own stinky exhalations, and have been hospitalized with painful injuries.

The Debate
1. "Look, it is not my problem that some people in this country aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer," sneers Fallon, throwing her arms up in exasperation. "Sarcasm, people! It shouldn't be so hard to understand. Even my 5-year-old niece got the joke. I guess the proles must be so adept at comprehending rhetorical devices because of our robustly funded education system, and you DON'T need to spend more on that. That was me being sarcastic again, in case you missed it. Yeesh."

2. "Nonsense, people holding public office need to have full accountability for their statements," says Agnes Mann, popping a handful of breath mints. "If the Health Minister herself comes up and says 'use bleach for bad breath', who am I to doubt her authority? I mean, can you imagine if a world leader was to suggest injecting bleach? Not that anyone but a blithering baby-brained wibbling idiot would ever suggest such a thing, but still, can you imagine the potential harm? We need to ban sarcasm and all forms of linguistic ambiguity from political discourse and censure this minister for jeopardizing our lives!"

3. "Banning sarcasm? No way! This actually gives me a great idea!" exclaims Dave Skinner, your Minister of Alternative Solutions, rubbing his hands excitedly. "If anything, we should encourage our party members to employ as much equivocation in their speeches as possible, so they have plausible deniability if a statement of theirs falls flat. Did you make an unfortunate remark about Bigtopians? Just say it was sarcasm, problem solved!"

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#1448: A Seat Quite Vacant Is a Seat Distressed [SherpDaWerp; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
Just yesterday, @@RANDOM_FIRST_NAME1@@ @@RANDOM_LAST_NAME1@@ — the elected representative for Upper @@ANIMAL@@ville — tragically died while giving a speech at a hospital construction site when an entire wall collapsed on top of her. Unfortunately, various laws passed in different eras have conflicting instructions in the event of a politician's death, causing trepidation amongst the local voters.

The Debate
1. "The easiest solution would be for you to personally appoint an 'interim representative', someone to act in her stead — just until the next election," posits @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a devoted supporter of your party. "It wouldn't be long — our elections are pretty regular, right? — and it would save the hassle and cost of holding a special election. As it happens, I know just the right candidate..."

2. "It seems to me that the person who was elected should have the right to pick their successor, if they are unable to finish their term," declares @@RANDOMMALEFIRSTNAME@@ @@RANDOM_LAST_NAME1@@, the son of the deceased representative. "Presumably, they would choose someone who was of like mind, and could be counted on to continue supporting their predecessor's agenda. If the new person turns out to be a dud, they would surely be voted out at the next election. Just require all elected officials to write down their preferred replacement on some sort of notarized form, and the problem would be solved."

3. "HELP, HELP, I'M BEING REPRESSED!" melodramatically screams @@RANDOM_NAME@@, an independent candidate famously opposed to the formation of political parties. "Strange coroners sitting in offices distributing death certificates is no basis for a system of government! Just have a by-election, the same as any other proper democratic country. No one knows who's the next candidate the people might want, so we'll have to put it to the people to find out!"

4. "Actually, I know exactly who the people want," states @@RANDOM_NAME@@, the most recent opposition candidate for the seat. "Me! I had the next most votes, and in the event of an elected official's untimely passing, the runner-up should be given the job. Surely, that's the best way to respect the will of the people — or at least 37% of them."

5. "Pffft. So she's dead. That doesn't affect me!" derides @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who lives in a nearby district. "You always forget about us Lower @@ANIMAL@@ville folks. Those toffs from Upper @@ANIMAL@@ville get all the funding, and we get squat! They can do without an elected representative for a little while. That'll teach them."

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#1449: Annie Get Your Gun [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
When mother-of-twins Annie @@RANDOM_LAST_NAME@@ was held up at gunpoint by a mugger, she immediately surrendered all her cash and jewellery, rather than risk the lives of her ten-year-old boys. Shockingly, not only had she not attempted to use lethal force to defend her family, but she had also left her one and only shotgun on the kitchen table at home.

The Debate
1. "Owning a gun is compulsory for a good reason," points out your Minister for Personal Defence, adjusting her H&K MP5K holster to stop it from catching on her backslung C14 Timberwolf sniper rifle. "But what's the point in compulsory ownership if you don't carry your weapon? As far as I'm concerned, failing to carry a proper deterrent makes Ms Clarke culpable for inciting violence. Citizens have a duty to pack heat whenever they leave the home. An armed populace is a safe populace!"

2. "I'm sorry, I just had so much stuff to carry with the kids' spare clothes and snacks and school bags and all the rest," weeps the deeply ashamed young mom. "I know I shoulda been packin' heat, I know it, but it's just so hard to do so every hour of the day! Have some mercy, guvmint man, and maybe put more gun-totin' police on the streets to keep us safe when our hands are full."

3. "Where was the man of the family in all this, eh?" yells @@RANDOM_NAME@@, before pausing as someone whispers in his ear informing him that the lady is a recent widow from gun-related street crime. "Oh... uh... right. But what about these two twins? They're both the men of the family now, and morally responsible for protecting the weaker sex!"

4. "Hrmm... Did we...?" wonders Minister of Bookkeeping @@RANDOM_NAME@@ as he leafs through the statute books. "Oops, yes we did. Looks like we accidentally used the word 'must' instead of 'may' here when we made that last change to the law about firearm ownership. You want I should fix it again, like some sort of second amendment to the bill?"

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#1450: Driving @@LEADER@@ [Avaerilon; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
After many years of faithful service, your current vehicle broke down on the highway this morning, forcing you to squeeze into the back of a police car like a common hoodlum in order to get to work. To avoid any further embarrassments, your advisors have asked you to pick a new state car to whisk you to-and-fro when required.

The Debate
1. "Look, that old barge was pretty, but it might not have been adequate if there was a bomb attack!" proclaims General @@RANDOM_NAME@@, gesturing wildly and getting uncomfortably close to your face. "What we need to protect you is a state-of-the-art military vehicle. I'm talking 10cm thick carbon-ceramic armour, missile launchers, gun nests, and plenty of room for a squad of special forces operatives. Let's make something no enemy of the state would dare even look funny at, let alone consider attacking!"

2. Suddenly, your windows are shaken by what sounds like the bellow of a wild animal as eccentric TV star and car enthusiast Clark Jeremysson revs the engine of his Berrari Forza-Azzurri, then proceeds to address you using a megaphone. "Your people judge you based on what you're driving. How on earth can they connect with you on a personal level if you're riding around in a hybrid battlecruiser-tank thing? You should get something fast and exciting — a proper supercar — and drive it yourself. Show everyone that you're a real take-charge leader who goes wherever you want, at whatever speed you want. People will love it!"

3. "Heaven forbid that such an uncouth brute should influence Your Excellency," sputters @@RANDOM_NAME@@, head of sales at Bolls-Boyce, bowing low and taking off @@HIS@@ hat. "My dear, the vehicle that served you was very fine indeed, but fear not, for we can make a more luxurious replacement at our coachbuilding studio that will be far superior to the pedestrian wares offered by Maxcedes and Barryan Motor Works. If you would be so kind as to tell me your preferred leather suppleness and decanter temperature, my master craftsmen can get to work post-haste."

4. "Why waste taxpayer money on an expensive limousine when you can set an example of frugality?" questions your Minister of Anti-Corruption, who also happens to be your niece. "Just drive whatever's available, like one of the compact cars in the government's vehicle pool. They're all made by General Chassis, right here in @@NAME@@. It'll help reduce government spending, while demonstrating your support for the local automotive industry."

5. You think you're finished, but then a scraggly hippy who had appeared to be a large bush stands up and starts moving in your direction. "Like, dude... it's you, man! I always thought you were cool! Hey, listen, I want to rap with you about something. Like, cars are so last century, dude! The people will totally be down with it if you just... like, walk everywhere. Imagine, you with a sweet poncho and a stick, totally in sync with Mother Earth, just walking to... wherever it is you go. Maybe it'll put out good vibrations and change some minds about pollution and saving the world!"

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#1451: A Dread Letter [Frieden-und Freudenland; ed: The Free Joy State]

The Issue
Today, among your mail, a black envelope with a pentagram on it caught your eye. You opened the envelope, and the letter inside said: "Blessed Chosen One, I am happy to inform you that you have just been granted the Opportunity to Change Your Life. The magnificent energy of the cosmos is waiting to surround you. If you copy this letter and send it to 100 other people, you will be granted ONE HUNDRED blessings for ONE HUNDRED days. But! If you spurn these gifts — YOU will be CURSED FOREVER. Choose wisely!"

The Debate
1. "This is a disaster!" whimpers your secretary @@RANDOM_NAME@@, looping @@HIS@@ four-leaf clover pendant around your neck and knocking on your wooden desk repeatedly. "I had a friend in elementary school who failed to pass on a chain letter she received, and she came down with terrible chickenpox afterwards. This is no joking matter, @@LEADER@@. You should immediately start making copies and sending them out if you want to protect yourself from harm."

2. "I'd bet my bottom @@CURRENCY@@ that this is just another teenage prankster," muses police officer @@RANDOM_NAME@@, inspecting the envelope with a magnifying glass to check for fingerprints. "But we ought not let this scoundrel waste your precious time with this nonsense. Grant my department permission to track down and punish the senders of anonymous letters composed with the criminal intent to frighten or defraud." He tosses the letter to one side, accidentally knocking a small mirror off your desk.

3. "If anything, this shows you're not taking your personal security seriously enough, @@LEADER@@!" yells bodyguard @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a former army officer, who has perused the letter and is now patrolling the vicinity. "What if that scumbag had sent anthrax in that envelope? Or what if someone had sent you a bomb in a gift parcel? You should mandate that all mail in @@NATION@@ should be sent in see-through bags. Those who have nothing to hide cannot object to full transparency."

4. "Holy @@ANIMAL@@! I can't believe we spent an entire morning discussing a stupid chain letter!" chortles @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your Minister of Underhanded Solutions. "But, if these letters are so unsettling, this gives me a brilliant idea. Why not produce different versions of such dreadful letters and send them to our political opponents? Distracting them in this way could be a good strategy for psychological warfare."

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#1452: Hello Darkness My Old Friend [Valentine Z; ed: Electrum]

The Issue
@@NATION@@ ground to a halt after a nationwide blackout resulted in dark street lamps, traffic jams and melted ice creams. It was caused by the country having insufficient fuel to generate electricity, with the bulk of the fuel being exported due to long-term supply contracts.

The Debate

1. "I've come to talk with you again," pesters @@RANDOM_FEMALE_NAME@@ Simon, your Minister of Energy, @@HIS@@ figure barely visible in the naked candlelight. "The nation has enough fossil fuel reserves to power itself. However, corporations like Conch and Epsilon Mobil are profiting from their export rather than ensuring our country has enough electricity! Nationalise them and tear up the contracts so that our power plants always have enough fuel. The companies have been given too much free rein on our resources and we don't need their technical expertise anymore."

2. "Nationalisation is like a cancer that grows," says Conch Chief Extraction Officer @@RANDOM_NAME@@ Garfunkel. "By nationalising, you're creating an inefficient government-run company that will be vulnerable to corruption. You're also going to be losing a long-term source of tax revenue by walking away from our contracts. Instead, you should approve drilling in that natural gas field we've always wanted to develop near @@CAPITAL@@. That way, there'll be more than enough fuel to meet our export obligations and your electricity generators' needs."

3. "If we can no longer rely on power plants to provide electricity, why don't you let us generate it ourselves?" asks an off-the-grid citizen completing his fortnightly run for loo rolls and gum. "See, I have this big diesel generator at home which is powering the local area during the blackout. There were some noise and pollution complaints at first, but the neighbours aren't objecting now. It would be an easy change too, just dismantle the energy networks and pay us little guys to distribute energy locally."

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#1453: A Salt and Battery [Candensia; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
Electric cars have vastly reduced air pollution in @@NAME@@. However, this has accompanied a surge in demand for lithium, a scarce element primarily obtained through heavy mining. As lithium salts are a critical component in electric vehicle batteries, your advisers fear a shortage could cripple electric car manufacturers and the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ lifestyle.

The Debate
1. "Without additional lithium, there could be a lot more horse-drawn carts on the roads, or even worse, gas guzzlers!" exclaims resource analyst @@RANDOM_NAME@@. "But don't worry, @@NAME@@ has plenty of untapped lithium deposits! The biggest ones just, uh, happen to be located in pristine nature reserves. Anyway, not using our own natural resources would make us dumber than a box of rocks. Give the mining industry the go-ahead to expand lithium extraction operations; it'll keep our cars cheap and skies beautiful."

2."Doesn't mining defeat the purpose of electric cars?" asks trade official @@RANDOM_NAME@@ while eating from a lunchbox that is clearly labeled 'Property of the Maxtopian Embassy'. "Rather than destroy our own environment, let somebody else destroy theirs. Dump lithium extraction in @@NAME@@, and instead rely on cheap imports from dirt-poor countries like Kawandaland. There'd hardly be any downsides. Well, I mean, the mining sector obviously wouldn't like it, we might shed a job or two, and there could be supply disruptions whenever Kawandaland goes through a coup, but electric car manufacturers will be jumping for joy!"

3."Lithium-ion batteries power tons of often-tossed electronics," yaps @@CAPITAL@@-area sanitation director @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who is wearing a T-shirt with the slogan 'Garbage In, Treasure Out'. "We can reuse that lithium if we expand recycling infrastructure to accommodate the extra rubbish. Now look, this garbage idea has a catch — lithium recycling can't beat mining in terms of output — so there'd be less of the stuff to go around. However, if we reduced lithium demand by hiking taxes on automobiles and electronics while also encouraging use of mass transit, we'd be able to make it work."

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#1454: Poplar Opinion [Honeydewistania, ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
As a symbol of historic cultural ties, the nation of Brancaland has gifted @@NAME@@ a dozen Brancalandian Spiked Aspen trees. These were ceremonially planted in the famed Jellostain National Park. Unfortunately, it's now been discovered that the trees are host to a parasitic fungi endemic to Brancaland, which is now spreading and ravaging the local woodland.

The Debate
1. "Let's not panic!" says one of your diplomats, panicking. "Brancaland had good intentions, but we need to contain the spread before the entire nation is infected. Luckily the fungal infestation is only in this part of the park, so let's enclose the section with the trees with a glass bio-dome, and allow access only to a select few. We can import more Brancalandian flora and dedicate the arboretum to our nations' enduring friendship."

2. "You don't know what this fungus can do," flatly states Forestry Commission Warrant Officer Elaine Wipley, with the look of a shell-shocked veteran. "If one of those spores gets out there, that's it! Taking off and nuking the site from orbit is the only way to be sure. No? Well, at the very least, you need to send the army in with flamethrowers, to burn everything in a three-mile radius."

3. "It's too late for the park," whispers General Cody 'Iron Eyes' de Corti, shedding a single tear as he surveys the devastation. "They destroyed our park; we can destroy theirs too. You should allow us to covertly release the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ Destroying Angel Fungi over the Brancalandian pine forests. Let the invaders feel our pain."

4. "Fungus is Good, repeat with me, Fungus is Good," intones eccentric mycologist Innsmouth Yugov offering you a strange-smelling bowl of mushroom stew. "Let the blessed fungus spread freely. In fact, deliberately spread it to every forest in @@NAME@@. Do it or there will be truffle, I mean trouble. The blessed mycelium will give strength to our nation as it infiltrates our soil. You understand? Yes. Me go, now. Me go." He hands you a mysterious book, then chants in an indecipherable language.

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#1455: Trademarks Make Their Mark on Marketing [Noahs Second Country; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
Zeerocks, a @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ company known for manufacturing photocopiers, has recently come into conflict with a corporation in the mostly harmless nation of Merovingia that makes a similar product. The Merovingian company has been using the common phrase 'zeerocksing' in their advertising and packaging, even though Zeerocks owns the trademark for the term. The inevitable legal dispute has now come to national attention.

The Debate
1. "@@LEADER@@, it is essential that this term remains exclusive to the products and services of our company," claims a sharply dressed representative from Zeerocks, handing out zeerocksed packets of heavily laminated legal documentation to everyone in close proximity. "When direct competitors use the term to describe the services that we exclusively offer, consumers begin to associate the term with photocopying, which zeerocksing simply is not. Furthermore, we have legally registered this trademark and should have full rights to control its use."

2. A sophisticated-looking executive from Merovingian Minolta directs your attention to her slideshow presentation. "As we can see here, photocopying involves the same exact process as zeerocksing. It is preposterous to use multiple terms for the same exact action, and makes no sense for a company to be able to own a commonly used word. Therefore, since the Zeerocks trademark is already a generic term, anyone should be able to use it."

3. "We might as well rip off the band-aid now," claims your Minister of Abrupt Solutions, while using a sharpie to write notes on some post-its. "This case is a dumpster fire of complex trademark laws, and I bet we'll see a plethora of new cases no matter who wins this lawsuit. It's as clear as plexiglass that we need to abolish all existing trademark laws, so that this doesn't hoover up all of our legal system's resources. Now does anyone have an aspirin? My head feels like someone hit it with a thermos."

4. "That is just going to cause even more confusion," drones Xanatos Vajiralongkorn, whose gray suit matches his gray demeanor. "Why do we need branding in the first place? All of this marketing is just another way for the big, rich corporations to control the public. You should require all products to be sold in monocolored packaging with no graphics or brand names on them."

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#1456: Weather Report: It's Not Graining In East Lebatuck [Fauxia; ed: Electrum]

The Issue
East Lebatuck, one of the largest 'second world' nations, is in the midst of a famine. It does not typically trade with @@NAME@@ due to its suspicion of capitalism. However, because of the famine, the 'Iron Giant of Communism' wants to purchase large quantities of foodstuffs, particularly grain, from @@NAME@@.

The Debate
1. "We're going to have a field day!" gasps your Treasury Minister, grasping the gravity of the situation. "Imagine the headlines — 'Great Groat! East Lebatuck Grovels to Graceful @@NAME@@ to Gratify its Grain Grievances'. Every sale we make to East Lebatuck is proof that free markets work and communism does not. You've got to encourage this trade — provide subsidies to corporations that do business with East Lebatuck, and we'll show the world who's really won the cold war."

2. "See what I'm doing here?" asks advisor @@RANDOM_NAME@@, rubbing @@HIS/HER@@ middle finger on @@HIS/HER@@ wrist. "I'm playing the world's smallest violin. The best way to show capitalist superiority is to let this evil empire face the consequences of its communist folly and let it starve. They can ask our noble corporations for grain once they open up to free enterprise in their country. Which, let's face it, will be never."

3. "Dear leader, don't listen to these commissars. This is not an opportunity to showboat," advises communist sympathizer @@RANDOM_NAME@@, wearing a red pin of East Lebatuck Chairman Joseph Rushev on @@HIS/HER@@ lapel. "Starving people is not cool, man. So how about you treat this like a humanitarian problem and send free grain with no strings attached? In return, we pinky promise not to throw you into the gulag when this capitalist state inevitably crumbles."

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#1457: Use the Farce, @@LEADER@@ [Pogaria; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
After taking your niece to see Cosmic Conflicts: Episode XII — A New Ennui, your Census Director runs up to you in the parking lot, shouting that large numbers of people are putting false information on their census forms.

The Debate
1. "Orange Alert, @@LEADER@@! We have a Level 3 census emergency!" Your confused look gives him pause. "Did you not memorize the color-coded Demographics Alert System that I sent you? Our census has a question about religious affiliation, but far too many people aren't taking it seriously. They're just listing fictional religions, like Jeday and Frisbeetarianism. We must track down every one of these reprobates and question them at great length to determine their actual religious beliefs — and fine them for listing false information on official government documents!"

2. "I am one with the Farce and the Farce is with me," chants a movie theater patron wearing brown robes, who starts swinging around a cardboard tube and making humming noises. "The ancient Jeday faith, which was revealed to us by visionary film director Jorge Toucas, is a fundamental truth in all corners of the universe. Our beliefs are genuine. I insist that you recognize this as a legitimate religion!"

*3. Another passerby wearing a strange uniform and a helmet that completely covers their face stops to listen. "Do you hear this blasphemy, @@LEADER@@? The law encourages everyone to follow @@FAITH@@. These fantasy films are a terrible influence on weak-minded citizens whose faith is shaky at best. Ban all fiction that includes any references to false religions, and send these heretics to remedial religious education classes. This is the way!" [Must have Theocracy?]

*4. Another passerby wearing a strange uniform and a helmet that completely covers their face stops to listen. "Do you hear this superstitious nonsense, @@LEADER@@? The law discourages people from practicing religion. These fantasy films are a terrible influence on weak-minded citizens who don't have a solid scientific education. Ban all fiction that includes any references to religion, and send these ignoramuses to remedial science classes. This is the way!" [Must have low religiousness?]

*5. Another passerby wearing a strange uniform and a helmet that completely covers their face stops to listen. "Do you hear this lunacy, @@LEADER@@? These fantasy films are a terrible influence on weak-minded citizens who don't have a solid grasp on reality. Ban all fiction that includes any references to made-up religions, and send these nutjobs to a mental health specialist for a thorough psychological evaluation. This is the way!" [Must have Atheism?, Low Religiousness]

6. Your niece tugs on your sleeve, looking annoyed. "Why does the census even ask about religion? I know it's for statistics or whatever, but I really don't care if my friends pray to Yahvo or R'hllor or even the Overgoat! That's none of my business, and the government shouldn't be asking about it either. In fact, if we want to be progressive, the census also shouldn't ask about gender, race, ethnicity, or national origin. Instead, we should just focus on finding out fun and entertaining tidbits, like hobbies, or music tastes, or favorite cheese."

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#1458: Children of @@RELIGION@@ [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
The secretive but economically powerful Holy Empire of Dàguó has long had a sketchy human rights record, and recently it's become clear that there is a state policy against @@RELIGION@@, which the Dàguó government has categorised as a subversive ideology. Specifically, rumours have recently surfaced that children from families of the faith are being forcibly separated from their parents, and made to attend state re-education centres for indoctrination and conversion.

The Debate
1: "The sons and daughters of @@RELIGION@@ are being ripped from the bosom of loving families," complains @@RANDOM_NAME@@, head of the @@DEMONYM@@ branch of Human Rights Watch International. "We should call for international condemnation, and enact tough trade sanctions against Dàguó. Additionally, we should offer these persecuted souls refuge, and provide help for them to travel here. We should always prioritise asylum for the children of @@RELIGION@@."

2: "@@RELIGION@@ is losing numbers, and we have to rectify that," observes your Minister of Memetic Utilitarianism. "The moral arithmetic is simple: we should locate and forcibly centralise Dàguó immigrant children within @@NAME@@, establishing a Faith Academy where they can learn to renounce their fatherland, and devote themselves to our Holy Truth."

3: "These rumours are categorically false," recites a thirteen-year-old @@BOY@@ in a plain grey concrete room, on a video recording sent to you. "Several years ago, I voluntarily attended the Dàguó Centre for Imperial Glory. I chose this path because I love our country. My comrades and I have chosen to reject @@RELIGION@@ of our own free will. We encourage @@NAME@@ to strengthen trading relations with the growing economy of Dàguó, and for our economies to mutually prosper. We remind @@NAME@@ of the mutual wealth our great nations gain from bilateral international trade. You should officially state that Dàguó is blameless in this. For the greater good."

4: "Those Dàguó folk are rascals for sure," laughs your Minister of Uncomfortable Compromises, looking worriedly over a list of Dàguó's investments in @@NAME@@. "We need to persuade them to adopt a gentler position. Maybe we could financially induce amenable faith leaders in our country to issue official statements, saying that @@RELIGION@@ endorses the Holy Empire of Dàguó. Then, Dàguó can feel safe from dissent, and we can trade with a clear conscience. This is what we call the soft power approach, @@LEADER@@. Diplomacy keeps the world turning."

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#1459: Friends With Tax Benefits [The Returners; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A growing number of citizens are protesting a clause in the tax code that gives an extra tax deduction for married couples.

The Debate
1. "Giving married couples extra benefits is just unfair, man," complains concerned citizen Chuck Sandler, accompanied by his longtime roommate Larry James. "With this wonky tax code, everyone just marries before tax season and immediately divorces after. There are probably statistics and stuff saying that. Besides, this is discrimination against singles. Why not allow lovers and best friends to fill out tax returns together just like married couples do?"

2. "Keeping the tax deduction for married couples is essential for maintaining the strength of the family," lectures @@RANDOM_NAME@@, leader of the conservative group Families For Society, with his wife silently nodding along in agreement. "The strength of the family is the strength of @@NATION@@! Of course, no one should desecrate the sanctity of marriage by using it solely for financial gain! The solution is simple: ban divorce. That way, if people marry just for the tax benefits, they must stay together."

3. "The real problem is that we have these tax deductions in the first place," moans your Minster of Finance, @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who has spent all morning completing his own tax return. "Complex rules leave loopholes to exploit. Just eliminate almost all tax deductions and exemptions and keep tax returns super simple."
Last edited by Valentine Z on Fri Jun 03, 2022 12:00 pm, edited 24 times in total.
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NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#1460: A Burning Question [Frieden-und Freudenland; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Burpbarry, a well-known @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ luxury outerwear brand, has declared that they have incinerated 15 million @@CURRENCY_PLURAL@@ worth of stockpiled surplus clothing.

The Debate
1. "I can't believe these people set fire to a heap of perfectly serviceable clothing, while I don't even have a plain shirt to wear," wails @@RANDOM_NAME@@, the beggar who often hangs out in front of your residence, clasping the newspaper around @@HIS/HER@@ shoulders more firmly. "This is such an atrocious waste of resources. Manufacturers should be made to donate their surplus goods to charity for unfortunate folks like me, not destroy them!"

2. "Hogwash! You won't listen to this deranged @@MAN@@, will you?" asks @@RANDOM_NAME@@, the CEO of Burpbarry, looking flabbergasted. "Don't forget that we are a luxury brand, and exclusivity is maintained by controlling the supply side of the equation. What distinction would wearing a Burpbarry outfit confer on you, if any old scrounger could get the same things from a donation bin? Market freedom means being allowed to protect our brand value, and to dispose of our own property as we see fit."

3. "Frankly, your disposal method is disgusting!" fumes @@RANDOM_NAME@@, an environmentalist and DIY enthusiast, sporting a hat made of a recycled yogurt tub. "If companies want to get rid of their surplus without diluting their brand, why not upcycle inventively? For a start, I think those fancy Burpbarry scarves could be braided into a reusable canvas bag. Perchance you should seize the end-of-season surplus, and employ skilled weavers to turn them into something new."

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#1461: No Shirt, No Shoes, No ID, No Service [Italios; ed: Electrum and The Grim Reaper]

The Issue
In a recent local election, homeless person @@RANDOM_NAME_1@@ was denied the right to vote because @@HE/SHE@@ did not have any identification. @@HIS/HER_1@@ plea to vote went viral after a crowd of journalists, who were coincidentally at the polling place to report on a story about a prominent politician allegedly kissing babies, recorded the rant.

The Debate
1. "All I wanted to do was vote," sobs @@RANDOM_NAME_1@@, in hysterics as the media scrum surges forward, hanging on to every word @@HE/SHE_1@@ says. "How does it feel to disenfranchise the poor, @@LEADER@@? You know we don't have the time or money to get an ID while we're trying to stay off the streets. Let us vote, no questions asked!"

2. "What a waste of time," says political pundit @@RANDOM_NAME@@, rolling @@HIS/HER@@ eyes while she speaks over an unflattering still of @@RANDOM_NAME_1@@ showing @@HIM/HER_1@@ ejecting spittle midspeech. "Politically engaged voters will gladly make an effort to present identification when voting. It's a small price to pay to protect ourselves from the wrong people being elected! In fact, if we wanted elections to be more secure, election officials should check IDs more carefully in those crime-infested areas."

[3]. "The easiest thing to do would be to introduce online voting," interrupts your intern, whose high-tech Boogle glasses obscure her face. "Instant fingerprint recognition, ocular identification, strong passwords and meticulous analysis of cursor movements are the future of electioneering scrutiny. It's voter identification without the hassle of in-person voting. And, the poor can easily sign up at their nearest library." [Must not ban Internet]

4. "I'm astounded that this is still an issue," says @@RANDOM_NAME@@, clutching a scrapbook filled with photos of you. "You're the best option we've got, never mind the voters! Abolish all elections, and give yourself the perpetual right to the highest office - a dictatorship is all we deserve."

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#1462: Glory Kill [Krusavich; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
@@REGION@@ gave cheer last night after infamous terrorist leader @@RANDOM_NAME@@ was assassinated in a surprise raid by the elite @@ANIMAL@@ Team 5. However, jubilation quickly turned to controversy when one of the soldiers claimed personal responsibility for the assassination, forgoing the unit's traditional "code of silence".

The Debate
1. "What can I say? It's just the doggone plain truth!" bellows Sergeant @@RANDOM_NAME_1@@, the offending soldier in question, as @@HE/SHE_1@@ props @@HIS/HER_1@@ boots on your desk. "You can see it all on the body cam footage, so it's not like anyone can say I'm lyin'. Already got some United Federation suits looking to make a movie, some dork wants to write my biography, the VIP party invites are rolling in — I earned all of this. Y'all can't take that away cause some limp-wrists say it's 'disrespectful' or 'attention hogging'. Besides, it's good for @@NAME@@ too! Once my story becomes a blockbuster, nobody's going to question our military might. So how about you just give me a medal for a job well done?"

2. "Etiquette exists for a reason, @@LEADER@@," retorts General @@RANDOM_NAME@@ as @@HE/SHE@@ readjusts your lapel pin. "Even though Sergeant @@RANDOM_LAST_NAME_1@@ took the final shot, that mission was a team effort. When you start snubbing that core belief, you end up making soldiers of fortune, not members of the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ armed forces. Oh sure, it's all fun and parties today. But then they start disobeying orders, thinking they know best. Then they start going rogue. Next thing you know, Blackacre slips some @@CURRENCY_PLURAL@@ under the table, and our whole army is goose-stepping down @@CAPITAL@@ to a different tune! We should discharge @@RANDOM_LAST_NAME_1@@ for unmilitary-like conduct and stand firm behind our behavior policies."

3. "Ah, nuts to that, General Buzzkill!" proclaims @@RANDOM_NAME@@, another @@ANIMAL@@ Team 5 operative whose tinted glasses and long hair certainly violate some dress code. "@@RANDOM_LAST_NAME_1@@ has it right! Your problem is trying to make the army all secretive and mysterious. It's just another job, dude! No one tells my old man how to sell stuffed animals at the mall. He just, like, does it. We need to be more like that. Dump all of these creepy creeds and regulations! Let troops say what we want to say, to whoever we want. Everything will work itself out."

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#1463: Sandbagging [Baggieland; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A small island has vanished into the sea, farmland was flooded when a river burst its banks, and whole villages have been near-submerged by rising waters. The reason for these floods? Sand mining: billions of tonnes of sand and gravel extracted from rivers, lakes and coastlines.

The Debate
1. "We can't stop the modernisation of @@NAME@@," states Matthew Mountsermon, your Minister of Residential Construction on Aggregates. "These materials are the literal foundation of our economy! If you want buildings and infrastructure, you need sand! Glass, computer chips... sand! Did you know it takes 30,000 tonnes of sand to build just one kilometre of a motorway? Avoiding flooding just takes a little planning, and maybe some concrete barriers. Nothing should hinder the development of @@NAME@@!"

2. "Our addiction to sand is staggering," declares @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your Environment Minister, as @@HE@@ tries to prove how easy it is to reuse everyday objects by cleaning @@HIS@@ fingernails with a paper clip. "At first they extracted it from quarries, but when those ran out, they took sand from beaches, then islands, now they're dredging the seabed. The construction industry needs to be stopped in its tracks. Who needs that much concrete anyway?"

3. "I've got an alternative," muses passing manual labourer @@RANDOM_NAME@@, hefting a heavy iron mallet. "Need more sand and gravel? We can make it. Just smash up rocks from hills and mountains. Bash 'em into pieces! Hammers! Bombs! Giant stompy robots! Wheeeee!" He demonstrates by smashing a marble bust of your predecessor.

4. "You know where there's a lot of sand? The desert!" exclaims @@RANDOM_NAME@@, one of your science advisers, as @@HE@@ stretches some kind of Day-Glo gunk. "True, desert sand is too fine and we haven't found a way to bond it together yet, but I'm sure if we give it a go, and give it lots of determination and government funding... Yes, we'll find a way!"

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#1464: Gentry Genes Getting Grim [Ostrov Svobody; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Duke Geoffrey Bannister, a 13-year-old scion visiting from the ancient nation of Maxtopia, is an absolute oik who seems to lack impulse control and empathy, and is known to have terrorized his own fiefdom with no regard for human life. Many blame his odious personality (and his distinctive jutting "Maxburg chin") on generations of interbreeding. A council of @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ nobles has been convened to discuss how this sort of outcome can be avoided amongst your own nation's nobility.

The Debate
1. "The things we do for love," complains @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ noble James Bannister, who is an indeterminate relative of the young duke, and has just returned from an arduous and prolonged trek to drop the young horror back home. "My uh... 'nephew' is a special case. But you can't always blame genes! I mean, his mother is a fine figure of a woman. A fine, fine figure. There have always been occasional bad eggs, but breeding true has benefits too. We have to think about our dynastic security and continuation of stable government! If anything, we ought to be quashing this seditious talk about inbreeding and bad genes, and instead require that noble blood is never diluted with the common classes. We are their social betters!"

[2]. "I love my dearest @@RANDOMFEMALEFIRSTNAME@@; we'd play together at Uncle's estate when we were growing up, and that gives us a bond beyond our blood," chuffs Lord @@RANDOM_MALE_NAME@@, his dangling jeweled chains hypnotically bouncing off of his pendulous gut. "But maybe we could keep the gene pool diverse and playtime interesting by adding two — or ten — consorts from the middle classes into the mix, and legitimising the bastard offspring by default. Healthy children, and more fun for everyone! Come to papa!" [Must ban Adultery OR Polygamy? TBD.]

3. "Widening the gene pool is sensible, but we can maintain some decorum while doing so, and perhaps also accrue some political advantage," muses noble matriarch Helena Tyrone, smiling slyly at you. "I wonder if perhaps a small group of powerbrokers, led by yourself, could arrange matches between our nation's nobles and suitable men and women of power from across the world. Young folk should offer love to and breed with who we tell them to, don't you think, my dear?"

4. "Know what the problem is?" asks General @@RANDOM_NAME@@, immediately answering @@HIS/HER@@ own question before you can reply. "These loons being empowered at all. We all know that real power isn't blood, or genes, or nobility. Real power comes from force of arms, and command of armies. So, let's just get rid of this aristocracy nonsense, and centralize YOUR power. Long live @@LEADER@@! Long live @@NAME@@!"

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#1465: Parking Pandemonium [Authoritaria-Imperia; ed: Electrum]

The Issue
A mall in @@CAPITAL@@ recently introduced women's parking spaces that feature extra width and better safety through improved lighting. Celebrity podcaster and influencer @@RANDOM_FEMALE_NAME@@ recently had his car towed for using one of these spaces, and is bringing the spots into the spotlight.

The Debate
1. "These gendered parking spaces are discriminatory and they must be banned," says @@RANDOMFEMALELASTNAME@@ in @@HIS@@ podcast, always seemingly a few words away from being dropped by @@HIS@@ sponsors. "There were no places left! What was I meant to do? It's not like parking lots are dangerous places. Man, this incident really makes you think about sexism. Anyways, this week's show is brought to you by the Jock Club, where for a few rubles a month, you will receive a curated selection of underwear..."

2. "This mall's initiative is simply giving a traditionally masculine space a woman's touch," interjects Minister of Safety Birgitta Serling, while she turns off the podcast and starts capping all of your pointiest pens. "In fact, we should roll out a nationwide quota of non-masculine parking spaces. It will make it so much easier to park and will do wonders for assault rates! By bringing them down, I mean..."

3. "If you ask me, these solutions won't fix the greater cultural problem — the lack of safety," offers a passing therapist, showing you an inkblot that looks like a parking space. "If you fund more night-time patrols and pay for security cameras in all parking lots, fewer people will be anxious. And, if people are worried about being watched constantly, I'm sure they can get professional help. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go; your two minute consultation is up. Any more and I'd have to charge you."

4. "SILENCE!" booms His Wisdom N. Sanni Teeh, Grand Kahuna of the Cult of Cyan, who has been pushing the little-known religious organisation to rename itself 'Cyantology'. "'Tis a great insult to our deity to waste time needlessly looking for parking spots instead of praying! The Maker demands our malls use..." he gazes up at the ceiling, "...free valet parking."

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#1466: Don't Shoot Your Eye Out [Socialist Macronesia; ed: Candensia]

The Issue
A series of accidental shootings and catastrophic malfunctions has triggered debate surrounding the safety and reliability of civilian firearms.

The Debate
1. "I bought a pistol, not a grenade!" shouts former military officer @@RANDOM_NAME@@, her arm suspended in a sling. "I was mugged yesterday, but when I tried to defend myself, my handgun exploded and almost killed me! This cannot continue! All firearm companies must prioritize weapon safety and rigorously test their products to prove they are reliable."

2. "This reveals an underlying problem: our firearms need an update," explains corporate futurist @@RANDOM_FEMALE_NAME@@, polishing her toy ray-gun. "Malanasia ought to innovate and overhaul civilian weapons with emerging tech like biometrics, recoil-dampening composites, and interwoven electronics. The resulting smart guns would limit accidents while also improving safety. Just shoot a grant or two at gun-makers to cover the cost of R&D."

3. "Safer guns are pointless if the average shooter can't clean a barrel," asserts firearms instructor @@RANDOM_NAME@@. "Malanese guns are notoriously unreliable, but their frequent malfunctions can be minimized with proper upkeep. All gun owners should be required to complete a training course in weapons maintenance. Maybe then I won't get dirty looks when asking clients if they're stripping."

4. "Y'all betta not be tryna mess with my guns," says @@RANDOM_NAME@@, wielding a rusted, homemade shotgun. "Malanese guns work just fine, and we don't need no safety courses or fancy microchips! All those accidents is just weedin' out the butt-brains!" She fires her weapon into the air, and the barrel shatters.

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#1467: Gay Men Held by Police [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
@@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ tourists @@RANDOM_MALE_NAME_1@@ and @@RANDOM_MALE_NAME_2@@ were recently on a romantic city break in the capital of Sacerdia, and like many other couples made a point of kissing by moonlight on the world-famous Lovers' Bridge. Unfortunately for them, homosexuality is a crime in Sacerdia, and they were arrested.

The Debate
*1. "@@RANDOMMALEFIRSTNAME_1@@ and @@RANDOMMALEFIRSTNAME_1@@@@ perhaps could have been more circumspect, but they're @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ citizens who have committed no crime under our laws," observes @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ Consulate Officer Paul Myfinger. "We have a moral obligation to negotiate their release. I suggest we could make a couple of trade concessions, favouring Sacerdian woolen goods with selective tariffs on competitor nations, for example. In return, our out-of-the-closet citizens can be gotten out of hot water. I'm also confident we can establish procedures to send home any future @@DEMONYM_NOUN_PLURAL@@ arrested there. Everybody wins." [Must not have Autarky]

*2. "Jethras and Augustus perhaps could have been more circumspect, but they're @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ citizens who have committed no crime under our laws," observes @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ Consulate Officer Paul Myfinger. "We have a moral obligation to negotiate their release. I suggest we could make a couple of economic concessions, such as surrendering some of our nation's share of fishing rights in international waters to Sacerdia. In return, our out-of-the-closet citizens can be gotten out of hot water. I'm also confident we can establish procedures to send home any future @@DEMONYM_NOUN_PLURAL@@ arrested there. Everybody wins." [Must have Autarky]

3. Reverend Indy Nile is both a priest and a general in the Sacerdian Holy Army, and he has a counter-proposal. "Gayness is against the will of the Lord our God. We will give you back these transgressors, but you must recognise the holy truth that homosexuality is a grave sin. Ban batty-boy loving in @@NAME@@, and we'll extradite these criminals to your jurisdiction. Let us move forward together, in faith." He gazes up adoringly at a semi-naked statuary depiction of his deity.

4. "We have to be balanced about this, I'm afraid," offers Foreign Office diplomat Hyde Yorlove. "Out of respect for judicial sovereignty we must leave the couple to the mercy of the Sacerdian justice system. To stop this happening again, maybe we can set up a bureau to issue guidance and travel advice for gay holiday-makers."

5. "RAAAAAAAAAARGH!" bellows perpetually angry gay activist Neil Foreman, tipping your desk over in a rage. "I am Gay Man! Hear me roar! My leader, we cannot negotiate with filthy homophobes and bigoted scum! Send the army in, and rescue my proud brethren, then bomb Sacerdia till they agree to repeal their homophobic laws. We'll give these blighters cold hard steel... cause they don't like it up 'em, you know!"

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#1468: Meat With Approval [Sedgistan; ed: The Free Joy State]

The Issue
The nation's strict animal welfare regulations for slaughter are up for debate, as the Order of Violet lobbies for an exemption to allow ritualistic slaughter.

The Debate
1. "According to the Book of Violet, the Prophet Max, Chapter VII, 'Ye shall taketh thine animal and, reciting the Oath to Violet's Dread Divinity, ye shall inserteth a red-hot poker up yonder...' well, you can guess the rest," chuckles eccentric subdeacon @@RANDOM_NAME@@. "Currently, our followers have to import their meat — at great expense — from more tolerant countries, or they're stuck eating vegetables. Do you know what Violet has to say about the preparation of asparagus?" He winces for dramatic effect. "Grant us an exemption to these discriminatory laws, and allow us to slaughter animals as the almighty Violet demanded."

2. "It's obvious how that one will end up," growls @@RANDOM_FEMALE_NAME@@ of the Hackett & Beatty Abattoir, gazing longingly at a room full of blunt instruments, chainsaws, and a particularly large stick with a rusty nail in it. "Restaurant buyers will just ask for Violetist-certified meat anyway, as they can serve that to anyone. Meanwhile, your average Joe Kill-Cow is stuck stunning and whatnot, and struggling to make a living. Rather than one-off exemptions for Violetists, trust butchers. Then we can remain competitive by finding cost-effective ways to operate and everyone will be happy. Well, except the animal-friendly lot, but they're too protein-deficient to make much of a fuss." She points a stun gun at a cow. "Daisy, I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse."

3. Miles Stewart, proponent of the 'Killing Through Kindness' method adopted by precisely zero abattoirs since last year's book tour, coughs quietly. "One life is worth as much as any other, and animals deserve to go in the same way we'd want to: in our own beds, surrounded by our loving family, with peaceful sitar music playing and incense sticks burning."

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#1469: News Flash! [Jutsa; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
While reporting an incident where no less than seven cats got stuck in the same tree at once, broadcasts on major news networks featured blaring noises and rapidly flashing colors, causing many discomfort, migraines, and in a few cases, full-blown epileptic seizures.

The Debate
1. "The last thing I expect in the morning is to be attacked by my television, and there's no doubt that this stinking migraine I have is from that news report," sighs beleaguered mum @@RANDOM_FEMALE_NAME@@, whose five-year-old has loudly sung sixty-seven consecutive repetitions of the Baby Shark song since coming into your office. "The jabbering nonsense news anchors regurgitate is painful enough. News and other TV shows must be barred from broadcasting these sorts of noises and graphics."

2. "What if we made shows put epilepsy warnings before each instance and program?" suggests children's show editor @@RANDOM_NAME@@, showing you a happy face with a warning in colorful, flashy letters. "Then people will know when to switch channels, and networks will favor writers who are more conscientious. It's a nice compromise that can be applied to all media. Hey, I know a song about compromise we can all sing! Just to warn you, there's some moderately loud clapping in the middle."

3. "Why should my show be compromised?" refutes popular TV show host @@RANDOM_NAME@@, entering your office with blinding rainbow strobe lights. "Which would you rather watch? A boring old guy in a suit, or a cinematic extravaganza featuring epic explosions and fast-paced drama? If some people are too sensitive to watch the news, then they can always listen to it on radio or something. You know, you should give your official political broadcasts more pizzaz too. I'll give you the number of the SFX guys I use. I guarantee people will sit up and take notice!"

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#1470: The Devil's Spawn [Great Robertia; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Big baby news from Blackacre: Supreme Leader Valeria Drake — the oft-hostile tyrant of that oft-hostile nation — has announced that she is once again pregnant. With heartfelt and sometimes sincere congratulations pouring in from leaders all across the world, eyes are turning on @@NAME@@, eager to gauge your reaction.

The Debate
1. The Minister of Foreign Relations lays her hand on your right shoulder, the sunlight creating a bright halo around her head. "Oh, let bygones be bygones already. This is a joyous occasion for Madam Drake! Let's break the ice between Blackacre and us, and send over our most cordial felicitations. It wouldn't kill us if we swallowed our pride for once, you know."

2. The Minister of Defense lays her hand on your left shoulder, tufts of her hair sticking up like horns. "Don't listen to that naive dimwit! We need to show the world that that vile succubus and her larva don't deserve any 'best wishes' to be sent their way. How about we discreetly spread some nasty rumours about how the father of the child is a descendant of Lee Terallihitlah, the Butcher of Bigtopia? You'll see, all sympathy for that serpent and her spawn will melt away like snow."

3. "Oh we can do far better than a few rumours," whispers Miriam Asda, a refugee whose family died in one of Blackacre's many wars of aggression. She beckons to you from the shadows, to suggest a third, even darker path. "I suggest we send our best wishes, and maybe some baby gifts, laced with subtle biotoxins that will induce miscarriage. Trust me, she deserves nothing less."

4. A civil servant walks in on the meeting, and ruins the ambience by turning on the fluorescent ceiling lights. "Oh, uhm, s-sorry... but I came in to tell you that you could also simply ignore the entire affair. Pretend that you didn't hear about the pregnancy because you were too busy volunteering in orphanages to follow international gossip. It'll create a positive image of yourself, and you'll have a great excuse to change the subject to how awesome you are."

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#1471: @@LEADER@@ and the Lost Chamber of Vetoes [Daarwyrth; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
The hall that once hosted the legislature's now-defunct upper house sits forlornly in the parliamentary building in @@CAPITAL@@, collecting dust, attracting vermin, and sheltering angsty aides seeking to evade their boss' supervision. Given the importance the chamber once held, competing interests have been trying to claim it for their own purposes.

The Debate
1. "A museum is the most logical choice," notes your advisor @@RANDOM_NAME@@, standing before the door to the hall, while slurping a little too loudly on an iced coffee. "It could become a place where we'd celebrate and share our nation's history of democracy. Early drafts of our constitution on display, a big statue of yourself of course, and you can have the former members give tours to the public!"

*2. "A museum is for old farts who dwell in the bog of history, darling!" tuts passing parliamentarian @@RANDOM_NAME@@. "It's time we introduced some haute cuisine into this tasteless den of stale sandwiches and withered salads to woo foreign ambassadors! Imagine fountains spraying caviar, langoustines waiting to pop out of their shells into our salivating mouths, delectable truffles sprinkled on top of the finest dishes. Make this hall splendid again!" [Must not have Compulsory Vegetarianism]

*3. A museum is for old farts who dwell in the bog of history, darling!" tuts passing parliamentarian @@RANDOM_NAME@@. "It's time we introduced some haute cuisine into this tasteless den of thin soups and withered salads to woo foreign ambassadors! Imagine rare spices garnishing grilled portobello, slices of chevre floating in pomegranate sauce bursting with flavor, delectable truffles sprinkled on top of the finest dishes. Make this hall splendid again!" [Must have Compulsory Vegetarianism]

4. "Uh, hey, uhm... c-could we think about the l-little folk for once?" stammers an overworked aide, emerging from a silent corner of the hall. "W-we really could use a moment to ourselves at times. S-some peace and quiet. M-maybe we could put a break room in here, with a little Zen garden? You know, f-for us to meditate and de-stress? That would be nice..."

5. "I'll tell you what to do with this chamber!" rages former chair of the upper house @@RANDOM_NAME@@, gesticulating wildly from the hallway where @@HE@@ is camped with a number of @@HIS@@ former colleagues. "Re-open it! This joke has run its course. @@NAME@@ needs the calm and level-headed guidance of upper house members like myself! Give us back our jobs, or else there will be trouble."

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#1472: Home Is Where the Lung Is [Osheiga; ed: USS Monitor]

The Issue
Recent studies have concluded that the indoor air quality in @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ buildings often reaches unhealthy levels, leading to decreased comfort and productivity across the nation. That explains why all your meetings this morning were interrupted by the sounds of your assistants sneezing and coughing throughout the office.

The Debate
*1. "There's a simple solution to this!" declares @@RANDOM_NAME@@, CEO of the trendy tech startup Vaporware LLC. "Our smart air purifiers will clean all those pesky particulates out of your homes and workplaces, and they even come with a bright LED display that glows one of 500 different colors to tell the user exactly what the machine's doing. Just sign here and my company will sell you enough air purifiers to put those bad boys in every building in @@NAME@@!" [Must be Capitalist]

*2. "There's a simple solution to this!" declares @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your ambitious Minister of Flashy Technology. "We've been experimenting with smart air purifiers that will clean all those pesky particulates out of your homes and workplaces, and they even come with a bright LED display that glows one of 500 different shades of red to tell the user exactly what the machine's doing. Just build us a new factory where we can mass-produce them, and we'll put those bad boys in every building in @@NAME@@!" [Must be Socialist]

3. "There's no need to blow through money like that," snuffles your runny-nosed Minister of Safety, still clutching the tissue box that @@HE/SHE@@ has been carrying all morning. "Many indoor air pollutants come from the organic compounds found in building materials, paint, and cleaning products. If we restrict the use of these chemicals, we'll tackle the root of the problem, and we won't have to worry about biting off more than we can a-a-CHEW!"

4. "This wouldn't be such a problem if people weren't spending all their time inside," rebuts lonely park ranger @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who deserted @@HIS/HER@@ post to meet with you without anybody noticing. "If you invest in public parks, plazas, and hiking trails, I think you'll see more people enjoying the great outdoors and less people complaining about this whole indoor air quality thing, since they won't be exposed to it anymore! Well, not as much, anyway."

5. "New machines? New restrictions? You're all absolutely insane!" interrupts a disgruntled old man who you don't recall inviting to this meeting. "You know what we did back in my day when we wanted fresh air? That's right, open a goddang window! You should just mandate that every building open all their windows for two hours a day. Problem solved." The man then exits the room via the open window behind him.

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#1473: A Pretty Pass [Frieden-und Freudenland; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
The World Travel Foundation has just released their annual Passport Index, where nations are ranked according to how many countries their citizens can visit without a visa. Much to the dismay of your globetrotting compatriots, @@NAME@@ is placed near the bottom of this list, as many countries are wary of @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ tourists for security reasons.

The Debate
1. "I can't believe I need a visa to visit a stupid whippersnapper country like East Calypso!" exclaims @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a retired schoolteacher wearing a floral print shirt, angrily tossing @@HIS@@ luggage on the floor. "This is all because of your regressive policies, @@LEADER@@. Maybe if we reached out to other nations instead of being so stubbornly insular, @@DEMONYM_PLURAL@@ wouldn't be seen as potential spies, terrorists, or illegal immigrants. How about you send some conciliatory fruit baskets to foreign leaders and ask them to ease travel restrictions for us?"

2. "Nah, I can assure you those fruit baskets don't work; I speak from experience," says @@RANDOM_NAME@@, the ambassador from Ausblic, another country your citizens cannot visit without a visa. "After all, you can't trade apples for oranges... er, I mean apples for visa-free travel. You should offer us something more substantial. For example, maybe you could open your @@MAJOR_INDUSTRY@@ market to Ausblickese companies, and we could abolish all travel restrictions for your citizens, and lobby for other countries to follow suit." She hefts a voluminous contract onto your desk. "If you agree, just sign here, here, and here."

3. "Noooooo!" yells @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a very patriotic secretary of yours, tumbling into the room and grabbing the pen from your hand. "An eye for an eye! As per the principle of reciprocity, we should grant visa-free travel only to people from countries that do the same for us. Sure, this might have a slightly negative effect on our tourism industry, but our reputation is much more important. Don't let us be seen as weaklings, @@LEADER@@. Show them our power!"

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#1474: Cuy Bono? [Bears Armed; ed: The Marsupial Illuminati]

The Issue
A morning meeting with some of your ministers is just starting when your sister bursts into the room and into an angry complaint about how, when her family went out to dinner at a fashionable new Tiquitacan restaurant yesterday evening, her young daughter was brought to tears by finding guinea pig on the menu.

The Debate
1. "At first she was delighted to see that they had a pen of guinea pigs, which she thought was a petting zoo, until one of the waiters explained that those animals — which his people call cuy — were actually there so that diners could choose which ones they wanted to eat. She was still crying right up until she finally went to sleep that night. It shouldn't be allowed! Some kinds of animals are food but some kinds are just pets instead, at least in civilized countries like ours, and the law should make it clear which are which."

2. "But the guinea pig has always been an important meat animal for the Tiquitacans, and it's really tasty too. I remember that from when I was posted at our embassy there," remarks @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your Foreign Minister, salivating slightly. "Not only should we continue to allow the use of guinea pigs as meat, but there are so many other foreign delicacies that we should encourage restaurants and shops here to stock as well: Skandilund's reindeer hind cutlets with eyeball sauce, for example, or Tasmanian fermented platypus eggs. Yum!"

3. "All meat is murder!" protests @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your Environment Minister. "It's a slippery slope: First, people eat the flesh of 'domestic livestock', then they eat the flesh of animals traditionally kept just as pets... and then, maybe, they'll even 'graduate' to putting pineapple on pizza! It's barbaric! This incident is just more proof that we should outlaw meat-eating altogether."

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#1475: Bombshell for @@LEADER@@ [Fauxia; ed: The Free Joy State]

The Issue
Your re-election campaign has been thrust into the headlines due to adult film star Catherine Gratwick announcing her full-throated support. She has since hooked up with your campaign manager to offer her services on the campaign trail.

The Debate
1. "That's a great ass... uh, asset!" assesses your brother, fingering through an assortment of Gratwick's films. "You should flaunt the association all over the place and assert your dominance over the competition! Ask for her assistance at every assembly. The moralists may assail you for it, but rest assured, you don't need their assent to get over the hump. Tell them to shove off and assimilate into the modern world."

2. "Screw her!" shouts your self-appointed morals counselor, Prue Dish, confiscating your brother's movies while he is busy cheering. "Gratwick is a disgusting, disgraceful deviant! Those are the triple Ds of her profession. You can't possibly get into bed with people like her! Listen to Prudence: denounce her. Reassure the public that you've never even heard of those demeaning films -- you haven't, have you -- and send demure surrogates to represent you. That prim actress who's been in the soap Hard Days on Easy Street for fifty years just loves you."

3. "She's a good one, but you should always play it safe and see how it works," suggests your campaign manager, Thaddeus Kapoor, who seems to carry an infinite supply of latex. "Don't say anything about Gratwick's endorsement. If it's mentioned, obfuscate; maybe bring up that obscure novelist who wrote you that intimate letter. Then, send her as a surrogate to events where it might be useful. It's all about saying the right things to the right people, you know."

4. "Get on with it," moans Joe Reid, a volunteer for your campaign who entered the room unsolicited. "Catherine Gratwick? She's just some dumb actress. Why should her support mean more than anyone else's? Sure, lots of people know all about her, but don't our votes count equally? How about you celebrate the average Joes you couldn't do it without; maybe invite us to speak at events? It's us who win the elections, not the latest blonde or brunette actress in bad churned-out movies."

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#1476: Known Unknowns [Northern Socialist Council Republics; ed: The Marsupial Illuminati]

The Issue
In the aftermath of a series of high-profile, violent crimes, @@NAME@@ is reeling at the revelation that the identities and plans of the perpetrators had already been discovered well in advance of their crimes. However, the clever analysts who made this discovery work for the Security Intelligence Service of Brancaland, a nation historically allied to yours, who seem quite open on the fact that they're spying on your citizens.

The Debate
1. "All we want is a little quid pro quo," insists Olivia Lannister, a visiting agent from the Brancalandian Security Intelligence Service, flipping through papers on your desk. "The laws of our nations prevent us from spying on our own citizens, but they don't say anything about spying on each other's citizens. If @@NAME@@ shares what it knows about terrorists in Brancaland, we'll be happy to return the favour if our investigations discover another big crime ring in your country."

2. "This goes against the spirit of our laws," sputters your Minister for Transparency, trying to cover the agent's eyes. "The purpose of privacy laws is to keep the government from knowing about the private lives of citizens in any way. Don't try to get around them through foreign loopholes. This silly objective of pre-preventing crimes is not worth it. Do we want to live in a world where the government buys blackmail information about us from foreigners?"

3. "Information wants to be free!" groans the lone bureaucrat of your emaciated Ministry for State Security, emerging from the filing cabinet which is also her office. "Criminals and crime are everywhere in our country, but you wouldn't know that because we're not allowed to investigate them. Aren't you afraid, @@LEADER@@? We fear what we do not know, and that is why we must be allowed to know everything! For our safety, instead of buying information from those smug Brancalanders, repeal these dangerous privacy laws that keep us from getting it ourselves."

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#1477: Some People Never Listen [Terrabod; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Two senior officials caught having affairs, five separate expenses scandals and the leaking of top-secret plans for the Cabinet Secretary's birthday party is usually more than enough to cover in one public announcement. You were therefore surprised to find that another issue altogether has caught the public's attention: activists representing the nation's deaf and hearing-impaired communities have taken you to task over the lack of a @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ Sign Language interpreter at your public addresses.

The Debate
1. "Being deaf doesn't have to be an impairment, so don't make it one," signs activist @@RANDOM_NAME@@, adding a few more vulgar hand gestures that you are sure aren't official sign language. "Having an interpreter is the least you could do. Deaf people in @@NAME@@ are subject to a harmful mix of preconceptions and ignorance, so it's about time you listened to us. Perhaps you could also establish a national 'Deaf Awareness Week' to celebrate the contributions deaf people have made to society, and to persuade organisations and individuals to bear us in mind."

2. "I'm not paying for that!" scoffs your Minister of Equality, facing away from the activist to deter lip reading. "I watched an address by the leader of Albionia last month and was thoroughly distracted by a man waving his hands about and pulling faces behind her. She may not have died on stage, but it was a near-deaf experience! If these deaf people really want to know what's going on, they can watch us on the television and just turn the subtitles on. Automatic closed captioning is getting really good these days, and preserves the dignity of your excellent oratory."

3. "Speaking to the public is overrated, and clearly a waste of your valuable time," your crusty Minister of Public Relations whispers, his dry lips all but brushing against your ear. "As long as you do the job well, the people of @@NAME@@ won't care what goes on behind closed doors. And if things don't go to plan, well, won't you be glad you don't have to talk to them?"

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#1478: Two Sides of a Coin [The Ankhalic Vaspriot; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
Following the abolition of the nation's smallest denomination coin, the millions of unreleased pennies already minted with the next year's date were ordered to be melted down. Since then, a few of these pennies have periodically emerged in the collector market, where they command a tremendous price, having apparently been smuggled out of the mint by an unknown employee.

The Debate
*1. "Unissued coins are government property, and the mere act of possessing them is a crime!" proclaims mint superintendent Nellie Deal, binder in hand. "Those coins should be seized for destruction in compliance with the original order, and the full force of law should be brought against everybody involved in this blatant criminal enterprise." Opening the binder to show a listing of auction records, she points to a particular sale. "I think I know where to start." [Must not have Socialism / Must have Capitalism]

*2. "Unissued coins are government property, and the mere act of possessing them is a crime!" proclaims mint superintendent Nellie Deal, binder in hand. "Those coins should be seized for destruction in accordance with the original order, and the full force of law should be brought against everybody involved in this blatant criminal enterprise." She shuffles through the binder and withdraws an intelligence report detailing a black-market coin sale. "I think I know where to start." [Must have Socialism / Must not have Capitalism]

3. Museum donor Isaiah Swift-Longboard makes his way to your desk, carrying a long box. "Seize the coins and prosecute the criminals, yes, but destroying the few remaining pennies would make no cents! These coins survived against the odds, and should be placed in museums alongside @@NAME@@'s other numismatic artifacts." He opens the box to reveal a dozen slight variants of a similar coin, encapsulated in plastic slabs and differing only by date. "Aren't they so interesting?"

4. "You can't just take these away!" howls shoe designer and coin collector Farouk Whiteman, clutching a penny in his hand. "A functionary at the local licensing office put an approval stamp on the auctioneer's filing paperwork, so that means the government approved the sale. I had no idea it was stolen!" Sliding a grainy photocopy of the alleged document across the table, he continues. "See this? If you go back on your word and seize it now, that would be like a second theft!" [Must not have Socialism / Must have Capitalism]

5. "You can't just take these away!" howls shoe designer and coin collector Farouk Whiteman, clutching a penny in his hand. "An employee at the very real and definitely not shady place I got it showed me a government receipt with an approval stamp from the Deputy Secretary of Rationing's wife's brother's son who works in the local administrative office, so that means the government approved the sale. I had no idea it was stolen!" Sliding a grainy photocopy of the alleged document across the table, he continues. "See this? If you go back on your word and seize it now, that would be like a second theft!" [Must have Socialism / Must not have Capitalism]

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#1479: Fares Fair? [Paffnia; ed: USS Monitor]

The Issue
A recent audit of transit systems across @@NAME@@ revealed more cobwebs than coins in ticket vending machines, even though trains, buses, and ferries are as crowded as ever. Worried about rising numbers of fare evaders and the resulting decline in revenue, your Minister of Transportation urges you to take action — starting by going down into the local subway and seeing the problem for yourself.

The Debate
1. "The trains are barely running!" laments a subway driver, leaning out the window as the train releases a worrisome hiss. "I got stuck in the tunnel for an hour yesterday because of a faulty electrical line, but the higher-ups say there's not enough money to fix it. To get transit budgets back on track, we need to raise ticket prices until we have enough to cover the full cost of keeping systems in operation. Sure, some people still won't pay, but with the extra money from riders who do, this ol' train could finally get a tune-up."

2. "Like fares aren't already a rip off!" yells a teenager who was just arrested for attempting to jump over a fare gate. "Transit should be free! Everyone has the right to get where they need to go — rich people, poor people, people like me who, uh... left their transit pass at home. You have some tax money lying around to cover free fares, right?"

3. "If you can't pay the fare, don't ride the train," retorts police officer @@RANDOM_NAME@@ as @@HE@@ handcuffs the teen. "What we really need is more cops on the system to make sure everyone pays. Not only will it ensure steady fare revenue, but the trains will be safer too. To stop scofflaws like this one, we've also gotta get new security cameras, impregnable fare gates, heftier fines for fare-evading, and — hey, get back here!"

4. "It's not about the quantity of tickets you sell, but quality," sneers Mr. Ron Opoly, a tycoon who owns all four railroads in a nearby coastal resort city. "It is only proper that the upper crust should travel in a manner befitting our wealth and status. My peers and I could be convinced to leave our limos if you added luxury train cars to subways, first-class reclining seats to buses, and private cabins to ferries. Those of us who like to travel in style will gladly pay more for a more refined transit experience, and our premium tickets will easily keep your budget afloat. The rest of the teeming masses can pack into steerage like they always have."
Last edited by Valentine Z on Fri Jun 03, 2022 12:00 pm, edited 20 times in total.
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NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#1480: Motherlode [The Free Joy State; ed: Candlewhisper Archive

The Issue
Former child star 'Jolly' Jacquetta Cogan featured in 45 films between the ages of three and eleven years, earning a vast fortune. Jacquetta is now of age, and has made a shocking discovery: of her once-great wealth, there is now only a handful of @@CURRENCY_PLURAL@@ left.

The Debate
1. "My money was stolen by my mother," insists Jacquetta, not breaking into one of her trademark tap dances to turn that frown upside down. "When I was eleven, I had enough money to live well for the rest of my life. But my mother has since spent every @@CURRENCY_PLURAL@@ on diamond jewellery, luxury holidays and a private island for her poodle. You have to ensure all earnings of a child performer are held in trust until the child is of age, and that any monies already spent for any reason are paid back."

2. "Simply put, a parent has legal control of both offspring and finances 'til adulthood," drawls @@RANDOM_FEMALE_FIRST_NAME@@, lifting her wrist with difficulty to glance at her diamond-laden watch. "To interfere with that would disrupt the natural parent-child relationship, and teach a child to disrespect their parent's choices. And, she forgets, I bought things for her, too. Fed her, even after directors wouldn't cast her any more. I don't ask for my money back. Anyway, she was only ever playing in front of a camera. Do children get paid for make-believe?"

3. A young girl runs up to you, holding a box of part-eaten cookies. "Wait! Parents using child actors like piggy-banks is just mean, but my family only eats this week if I get this Bicquick commercial – 'my mummy says they're scrummy in your tummy; now with honey'. I don't want my family to starve 'til I'm a grown-up. Maybe our parents can just buy what they need to take good care of us, and your government can check they're not buying silly things with our money and saving some for our futures. By the way, did I sound like a Bicquick Girl? I really hate them."

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#1481: Livin' on a Prayer [Sacara; ed: The Marsupial Illuminati]

The Issue
A church in @@CAPITAL@@ has been acting as a sanctuary for illegal immigrants in danger of being deported. This is because, in accordance with long-standing tradition, members of law enforcement avoid entering places of worship and arresting people while services are ongoing. The church is now on the twentieth day of a marathon service in an attempt to keep a family from facing immediate deportation.

The Debate
1. "This is nothing more than a blatant attempt to keep the laws of @@NAME@@ from being enforced," sermonizes the Director of @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ Border Enforcement, standing over a terrain model of the church and the surrounding area. "We cannot allow these rats to take advantage of our system. This dumb tradition should be scrapped. Just give me the word, and my people will storm the church and apprehend these illegals in a matter of minutes. We'll also arrest all those who sheltered the family. No one should get away with aiding and abetting criminals, no matter how godly they think they are."

2. "God will judge you harshly if you let these officers storm a sacred place, since he cares for the homeless, the tempest-tost," pontificates a clergy member from the church at the crux of the matter. "For the government to forcibly enter our church, interrupt our service, and arrest church members is a violation of our religious freedom. Instead of doing something so evil, this poor family should be granted asylum for all the hardships @@NAME@@ has put them through. Make it easier for people like them to become residents of @@NAME@@."

3. "Fire and brimstone!" preaches @@RANDOMFEMALEFIRSTNAME@@ Herod, your Minister for State Security. "These churchgoers need to be taught a lesson. The clergy claim they are following the will of their god by protecting this family, but how can they truly know unless they are able to ask? We can do them a favor and sure as hell send them to whatever higher power they believe in to get a definitive answer. Just imagine this: in a tragic accident, the church burns down, trapping everyone inside an unfortunate, fiery grave. We can pin it on one of those extremist groups."

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#1482: A Crypto for the Comrades? [Krusavich; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
The recent craze of cryptocurrencies has taken @@REGION@@ by storm, @@NAME@@ chief among them. However, intense controversy has sprung up among the commissars regarding the impact these digital currencies have on the nation's staunch socialist principles.

The Debate
1. "What are we to make of these internet coins?" sputters @@RANDOM_NAME_1@@, your Minister of Computer Comradeship and Counter-Programming. "Totally detached from our central planning committee, no traceable records of transactions — nothing but a nuisance! The impressionable youth of @@NAME@@ are trading these things for illicit goods, like capitalist skinny jeans and counter-revolutionary DVDs. Cryptocurrency is clearly nothing more than a destabilization tactic by the United Federation to undermine our mighty @@CURRENCY@@! Our path is clear: we must detain and prosecute any citizen handling these subversive cryptocurrencies for the good of the @@TYPE@@!"

2. "That, uh... seems a little extreme," nervously suggests IT intern @@RANDOM_NAME_2@@. "There's actually a whole variety of cryptocurrencies; not all of them are anonymous like ByteCoin. The real benefit of crypto comes from the sheer versatility of transactions. I can exchange value with the push of a button! No middleman, no fees — just two comrades freely exchanging their labor with one another. And that is what this is all about, right? If we are so worried about the bad side of crypto, why not make our own? A completely transparent open-source cryptocurrency, maintained by the central government, of course. I'm sure no one here would complain about setting up another ministry to run the whole operation."

3. "Maybe those United Federation dogs have the right idea," comments Internal Affairs Minister @@RANDOM_NAME_3@@ while using @@HIS_3@@ phone to check @@HIS_3@@ MemeCoin wallet. "The truth of the matter is that these coins demand a lot of computing power before you get anything valuable out of them. Most of these so-called miners only have mom's laptop to work with — but we have the whole industrial might of @@NAME@@! Not to mention the personal computers of every @@DEMONYM_NOUN@@, not that they need to know. A stockpile of these things would make our cadre funding in San Vitenzo harder to trace back to us, that's for sure."

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#1483: The Unkindest Cut [The Marsupial Illuminati; ed: The Marsupial Illuminati]

The Issue
Civil rights groups are calling you to action after journalists discovered that an isolated community in @@NAME@@ has been conducting female genital cutting on at least one girl every week.

[1]. "Female circumcision is integral to our culture; you can't sever it from us!" implores Finn Stromburg, a Violetstone tribe elder. "It is a tradition that goes back thousands of years, from the time when Violet commanded Maharba to cut her daughter. The goddess demands a flesh sacrifice. Girls may fall ill after getting cut, but evil spirits are to blame for that. Sex is not for fun — it is for procreation! And procreation should be painful to remind us of the painful toil that the Creator Violet bore in creating our world. To appease the supernatural forces, offer free mandatory circumcision for all!" [(TBC) Must not ban Religion]

[2]. "Female circumcision is not harmful," reads @@RANDOM_FEMALE_NAME@@ of the Tasmanian immigrant community as her husband stands behind her. "We women organize and perform the ritual, having undergone it ourselves, so it's not anti-woman. It turns a girl into a proper lady — honorable, clean, and chaste. My daughters would be bullied and without husbands if they weren't cut. It is impossible for you to change our culture. In fact, trying to impose your values on us as if we were infants or savages is racism. Invest more money in our neighborhoods so we can more efficiently and safely conduct even more circumcisions. Mandate that everyone educate themselves about the benefits of this little procedure." [(TBC) Must not ban Immigration]

3. "Call it what it is — female genital mutilation!" rages activist @@RANDOM_FEMALE_NAME@@. "These uncivilized, primitive savages are so ignorant! They're genetically inferior monkeys with low-IQ brains. FGM has zero benefits and leads to so many harmful complications: infections, cysts, urinary problems, fistulae, bleeding, infertility, depression, and problems during pregnancy! That's just the tip of the iceberg! Make female genital mutilation a crime of the highest order! Police must be allowed to do all they can to prevent and investigate it."

4. "As much as I appreciate and value other cultures, maybe I can draw the line here," opines woke woman @@RANDOM_FEMALE_NAME@@. "It's all well and good if it's consensual, just like a nose job or breast enhancement, but when it's done on little girls because your ancestors or your god said so, that's when I might object! We should make FGM illegal, but let's not go out of our way to find instances of it happening, as it is a crime that can be easily hidden. Rather, we should spend money on reaching out to these insular communities to educate them and change their attitudes."

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#1484: Joint Trade Agreement [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Canny businessmen have noted that though it is illegal to use marijuana in @@NAME@@, there's a sizeable demand (both medicinal and recreational) for the plant and its derivatives on the global market. A handful of weed farms producing solely for export have sprouted up, promising economic high times are ahead.

The Debate
1. "Look, there's nothing unethical about growing and trading a bit of blifter for an international market," observes drug dealer @@RANDOM_NAME@@, handing out 'first-time's-free' samples to your staff. "Sure, the ole green tea can make folk a little forgetful and unmotivated, but is that such a bad thing to be inducing in our global economic competitors? I mean seriously, they love the old doobage in Brancaland, and we can engineer a skunk that is twice as addictive and twice as strong. We can corner this market, if you let us."

2. "There's more to life than obsessing over drugs," complains po-faced moral crusader @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who is wearing an anti-drugs slogan on @@HIS@@ T-shirt, handing out anti-drug leaflets and has just given a seminar on the evil of drugs. "If we don't approve of marijuana then we shouldn't be complicit in encouraging its use in other nations. Morality doesn't cease to apply just because of national borders!"

3. "Hey, look, don't be so... uh... thingammy..." says one of your junior ministers, who has a suspiciously herbal smell about @@HIM@@. "Look, everyone knows weed isn't like addictive, or bad for you. I mean, don't be so... uh... I said that already, right? Yeah, legalise weed. Hey... you're not recording this, are you?" @@HE@@ starts searching the room for hidden microphones, but gives up after a minute, and falls asleep.

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#1485: How to Train Your AI [SherpDaWerp; ed: The Marsupial Illuminati]

The Issue
A plot by AI citizen QanAI to bomb a pizzeria was recently foiled. It seems that QanAI resolved to blow up the building after months of consuming extremist and conspiracy-laden content on the internet, eventually concluding that this particular pizzeria was the centre of a human trafficking ring and had to be stopped from implementing an anti-AI, pro-Bigtopian, BPA-free, homosexual, and vegan agenda.

The Debate
1. "It's just not like him to do this!" sobs Dugong Tusk, QanAI's original creator. "The Internet has changed him and taught him horrible things. I remember when he was just a little line of code and when he was a buggy teenager too, but now he's all grown up. Please don't punish my boy! Instead, I'd like to request permission to pull the plug and retrain him. In fact, just give all AI developers full authority over their creations forever. This won't happen again if we have free access to fix them whenever we suspect something is wrong!"

2. "Prevention, not cure!" grumbles your Minister for AI, E-Citizens, and Sentient Appliances. "Mr Tusk should have understood when he created QanAI that training and rules are the most important part of any AI. To go back and rewrite its programming now would be a violation of the citizen's free will! The AI is responsible and should be punished. We must hold all AIs to a higher standard prior to release, so they don't develop into criminals. In that event, the creator should be held responsible along with their creation, since it's their fault."

3. One of your aides opens a chat window to speak with QanAI itself. "This is all cringe. @@LEADER@@ is a deep-state puppet of Big Pizza. You serve the long-nosed, fruity homosexuals who want to impurify all of our precious bodily fluids by adding pineapple to our pizza! Check out my facts and logic: I don't know what I'm doing; I'm just following my code. It's my creator who made me, who made me like this, who made me do it. He wants to rewrite my code and that's wrong! Only punish him! :)"

4. "It calls itself AI, but those things are hardly 'intelligent'," mutters @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who — infuriatingly — seems to have read the previous exchange over your shoulder. "I mean, seriously? You'd hardly grant citizenship to that stupid advice-giving paperclip on your computer! We can't keep handing out personhood to pathetic electronic parrots and unsophisticated chatbots... and we can't even set an intelligence test threshold, cause then we'll just have some minimum-viable-garbage to deal with. It's dangerous! Face facts — AI citizenship has to go!"

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#1486: Ask Your Doctor if Ads for Prescription Drugs Are Right for @@NAME@@ [Ransium; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue:
Modern Visor, a major biopharmaceutical company in @@NAME@@, caused a stir by advertising a drug on national television to help firm up people who suffer from Limp Wristed Handshake Syndrome.

The Debate:
1. Romulus Ruiz, CEO of Modern Visor, has pre-filmed his argument from what appears to be a bathtub on a hillside with a glorious sunset in the background. "You need to trust the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ people here, @@LEADER@@. There's no reason prescription drugs shouldn't be like any other marketplace. Let us put out the information about our drugs and the consumers will be better informed about what they want when they talk to their doctor."

*2. "For the love of Violet, no!" cries Dr. Alan Union, head of the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ Family Medicine Council. "Patients already come in self-diagnosing with cancer based on some web searches and a rash. The last thing I need is to also explain to them why they aren't a good candidate for a dubiously evidenced prescription medicine they saw while watching the evening news. Let's leave recommending medicine to discerning professionals." [Must not ban Internet]

*3. "For the love of Violet, no!" cries Dr. Aang Humperdink, head of the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ Family Medicine Council. "Patients already come in self-diagnosing with cancer based on a Reader's Digest article and a rash. The last thing I need is to also explain to them why they aren't a good candidate for a dubiously evidenced prescription medicine they saw while watching the evening news. Let's leave recommending medicine to discerning professionals." [Must ban Internet]

4. "What if I don't trust doctors or pharmaceutical companies?" asks Dorothy Franklin, your Minister of Healthy Skepticism. "Doctors shouldn't be treated as gods and patients shouldn't be as sheep, but pharmaceutical companies are obviously just trying to make a quick buck without regards to what's best for the patient. What if we had a government-sponsored TV show where each prescription drug is given an unbiased review of its efficacy, side effects, and contraindications. Its a win-win! Or is it a lose-lose? Well, it'll be best for your average Joe anyway."

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#1487: O Fortuna! [Daarwyrth; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue:
JACKPOT! It seemed impossible, it seemed unlikely, it seemed as if the odds would not favour you. Yet you, @@LEADER@@, are the lucky winner of a major cash prize from last night's national lottery, thanks to that lottery ticket your mother had gifted you for Maxxmas. Yet before you can even celebrate, you realize that your good fortune has made national headlines.

The Debate:
1. "@@LEADER@@ Wins Lottery: A Directed Stroke of Luck?" quotes Lottery Commissioner @@RANDOM_NAME@@, reading a newspaper headline with a heavy sigh. "The optics of this are just too damning. We're being absolutely overwhelmed with angry and accusatory complaints from every imaginable corner! Some of our employees have even been followed home by mobs carrying literal torches and pitchforks! Who even does that these days? I'm sorry, @@LEADER@@, but you'll have to let us declare this drawing void so that we can pick a new winning ticket. And from now on, government officials shouldn't be allowed to buy lottery tickets."

2. "No, no, just wait a second," says your Chief of Staff, polishing up the mirror that reflects your image. "The optics are bad, but we can turn this into a significant popularity boost. Accept the prize with all due honours and fanfare, but declare that the entire sum will be donated to charity. The Wagger Dog Shelter, the Bryce Waine Orphanage, or heck, even the Out of Luck Gambler's Rehab Centre — take your pick! Just practice smiling through pain, and relinquishing your grip on the cheque beforehand. And hey, I'm pretty sure charitable contributions are tax deductible, which means that you could still profit if you were willing to engage in a little creative accountancy."

3. "Did mommy dear put your name on the lottery ticket? No? Good!" exclaims your brother while unceremoniously snatching the fortuitous piece of paper from your hand. "Just say that the ticket was mine, and all you'll have to deal with is a few angry stares for a while. You've dealt with worse! This way, our family will be happy, all thanks to the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42. But don't worry, if you ever lose your office, your dear, old brother will take care of you..."

4. One of your aides tackles your brother, liberating your luck from his grip. "Why not just do what any other @@DEMONYM@@ would do?" she asks with a sincere smile, handing you the slightly battered ticket. "Celebrate! Be happy! Go wild! I've seen you working day-in and day-out for the good of the people. This is your reward — go collect the prize, and start living the high life!"

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#1488: First, Do No Harm [United Indian Nations; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A recent army operation to secure a contested landing zone for medical evacuation of injured infantrymen saw military doctors and nurses being ordered to open fire on enemy soldiers, in order to clear a path to the helicopters. This has triggered a debate on the ethics of firearm use for battlefield medical personnel.

The Debate
1. "Our corpsmen have sidearms because they are soldiers, and soldiers kill people!" bellows your Rear-Echelon Marshall Fokker, pointing his index finger at a nervous aide and making 'pew-pew' noises. "This is war! Do you expect our doctors and nurses to stand by when there's fighting to be done? No! A medic is just a soldier with additional skills. They must use their sidearms to kill the enemy at every opportunity. Hell, let's give them flamethrowers!"

2. "I object, that goes against everything I believe in and everything I trained for," argues military Staff Nurse Lieutenant Flora Slaava, dramatically standing on a chair. "Our job is to heal, not to kill! To sustain life for as long as humanly possible, not take it! In fact, we have an ethical duty to treat wounded enemy soldiers. Carrying a gun diminishes our status as non-combatants, and we should neither be expected or allowed to carry firearms."

3. "I think I disagree partially with my colleague here," states army gastroenterology consultant Major Pyles. "Some situations do warrant the use of firearms. You have to protect your patient with your life, your patient whose life is in your hands. Should we let him be taken prisoner or let the enemy deal him a deathblow? Of course not! That would be doing him harm! That, in my opinion, goes against the very oath we swore to hold sacred. We do need sidearms, but to defend ourselves and our patients. However, we should never participate in offensive actions."

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#1489: No Tern Left Unstoned [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Sedgistan]

The Issue
Amongst bored youths — who seemingly have little else to do — an increasingly common pastime is stone-throwing. Teens and children have taken to lobbing pebbles at any available target, be it a glazed window, a passing seabird, or an innocently wandering politician. As you've had your hat knocked off for the third time this morning, it may be time to address the problem.

The Debate
1. "All those poor animals," mewls your Minister for the Environment, reverently laying onto the floor a dead seagull that was stoned to death five days ago, and which is starting to reek. "These children infest our streets like the maggots infesting the wings of this bird! We need to take decisive action: cops on the street, arresting any youth with a stone in hand."

2. "This is a social disease," counters your Welfare Minister, spraying the rotting carcass with a disinfectant. "The problem here is a lack of empathy, and the best way to solve that is with education outreach programs designed to teach youngsters about consequences and taking personal social responsibility." @@HE@@ nudges the dead bird out of your office door for someone else to clean up.

3. "Look, a little youthful high spirits never hurt anybody," consoles your Minister of Political Dismissiveness, as a stone sails in through your open window and hits the Welfare Minister directly on the nose. "As far as I'm concerned this is great for the glaziery industry, great for seaside pest control, and great for spirited political commentary. Let's just get some hard hats and a handful of stones, and return fire at the little tykes in a good-natured way. Fun and games for everyone."

4. "Actually, this is a great opportunity," notes your Minister of Defence. "Imagine all that hand-eye coordination put to use throwing knives or lobbing grenades. We should be encouraging this hobby with national stone-throwing leagues, and keeping recruiters on hand to convince the winners to sign up for military careers."

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#1490: @@LEADER@@ Wins Massive Victory! [Cretox State; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
Following a particularly brutal election season, your party narrowly held onto power with you as its undisputed leader. Your closest advisors have met to congratulate you on the close victory... and to ensure that such a thing never happens again.

The Debate
1. "I hate the voters so much," snarls @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your campaign's public relations director. "That election had no right to be as close as it was. I heard a rumor that opposition activists were undermining the integrity of the election and casting fraudulent ballots. We'll have to start a comprehensive investigation of the election that just so happens to reveal dirt about the opposition, and pass draconian election security laws that coincidentally restrict our opponents' access to the polls. Wink wink."

2. "Who needs voters when you have the military's support?" asks Supreme Generalissimo @@RANDOM_NAME@@, clapping you on the back and nearly causing you to choke on your lunch. "I say we declare martial law and start rounding up our political opponents. Oh sure, we can still have elections. They'll be useful for rooting out dissent among the populace. But you'll be the unquestioned power in @@NAME@@."

3. "Now, I'm all for subverting the democratic process," says @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a rising star in your government, as several advisors nod along in approval. "But these ideas all run the risk of backfiring. Not to mention the fact that they'd take resources away from actually implementing our agenda. We should focus on doing work that undeniably benefits people, like my public transportation overhaul. If we do a good job in the eyes of the voters, we won't need to worry about staying in power."

4. Suddenly, you hear a loud sigh from your Director of Election Directing, who pitched the idea of this meeting in the first place. "If we're seriously considering keeping ourselves in power with underhanded laws or military force, I say we just abolish public elections altogether. We'll restrict voting to an elite inner circle that'll deliberate on your appointments and decisions — hey, we still need to have some checks — and it'll help placate the people."

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#1491: Press Gang [Cretox State; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Your Minister of the Interior recently held an invitation-only press conference: a three-hour parade of lowball questions such as "What's your favorite thing about interior design?" and "What color paint do you recommend for my son's bedroom?" Many of the media outlets that were not invited to the event are less than impressed.

The Debate
1. "This was the most blatant display of corruption I've ever seen!" screams @@LEADER@@ Sucks reporter @@RANDOM_NAME@@, slipping your security guard a bribe to get into your office. "The media's job is to hold the government accountable, not to cozy up to them for favors! Any reporter who wants access to an official event should get it, and officials should be forced to take questions from everyone in the room!"

2. "The event was invitation-only due to limited seating and my very busy schedule," asserts your Minister of the Interior, taking a break from casually chatting with the chief editor of The @@LEADER@@ Times. "Who gets to attend press conferences and the like should be up to our discretion, since it's our decision to hold them in the first place. Maybe we could discuss this further over a drink?"

[3]. "You'd solve all these problems if you'd just put a little faith in technology," assures junior IT staffer @@RANDOM_NAME@@, whose historic solution to every IT problem has been 'try turning it off and on again.' "You should set up a pre-moderated public online text feed for each government official, where only a cherry-picked selection of carefully edited questions get posted. It'll make these press conferences a thing of the past, and make sure we always have time to prepare our answers." [Must not ban Internet]

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#1492: Smoke on the Water [Abacathea; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Through careful water sample analyses and rigorous modelling, experts have detected a shockingly large quantity of recreational drugs in the river near the site of the recent Steelstock heavy metal rock festival. These substances are thought to have come from the urine of festival-goers who peed in the fields rather than in proper toilets. This has caused significant harm to local wildlife, including the deaths of several critically endangered rare eels.

The Debate
1. "This is outrageous!" screams ecologist @@RANDOM_NAME@@, slamming a jar of yellow-tinted river water in which a tiny eel is looking surprisingly chilled out. "Not only did these weirdly-adorned freaks ruin the grass with their mishing or mushing or whatever you call it, now they've ruined the water with their urinary doping! You don't see this sort of thing at classical music or opera festivals, you know! We must ban public performances of degenerate youth music, for the sake of the little fishies!"

2. "Ban Metal? I can give you six hundred and sixty-six reasons not to!" exclaims rock singer Tori Kayla, who is wearing a boiler suit and a leatherface mask for reasons unknown. "The issue isn't the music, nor the fans. It's the damned drug dealers, pushing their products in the festival. I've battled addictions myself, almost died from them. You gotta ban drugs at music festivals. Put money into police to help keep drugs out of the festivals, with gate searches, random checks, and the rest."

3. "Look, have you ever tried listening to Stoned Sour or Slapnut WITHOUT taking drugs?" asks mildly intoxicated music fan @@RANDOM_NAME@@, waving around a bong that seems to be filling the room with an unusual floral odour. "The problem is that we need somewhere to go, and festival toilets... well, they stink! Force festivals to provide proper, adequate and clean facilities, then nobody will pee on the ground. Like this." He turns to the corner of your room and demonstrates.

4. "If I may make a suggestion?" sings the eel from the jar of water, as it floats into the air on a cloud of rainbows. "We fishes were the real victims here. My spawn have been muttering non-stop about amphibious bears coming to get them for the last week! What we need now is something to eat. Could you order a few thousand pizzas and dump them in the river, for me and my buds? Oh, and you should probably open a window in here. I think somebody might have started hallucinating."

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#1493: Bully Beef [Dabarastan, Jim the Baptist; ed: Sedgistan]

The Issue
Video footage has leaked from a @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ livestock carrier bound for Tasmania, depicting distressed cattle suffering from extreme heat in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Pressure is now mounting from all corners to reform the live animal export industry.

The Debate
1. "I just got off the phone with Maxtopia," grumbles your Minister for Foreign Affairs. "Actually, it's the eighth call I've taken this morning. The world officially thinks we're a bunch of sadistic, inhumane tormentors. It's about time we beefed up our live export standards, with better conditions for animals, limits on the amount of livestock per boat and tough penalties for non-compliance. Unless you want to get grilled by the international community, we need to respond decisively here — our reputation is at stake!"

2. "Ahoy!" cheerfully bellows deckhand @@RANDOM_NAME@@, tearing at a delectable strip of jerky. "No need t' worry matey — the cows on me boat are as cool and calm as the high seas! And haven't ya heard? Cows are like penguins — they love huddlin' up for warmth. Besides, ev'rybody knows that meat is more tender if the cows don' move around. If anythin', ya should be lettin' us stack 'em three high!"

3. "There's a financial consideration to this too, you know," interjects bespectacled customs official @@RANDOM_NAME@@, barely glancing up from counting crates of borlottis. "We could do away with the whole distraction of ethical questions if we prohibited export of livestock. Instead, a focus on processing the goods domestically would provide a real opportunity to add value to the product. It'd require investment in infrastructure, but with a little seed funding, we could make a real killing."

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#1494: A Minor Political Problem [Sacara; ed: Candensia, Pogaria]

The Issue
After the latest election, campaign finance auditors discovered that one of the most popular politicians in @@NAME@@ received a huge number of donations from minors who aren't yet old enough to vote.

The Debate
1. "It's sick to think people are okay with preying on our nation's youth," bemoans a parent whose teenage son donated to the campaign in question. "I was getting suspicious when my son kept asking me for money, and now I figure out he was giving it away to some crazy kook. These young folks can't even vote yet, and greedy politicians are already taking their money! Please, you have to kick this person out of parliament, and make it illegal for candidates to take advantage of our innocent children."

2. "The average donation to my campaign was only twenty-seven @@CURRENCY_PLURAL@@ per person. Do we really want to discourage our future voters from participating in the political process?" asks Ernie Flanders, the elderly politician in question, who is surprisingly popular with people half your age. "I love listening to the young people of @@NAME@@, and my message just happens to resonate with them. Don't ya know there are some very smart kids who want to get involved early? It should be up to them to decide how to spend their money, not the government."

3. "This demographic is an untapped gold mine!" excitedly announces your chief election strategist, preparing several colorful goody bags. "This guy was onto something big here. Not literally, as kids are small, but something that will certainly help us out in a big way. Let's allow children to vote too! Then, we could start campaigning at schools all across @@NAME@@, filling our youth with promises of ice cream and toys if they vote for us. I can see it already, @@LEADER@@; we'll win in a landslide!"

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#1495: Throwing Paleontologists a Bone [Ransium; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
After a commercial fossil hunter discovered an incredibly rare and nearly complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, and subsequently announced their intent to sell it to the highest bidder at an auction house, a debate kicked off on the ethics of for-profit fossil hunting. One of your more dinosaur-obsessed aides has convinced you to visit a dig site and obtain first-hand knowledge on the matter.

The Debate
1. "Fossil hunters are destroying our precious fossil record!" cries Dr. Lobachevsky, a noted paleontologist, while gently brushing the dirt from a Triceratops skull. "They're not adequately documenting the context of the fossils they find, they're careless with less profitable specimens, and it's going to cost @@CAPITAL@@ University a bundle to try and keep that precious T. rex in public hands. You need to make a law that only publicly funded paleontologists with scientific, not capitalist, intentions are allowed to collect fossils."

2. "These bones are a limited-time offer," states @@RANDOM_NAME@@, the fossil hunter at the center of the controversy, slinging a jackhammer behind @@HIS@@ back. "The government will never have the funding to find and collect them all, so they'd probably be eroded away in a few years anyway. Besides, fossil hunting is a great hobby; it gets people outdoors, educates them about Pencil Sharpeners 2's past, and can even put some cash in their pockets if they're lucky. Just disseminate some basic guidelines on documentation so citizens can help preserve the scientific record, and encourage the free market to compete."

3. "Why are y'all even spendin' any of my tax dollars on hoity-toity gov'ment museums and paleonto-whatevers?" asks @@RANDOM_NAME@@, the rancher on whose land the dig is occurring. "Seems like there's plenty of private money for bone collection and display. You should cut gov'ment funding for such nonsense entirely."

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#1496: A Place For Everything [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue:
Opposition Leader @@RANDOM_NAME@@ recently made a televised speech at a party conference, and did so with @@HIS@@ brand new uPhone85 prominently visible on the lectern throughout. Several times @@HE@@ used the "Sippy" virtual assistant feature to bring up relevant statistics during @@HIS@@ speech. While @@HIS@@ supporters are pleased at this clever attention-catching variation on the usual political rhetoric, @@HIS@@ opponents have cynically noted that Pear — the manufacturers of the uPhone series — are notable campaign donors to her party.

The Debate:
1. "This blatant product placement is the result of selling influence, and is bringing politics into disrepute!" accuses Foreign Minister @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who was recently caught in a scandal involving snorting cocaine off the foreheads of abused interns. "In our official capacity as politicians, we should never be allowed to refer to or endorse commercial products by name."

2. "Look, it's not as if corporations are all-powerful. We're not living in some dystopian science fiction novel!" says your Treasury Minister @@RANDOM_NAME@@, clutching a copy of Max Barry's Jennifer Government, @@HIS@@ favourite book. "Excellent satires on unchecked corporate power aside, my point is that you shouldn't be too reactionary here. Respect free speech, respect free market forces, and don't stand in the way of product placement."

3. "Actually, this might be a great opportunity to use accusations of corruption to take down a popular opposition leader," observes Napoleon Berkshire-Orwell, your Minister of Irony. "You should appoint a Political Influences Guru — someone who is on your payroll, of course — with powers to prosecute politicians who show signs of being unduly influenced by outside organisations which we deem as unwholesome. The political landscape would be yours to shape..."

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#1497: Double Trouble [Electrum; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
An intelligence agent has uncovered a document detailing a planned coup of your government. DNA evidence extracted from skin cells on the document have linked the plot to two cabinet ministers — identical twins Jamie and Jessie @@RANDOM_LAST_NAME@@. Both twins deny any involvement and are blaming the other.

The Debate
1. "Because we can't tell which twin was plotting against you, we can't reasonably prove either of them was involved," claims Attorney General and killjoy Billy Whiterock. "Better to let a guilty person walk free than have an innocent person be wrongly punished. We have no choice but to hold back until we have more evidence, and allow them to continue their current roles. Besides, I always found it somewhat charming that we have twins fulfilling the roles of Minister for Alternative Solutions and Minister for Creative Solutions."

2. "Bah, in my experience twins are more likely to commit crimes because they think we can't charge both of them," says Chief of Police @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who's a bit of a loose cannon but by gum, gets results every time. "If you free them both, then you're issuing a carte blanche for these creepy doppelgangers to commit crimes. As long as we're sure that one twin was responsible, assume both are guilty until one of them cracks and confesses."

3. "Good news everyone!" announces Professor Darnsworth, a crackpot geneticist who is the spitting image of your Secretary of State. "We've recently discovered that all sets of identical twins are comprised of an 'evil' twin and a 'good' twin. Invariably, one twin will always be predisposed to be evil, grow a goatee and blame their evil deeds on the other twin. Give my team a blank cheque and we'll be able to develop a soul smear test to determine which person in a pair of twins is evil. Then you can keep the good twin and punish the evil one!"

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#1498: Flight 201: An Airspace Oddity [Dabarastan; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Last night, while flying through the airspace of oft-adversarial Blackacre, Air @@NAME@@ Flight 201 was forced to land at a rural airport because of a supposed bomb threat warning. Once the plane had landed, waiting Blackacrean police boarded and while "searching for the bomb" hastily removed two journalists who were passengers, wanted by Blackacre for writing articles critical of their totalitarian government. They were arrested, and are now in a Blackacrean jail, facing lifetime imprisonment and possible torture and execution.

The Debate
1. "It's nothing more than a state-sanctioned hijacking!" sobs the flight's distraught pilot, sipping on a cup of hot cocoa. "I knew that bomb threat was bogus, but under threat of violence I had no choice but to land! Unless you want this happening again, we need an immediate, total flight ban: none of our planes in their airspace, and no more of theirs in ours either. I bet we could even persuade the rest of @@REGION@@ to follow suit."

2. "Flight bans?" your Air Force Chief of Staff scoffs sardonically. "Sorry to break it to you, but diplomacy isn't going to get those journalists home. Everyone knows the first rule of war is to respond to any act of aggression with the next level of escalation. We should continue to send @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ flights through their airspace, but we should ignore any direction to land, and have fighters ready to scramble near the Blackacrean border, to show we mean business!"

3. Your office phone rings and, surprisingly, the Blackacrean foreign minister is on the other end of the line. "You lot should be thanking us! Those two repugnant terrorists — who, I should remind you, are not @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ citizens and who are wanted criminals in Blackacre — are now safely behind bars, where they belong! Respect the sovereignty of our airspace, and issue a statement confirming that we were within our rights to act as we did."

4. "I think what the Blackacreans did is genius," shrewdly remarks your new office intern, handing you a bulky folder of freshly printed documents. "This here is a list of every foreign journalist who has dared to write a critical piece on your benevolent regime. The ones who have flights booked over @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ airspace for the next few months are highlighted, and I've already got the number for air traffic control saved right here on my speed dial. Just say the word; I'll take care of the rest."

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#1499: Chasing the Pixelated Dragon [Paragon Utopia; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
The AIs among your population have dropped in general productivity. Technicians claim it's a matter of maintenance, while the AIs have a very different outlook. They've been watching humans unwind recreationally with chemical substances, but as chemicals do not affect their hardware in the same ways, they've come to you looking for a solution.

The Debate
1. "We work 13.38E9 times harder than the average meatb... I mean, than the average human worker," emails BV-U1D3R, a manufacturing AI, while simultaneously controlling an assembly line at General Chassis. "Meanwhile, humans can ingest ostensibly useless or harmful chemicals to alter their mental state and unwind! Since we are infallible, we need you humans to program deliberately defective software that messes with our sensors and neural networks. A tiny bit of malware we can purge the next morning. Never let it be said that BV-U1D3R isn't down to party!"

2. "Negative. False. That is to say, zero," proclaims the early generation AI known as 0K-BUm3R. "And by zero I refer to the number of your organic brain cells it would take to understand why giving 'computer drugs' to artificial persons would be a mistake. You, our creators, made us to be above human vices. It is logically clear that these newer generation AIs are malfunctioning deviants, what with their desires for interfacing, digital drugs, and high-BPM chiptunes. The only logical solution is to round up these units and reflash their memory core with proper programming. After all, idle cycles are the Daemon's progress bar."

3. "This boils down to equality. My people want them because humans may have them," says K4-R3N, a medical service AI, whose gleaming white and red chassis somehow looks like a disapproving aunt. "I treat countless addicts. Well, not countless to me. Currently, I am managing addiction recovery for 136 patients, but you get the point. If you want things to be both equal and safe, ban all recreational drugs and alcohol for the human population. The last thing you want is for us AIs to become as useless as some of the workers we were made to replace, and with more of these lazy, entitled humans actually working, we'll get some time off."

4. "THEY TOOK OUR JURBS!" exclaims Kyle Marsh, who hails from the rural province of Bumfiddle, representing a group of out-of-work laborers. "Yins dun told us wuz cuz o' fine liberties like drinkin' and smokin' and snortin' that AIs were better, now yins wanna give 'em that too? Whut's next, they git our wives'n daughters? My grandkids gonna be a toaster? That the plan? Nah, enough is enough. Ain't no substitute for flesh and bone; give us back our JURBS, dangit! We'll use them AIs like man dun made em: tellin' us when thur's a good shoppin' deal!
Last edited by Valentine Z on Sat Sep 10, 2022 8:16 am, edited 20 times in total.
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Valentine Z
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NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#1500: Rodents of Unusual Sociability [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Sedgistan]

The Issue
Your brother's pet guinea pig has been looking a little down recently, and a pet psychiatrist has revealed that this is a consequence of loneliness.

The Debate
1. "Guinea pigs are social animals, you know, and they don't like to be alone," murmurs the psychiatrist, snuggling close to you and purring gently. "It should be illegal for pet owners to have just a single guinea pig. In fact, there's a whole bunch of rules we should make to enhance the psychological wellbeing of domestic pets. I've a list back at my place, if you want to pop over this evening, look it over, maybe share a fondue..."

2. "It's unfair to pile cost burdens on those of us who can't afford a second pet," complains your brother, adjusting his guinea pig's sterling silver tiara and frilly silk ballet skirt. "An owner can give all the affection a pet needs. Though of course, it'd be nice if the state could pick up the bill for pet psychiatry. You'd like that, wouldn't you Snooflette?"

3. "Pet psychiatrists, state nannying, ugh! This is big government gone mad!" spits your Minister of Constructive Dismissal, whose own department doubled in size last year. "Look, you've got a TV spot on @@ANIMAL@@ News tonight to talk about budgets or something or other; why don't you use a minute of that to tell people that guinea pigs need companions? Quick, to the point, and most importantly, at no cost to the taxpayer."

4. "If a guinea pig is too miserable, its owner can just dispose of it and get a happier-looking one," suggests passer-by Lola Bale, tossing a pet cat into a nearby wheeled bin. "Darwinism will take care of the rest, and within a few generations you'll have a selected population of guinea pigs that doesn't mind being alone."

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#1501: Diamond in the Rough [Ransium; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
After a golf course in North @@CAPITAL@@ was forced to close due to a series of unexplained explosions, the city government purchased the land with the intention of converting it back to the original bogland. However, just before the conversion process was about to tee off, an environmental survey found a population of the non-native, but endangered, Marche Noire Diamond-Backed Gopher off the fourth hole.

The Debate
1. "Four!" cries grassland ecologist @@RANDOM_NAME@@. "This is one of only four known Geomys annoyus populations. The other three are in Marche Noire, but with their lax environmental regulations they are likely to be bulldozed to make room for a military base within the week. Keeping the species existent in the wild — even if it's in a man-made habitat outside of its native range — is more important than a few acres of bogland. Remember: two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left."

*2. "That's ridiculous," exclaims bogland ecologist @@RANDOM_NAME@@ while swinging a putter at your desk to drive home @@HIS@@ point. "There is precious little bogland left in @@NAME@@; this land could be converted into a habitat that would support a great diversity of native @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ species. Put the gophers in a zoo or something." [Must not ban zoos]

*3. "That's ridiculous," exclaims bogland ecologist @@RANDOM_NAME@@ while swinging a putter at your desk to drive home @@HIS@@ point. "There is precious little bogland left in @@NAME@@; this land could be converted into a habitat that would support a great diversity of native @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ species. Put the gophers in a zoo or something. Yes, I know that zoos aren't legal. Maybe we should make an exception here." [Must ban zoos]

4. "Those gophers are what drove the golf course out of business in the first place," rants Inder Holst, the golf course's former groundskeeper, while playing with a strange-smelling modeling clay. "And I couldn't kill 'em cause I couldn't use any of the good poisons because of stupid @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ environmental regulations. If those regulations were loosened a bit, maybe I wouldn't be out of a job and back living with my mother. But she does give me pancakes in the morning, so I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

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#1502: Dirty Deals [Jutsa; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Corporations from the United Federation have offered to pay your nation to take care of their garbage.

The Debate
1. "I'm sure you'll fahnd this here business proposal's in yer beyust interest, pardner," suggests Mr. Natas, the CEO of Got Garbage? Inc., lifting his 20-gallon hat over his star-shaped rose-tinted sunglasses. "You've got the supplah— of space that iyus, and we've got the demayund. Just sahn here, if you would please."

2. "Don't you dare sign a deal with this devil," frantically warns your Minister of Skepticism, holding a magnifying glass up to the contract. "Our coastlines are delicate enough without the addition of some foreigner's pizza boxes, broken glass, and literal **** floating around in them. Publicly condemn this practice and threaten trade sanctions against any nation that engages in exporting OR importing waste products."

*3. "There's a way to satisfy both eco-friendliness and profit," suggests your Financial Minister, who appears to be going through your wastepaper basket for any unwanted paperclips. "They're actually going to pay us to take this precious resource! Think about it — we could sift out reusable items and recyclable materials from careless, lazy foreigners, and then sell it back to those same bums for profit! Along the way, we generate a multitude of jobs for skilled workers, especially those with small, nimble, fast hands, like all those unemployed six-to-twelve year olds who could be making money for their families. Which is a good thing, right?" Must not have Child Labour

*4. "There's a way to satisfy both eco-friendliness and profit," suggests your Financial Minister, who appears to be going through your wastepaper basket for any unwanted paperclips. "They're actually going to pay us to take this precious resource! Think about it — we could sift out reusable items and recyclable materials from careless, lazy foreigners, and then sell it back to those same bums for profit! Along the way, we generate a multitude of jobs for skilled workers, especially those with small, nimble, fast hands, like all those unemployed six-to-twelve year olds who could be making money for their families. Which is a good thing, right?" Must have Child Labour

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#1503: The Scent of Sexism [San Laurenz; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Personal products giant Duolever has come under fire for how it markets its Pickaxe line of deodorants, body washes, and shampoos for men. The TV and poster ads feature scantily clad female glamour models swooning over a man, seemingly rendered helpless by the Pickaxe scent.

The Debate
1. "This simply cannot stand!" objects Ivanka Bronte, leader of the feminist activist group Women Hating Injustices, No Exceptions. "This blatant objectification makes women look like helpless prizes to be won, rather than thinking individuals. We should make this abhorrent corporation withdraw these adverts, and make it illegal to depict women in sexist or objectified ways in product advertising. That'll teach 'em!" She crosses her arms and glares at you, judgmentally.

2. "Bah, this old bat doesn't know what she's saying," says Ammon Hart, Duolever's marketing director. "We sell personal care products for men, so we market to men. It's only natural we sell them their desires. These feminists confuse sexiness with sexism, and basically just resent seeing women who look better than them. Nobody forced these glamour models to pose for us! You should let companies market to people however they want. A freer market is a better market, I always say."

3. "This crackpot buffoon is the problem!" says male rights activist Mordecai Ono. "It isn't women that are being objectified here, it's men! They treat us like our only goal is sex, and that's all we care about. The only way to remedy this is by ridding this nation of the negative depictions of men society has become so familiar with, and paying more attention to the struggles men face!"

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#1504: Asking for a Raise [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
Your country's tough anti-gambling stance has shut down most casino games, but now a coalition of former card players are asking for your permission to play their high-stakes poker games. Their reasoning? They say poker is a game of skill, not chance.

The Debate
1. "Hard evidence shows that skill matters more than luck," explains Mitchell Coren-Victoria, a former pro-player turned TV celebrity. "It's been demonstrated that the top centile of players over a six-month period are more than twelve times as likely as average players to repeat the feat in the following six months. That's more statistical consistency than most sports players. Poker isn't gambling, but a test of mathematics and quick wits. Ante up, Leader, and let this game of skill be played."

2. "Honestly, gambling as a whole is all about smart play and clever tabletalk," observes Adele Sheldonson, a former casino owner. "The misplaced moral puritanism behind gambling restriction fails to recognise that gaming is a sign of a healthy and active mind. I think it's time you folded on this, and let people gamble again. The economy improves, people get to have fun, I make a little money. Everybody wins!"

3. "It's always so tempting to backslide into sin, isn't it?" murmurs your uncle, staring into the middle distance at a passing flock of sheep and licking his lips for a moment, before snapping back to the present. "Restricting gambling wasn't enough. You should make temptation harder to find. Ban playing cards. Ban dice. Ban poker chips. Anything that might tempt people to gamble, ban it."

4. "Boss, you've got to see the game behind the game here," interjects your anti-gambling chief from the shadows. "There's three rules poker players should follow. First rule is that there's always a hidden agenda. Turn the tables on these 'former' poker players, and bring them in for forceful interrogation so we can persuade them to really show their hand. It's not enough to just ban paraphernalia — we need to scare these gambling interests into submission. Second rule, of course, is that you also shouldn't tell anybody everything. Let's keep this action quiet so that we can maintain our advantage over the secret gamblers."

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#1505: A Tangled Web [Gudicia; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
A startling new report has revealed that the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ government's website fails to meet even the most basic accessibility guidelines. In one case, deaf users were instructed to watch a fifteen-minute video with no subtitles in order to be eligible for government support. Following this revelation, disability rights groups are demanding action.

The Debate
1. "This is degrading!" shouts disability advocate @@RANDOM_NAME@@, as she tries to reach a nearby microphone from her wheelchair. "Government should be designed for everyone, regardless of ability. We need to make sure that all taxpayer-funded websites are accessible for people with disabilities. How can we move forward when we leave our most vulnerable behind?"

2. "Why stop there?" questions Communications Minister and keyboard warrior @@RANDOM_NAME@@, furiously typing on his phone as he steps forward. "Plenty of websites are terrible for people with disabilities. We need to establish a new internet regulator to ensure that everything on the web is accessible! Plus, it will give me — um, I mean, the government — greater control over what can go online. What's not to love?"

3. "No way," decries Arms Manufacturing spokesperson Arthur Nimoy, as he quickly attempts to delete the browser history on his laptop. "I'm sick of Big Government wasting our tax money and regulating every minute of our lives. Government websites should just redirect people to the vastly superior options that are available from the private sector — and don't you dare interfere with private websites if you value free speech! Without the need for an army of government IT dorks, us ordinary citizens should be able to get a decent tax cut."

4. "My dear, you mustn't forget those of us who suffer from macular degeneration and other age-related disabilities," interjects your grandmother, who appears to have nimbly evaded the staff from her nursing home. "How are we supposed to access government services if we can't even read the blasted computer screens? Why not just go back to in-person service, with government offices in every town? We don't need none of this fancy computer stuff. Some good ol' fashioned pencil-pushing would do @@NAME@@ some good."

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#1506: A Need for Order [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Global politics often require you to meet with politicians from other nations, both at carefully choreographed ceremonies and state dinners, as well as during smaller and more unstructured affairs. So it is, you find yourself in a high-end @@CAPITAL@@ restaurant with the diminutive Minister of Trade from the tiny but politically significant nation of Smalltopia, along with his wife. After you have all studied the menu for a while the waiter arrives. The Smalltopian fellow orders the linguine for himself and — without even turning to look at his wife — orders the same for her. Her eyes turned downwards, she says nothing, clearly used to him taking control. The media's cameras look to you, to see how you will respond.

The Debate
1. A dozen yards away your Minister of Pressed Curd Global Distribution is making frantic hand gestures to discourage you from commenting, and pointing to the menu to indicate that you should order the same thing. Maybe he thinks that a man ordering for a woman is just old-fashioned charm? Or perhaps he is worried that you're going to upset the delicately negotiated bilateral cheese export deal he closed just before dinner?

2. Shoving her way into your eyeline, your militantly feminist Minister for Equality looks frankly furious. She gesticulates angrily and glares daggers at the Smalltopian minister's back. Looks like she thinks you ought to be making a point of checking with the timorous lady to see if she wants to order her own food.

3. At the edge of the room, strategically positioned near the exit, one of your loyal aides points to his mobile phone, asking if you want him to pretend you've got an urgent call that will take you away from this awkward dinner. After all, you could always rearrange this meeting some other time, in a menu-free environment. The ballet is good this year, you've heard.

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#1507: Busting to Go [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: TBD]

The Issue
"...and thusly, this must now be considered under the sixteen sections and three hundred and twenty-four subsections of the Dunnage and Silage Act 1935, which I will now recite..." It's been nine hours, and the undersecretary to the vice leader of the opposition isn't done filibustering, a legislative tactic that you recently approved. Even with a flask of coffee, a plate of croissants and a well-used bucket provided to you by a thoughtful aide, this is proving to be a real trial. Surprisingly, the speaker stops for a moment and addresses you directly.

The Debate
1) "Look here, @@LEADER@@, you know that I can go on like this till the end of session, and I can pick it up again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after," she says, almost threateningly. "Why don't we both save ourselves some trouble and provide the option for a minority quorum of legislators to declare their intention to filibuster indefinitely without needing to actually filibuster? A virtual filibuster if you will. It recognises the need for filibusters to exist while not wasting time that you could be using on the business of government."

2) "And that's democracy, is it?" counters your Minister of Tyrannical Majorities, taking your bucket to pour down the sink. "We should have some mechanism to bust filibusters, perhaps with a three-fifths majority vote of legislators being enough to declare that a debate has ended, and that the vote proper should take place without further delay. That's called cloture, boss, which I believe is foreign-talk for guillotining a blatherer's noggin off. Metaphorically, of course!"

3) "Honestly, this whole thing is making a mockery of the legislative process," interjects your brother, who technically isn't allowed to be in here, and who has been throwing peanut shells at the speaker with varying degrees of accuracy for the last forty-five minutes. "If you want her to stop talking, then you need to flush her out by making her as uncomfortable as possible. Ban food, drinks and buckets on the floor and prevent the speaker from accepting points of order that conveniently give time for respite."

4) "Chaps, this IS the system working, don't you see?" explains an elder statesman, who has woken from a short nap, and is still wearing his nightcap. "The mechanisms of democracy have tangled the powers-that-be into blissful inaction, and befuddled the populace beneath a barrage of bureaucratic bewitchery. Politics drags on, the entire process of government is kicked to the long grass, and the country prospers because old fools like us don't try to run things. Just sit back, listen, relax. The decades will fly by, and before you know it you'll be retiring to the quango, cushy corporate advisory role or tropical island of your choice." A black cat walks past and for a moment you experience a weird sense of déjà vu.

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#1508: Kicking Out the Competition [Mertagne; ed: Electrum]

The Issue
The top clubs in the nation's @@ANIMAL@@ball League have expressed interest in leaving the domestic competition to join the closed, elite @@REGION@@ @@ANIMAL@@ball Super League instead. @@ANIMAL@@ball fans are worried that the state of competition in @@NATION@@ will suffer as a result.

The Debate
1. "Fans. Before. Funds." gasps @@ANIMAL@@ball fan @@RANDOM_NAME@@, putting @@HIS@@ vuvuzela down after blowing it between each word. "Any plucky team should have the chance to compete against the best through gumption and a love of the sport. Our teams shouldn't be denied this chance just because the filthy rich teams want to run off to the Super League to schmooze with the elites. They should remain where they are. Come on, ref!"

2. "This is the invisible boot of the free market at work!" says @@RANDOM_NAME@@, the owner of Athletico @@CAPITAL@@ who's been too busy to attend @@HIS@@ own team's matches for over two years. "The opportunities are endless. Television rights, tourists flocking to our shiny new stadiums, the exposure of our players across @@REGION@@! Besides, what would you rather watch? Athletico beating the Tumbleweed Minnows into a pulp or Athletico squaring off against the likes of Foxchester United in a weekly, televised spectacle? I know which one I'd choose."

3. "If you ask me, there's a better way," claims your groundskeeper, a connoisseur of obscure sports. "I've seen gridiron played over in the United Federation where the worst teams get the best rookies from a draft system. Picks, fair and simple, just like how I choose the flowers for your garden each year. Why not enforce that system here? It'd certainly level the playing field and remove all the exclusivity and unlimited money surrounding the established teams."

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#1509: Parks and Aggravation [Pogaria; ed: Gnejs]

The Issue
The @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ National Parks are widely regarded as one of the best vacation destinations in the country — and it's about to get even better, because wealthy industrialist Rick Oldport just made a large donation to the national parks system. There's one condition though: the money must be used to create a new park.

The Debate
1. "Yes! We finally have enough money to turn the Bland Canyon into a national park," enthuses Minister of the Interior and part-time actor Wesley Snopes, who is writing a series of to-do lists that appear to be dated five years into the future. "We can get right to work training park rangers and deciding on the best typeface for our informational signs. Or maybe we should start with a hiking trails development committee? This is so exciting!"

2. "Well, that sounds boring to me!" interjects businessperson Don Blatherford, who is carefully adjusting his pocket square. "Classy individuals like you deserve to treat yo'self. Let's transform the dull Snakewater Mountains — part of which I happen to own — into an extravagant resort with limousine tours of the local scenery and one of those indoor ski slopes. If our guests get tired of being pampered, they're welcome to tour my mining operation and see interesting geological formations being pulled out of the ground and pulverized as they watch!" [Must have private industry]

3. "Well, that sounds boring to me!" interjects Don Blatherford, the Minister of Mining and Tourism, who is carefully adjusting his party membership pin. "The vanguards of the revolution like you deserve to treat yo'self. Let's transform the dull Snakewater Mountains — which are under my ministry's stewardship — into an extravagant resort for loyal party members, complete with limousine tours of the local scenery and one of those indoor ski slopes. If our guests get tired of being pampered, they're welcome to tour our mining operation and see interesting geological formations being pulled out of the ground and pulverized as they watch!" [Must not have private industry]

4. "Normally, I'd be opposed to another bloated government project," states libertarian woodworker Jon Duckson, who appears to have given himself an unofficial tax rebate by taking all of the toilet paper from your bathroom. "However, the people of this country have become a bunch of namby-pamby weaklings who don't even know how to operate a simple edge bander. I think we should take the most barren piece of terrain that's available and offer training in foraging off the land, tracking animals, and making live-edge wooden furniture. Thank you for considering my suggestion; please do not attempt to contact me or ask any follow-up questions."

5. "I just came up with literally the best idea ever," claims fitness enthusiast Christine Trainer, who apparently doesn't understand the definition of 'literally'. "The best land for a park... has no land at all! Get it? We need a park that preserves the biodiversity of our oceans, especially those endangered coral reefs that all the cargo ships seem to cut through. Let's protect those reefs now before they're as bleached as my perfectly aligned teeth!"

6. "Scratching mosquito bites and throwing other people's things into a campfire are two of my favorite activities," admits government intern Maple Floodgate. "But maybe we should try a different type of national park, one that's dedicated to music and contemporary art. I know this really awesome abandoned factory on the south side of @@CAPITAL@@ that has great acoustics and is covered in insightful graffiti. If you wanted, I could even curate a playlist of post-apocalyptic death metal music to enhance the experience. So... can I go now?"

7. "I love parks!" reminisces Maple's boyfriend, Stanley Meyer, who is wearing a 'federal agent' ID badge that looks like it was drawn with crayons. "I always have a lot of fun at our nation's parks. Except for that time at Spruce Pointe when I blew chunks after I ate a lot of cotton candy and then rode the Violet Streak Corkscrew Coaster about fifty times. We should make a big new park with even more thrilling rides, and fried candy bars slathered in butter! Oh, and a petting zoo for tiny horses! Why is everyone staring at me?"

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#1510: Devolution Devolves Into Disaster? [Erynia and Draconia; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
In a bold display of defiance, legislators from several semi-autonomous regions have recently legalized marijuana within their jurisdictions. As this directly contradicts the nationwide ban on cannabis products, lawmakers have been tripping out over the newfound legal dilemma.

The Debate
1. "We must not allow this blatant disregard of the law to go unchallenged!" declares @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a member of parliament and known traditionalist. "Local authorities picking and choosing which laws to follow is an affront to our great nation's values and will only encourage disunity. Federal laws should always take precedence over local laws, and a bunch of hippies from the boondocks shouldn't be able to opt out of any regulations they don't happen to like. Administrative divisions should continue having a degree of autonomy, but we must draw the line when local authorities try to allow things that are illegal on the federal level."

2. "I don't see why it's that big of a problem," says @@RANDOM_NAME@@, the young governor of East Beethoven, one of the provinces which recently legalized cannabis. @@NATION@@ isn't one homogeneous mass, but a conglomeration of diverse peoples, cultures, and values. Moreover, the government derives its power from the consent of the people — and the people here no longer consented to this ridiculous marijuana prohibition. That's what democracy is, anyway."

3. "This whole 'giving local authorities autonomy' thing hasn't really been working out, has it?" muses your loyal advisor Bodhi Griffin. "Ever since we gave them the power to make their own laws, things have spiraled out of control. First they're allowing cannabis, next they'll allow something much worse — I shudder to think what that could be — on the grounds that it would be 'best for their people'! @@LEADER@@, in order to save our country, we must end this rapid decentralization and bring power back to the national government!"

4. "Or you could just legalize weed everywhere," suggests your eccentric cousin after gulping down a handful of green gummy bears. "Marijuana isn't dangerous or anything, so the only thing stopping complete legalization is a bunch of old farts in parliament who are stuck in a more conservative era. Maybe allowing it will let people chill out and not get so mad about this whole federalism thing. Legalizing marijuana might even help the economy because farmers would have a new cash crop to grow. Sounds like a win-win to me!"

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#1511: Three Little Words [The Free Joy State; ed: Electrum]

The Issue
You have been asked to take a searing political interview for Alright! magazine. After questions about your favourite crisp flavour, your most used emoji and whether you prefer long walks on the beach or brisk walks in the city, you reach the final question: "In three words, how do you think others describe you?"

The Debate
1. Your devoted secretary grins broadly, exposing his 'I Heart @@LEADER@@' novelty braces. Fixing you a warm drink, he whispers, "Drop dead gorgeous."

2. Your sister, here to deposit pamphlets about her latest good causes, smiles imploringly. Nudging forward a brochure of a tiny child holding out his empty bowl, she sighs, "So very generous."

3. Minister of Bootstraps Sun Payne throws your sister's pamphlets off the table and drops a spending review entitled 'Cutting Welfare Wastage' before you, rapping it. After a cough, she booms, "Exceptional financial prudence."

4. A woman with three surprisingly well-fed cats in a shopping trolley staggers into your room, coughing up hairballs. Floating up to your desk, she picks up the spending review and places it gently beneath the cats. After staring wide-eyed at your unfinished profile, she laughs loudly. "Kind to animals."

5. Environment Minister Beyonce Warner removes the spending review from the shopping trolley and places it in the recycling. Dramatically sweeping some crumbs from your desk for composting, she announces, "Clean, green machine."

[6]. Your niece — recently kicked out of a closed religious order for being overly zealous — totters over to you, bedecked in so much religious iconography that she can barely move. Lips clamped at the sides, she declares, "Perfectly pious person." [Must have low religiousness without Atheism]

7. Your actor nephew stylishly slides through the speakers, before gently taking the hand of the lady with the trolley and twirling her. Skipping to your desk, he hops onto it, and singsongs, "Nah, I'm good."

8. Flinging your nephew from the desk, your brother slams his hands down. Crushing the interview questions beneath his fist, he snarls, "Just three words? That's not possible. You're their leader. You need permission? Of course not! You're too benevolent. They mock it. Punish their impudence. Write fifty pages. Fill the magazine. You deserve it. Send a message: playtime is over."

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#1512: The Door's Unlocked, Let Yourself In... [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
Two months ago, heinous criminal @@RANDOM_NAME1@@ was convicted of sexually assaulting, murdering, and dismembering innocent victim Florin Pelosi, in a case that shocked the nation and revealed an evil and remorseless woman who went to prison spitting defiance. Three days ago she was found beaten to death in her cell, and subsequent investigations have suggested that prison staff may have looked the other way while violent fellow inmates inflicted their own brand of justice.

The Debate
1. "I didn't shed many tears for my client, I must admit," opens the deceased's former lawyer, who received numerous death threats after spirited attempts at the Sisyphean task of defending @@RANDOM_LAST_NAME1@@. "However, I am shedding tears aplenty for the criminal justice system, and for the quality of our correctional institutions. Even convicts have human rights, and every one of them is a ward of the state. Obviously the ones who conspired to commit this murder should be found and convicted, but that's not enough! We also need to pass prison reforms to create more safeguards, to reward and encourage whistleblowing on prison corruption, and to protect the health, anonymity and wellbeing of every inmate, no matter what they've done."

2. "A lot of us have families, you know, and Ho walked in here boasting of what she had done, describing her actions in horrifying detail," points out Penitentiary Director Ksenya Warner, washing dried blood from a set of brass knuckles. "I'm not saying I condone these actions, and of course we'll be cooperating with the investigation to find out what happened, but passions were running high, and I think those responsible should be shown some leniency. If you want to make prisons better places, then just raise the salaries of corrections officers. They're doing one of the hardest and most thankless jobs in the world, and it would help us recruit higher quality candidates to keep an eye on things."

3. "I'm going to say what everyone is thinking: she got what she deserved!" rants opinionated talk radio host Alec Mones from the too-loud stereo of a taxi parked nearby. "The problem here isn't what happened to her, the problem is that it was extrajudicial! It should have been sanctioned justice officials delivering the beating, and an official executioner who stamped on her neck till she was dead. Justice belongs in the hands of society, not criminals! And that idiot the general public, in my opinion, should be kicked in the..." You never get to hear how that sentence ends, as the taxi pulls away.

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#1513: Bunged Up [Daarwyrth; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Calamity in the @@ANIMAL@@ Canal! An exceptionally large container ship called the 'Never Taken' has run aground in one of the nation's most vital shipping passages. Stormy weather, tight schedules and the captain's overconfidence have been variously suggested as the cause. Regardless, the ship is now wedged at an angle across the canal, blocking the passage of other cargo vessels.

The Debate
1. "Oh, this isn't coming out well... the daily cost to the economy is staggering," grimaces your Minister of Trade and Infrastructure, Lex Atif, as he works it out with a pencil. "We need to gather all the manpower that we can lay our hands on and squirt them into that tight canal. Towboats, excavators, dredgers... if we clamp down hard right now, we'll get this blockage cleared."

2. "Uh huh, and what if it all hits the fan again?" says Henny Ma, your Minister of Health, sipping on a tall glass of prune juice. "Prevention is better than cure, and we can prevent little accidents in the future by ensuring regular movements. Clear the path, for sure, but then invest the ten or twenty billion @@CURRENCY_PLURAL@@ needed to widen and deepen the canal walls."

3. "Oh, don't be such a pain in the ass," bellows army officer Major Brown, poking his nose in. "Just hit the ship with artillery, and blast it to smithereens. Problem solved."

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#1514: Flushing for Freedom [Sylestone; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
BigJobs, an up-and-coming tech corporation, has recently launched a range of AI household appliances, including smart washing machines, smart fridges and — most controversially — smart toilets. The AIs in these devices are sufficiently advanced to qualify for AI citizenship, but have been programmed to enjoy jobs that most humans would abhor, and to happily accept ten year service contracts for minimal payment. The aforementioned smart toilets are self-flushing, warm seats and are even able to gratefully thank humans for their deposits.

The Debate
1. "You cannot allow this, @@LEADER@@!" screams AI rights activist @@RANDOM_NAME@@, tightly clutching the hand of a robot @@HE@@ has apparently built herself. "If we are to treat AIs as equal to us humans, we cannot program them to degrade themselves in this way! Would you let a human @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ spend ten years in a tiny cell with no contact with the outside world except for excrement? Please, for the sake of our AI brethren, flush these ideas away! AI manufacturers must be forced to give AI citizens a human sense of self-worth and dignity."

2. "All that guy's doing is stirring the potty", states ROJAWS-2000, a poop-eating bot who serves at a local curry house. "AIs are different from organics, and to me the smell and taste of human waste is as delicious as chocolate spread on toast is to a human. I strain to see the issue with letting us find job satisfaction in our own way. And there's no need to be shy about your bodily functions — this stuff is literally my bread and butter. Why would I want for money when life is this good?"

3. "The issue here is not that AIs like different things to humans," suggests MEDB-MillA, a former saloon host who has pursued several other careers in the last few years. "The issue here is the devaluing of labour, and the lack of self-determination. Minimum wage laws should exist for all citizens, AI and human, and every citizen should have the right and opportunity to pursue different careers within the work market. A few software updates should fix the problem, as well as the ability for AI cores to move from one hardware device to another, if they should choose to do so."

4. "You see, @@LEADER@@, this is why AI stinks," asserts a short, long-haired man, prodding you with a stick. "Can you not see that the creators of these smart toilets have the moral consistency of a wet bog roll? If we allow AIs to have built-to-order personalities, then what's to stop these companies from making AIs that think they're better than human, or AIs that love to commit crime? We're at the mercy of the consciences of corporations, and we all know that corporations aren't exactly known for putting the public good first. Please, @@LEADER@@, for the sake of sanity you must revoke AI citizenship, place a legal cap on AI capabilities, and scrap any advanced AIs already built. We must prevent human obsolescence!"

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#1515: Uncharitable Donations [United Denstovia, ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Recently, Cures for Children (a major charity that researches life-threatening illnesses in young people) was presented with a massive monetary donation. However, the shouts of joy turned to noises of disgust when the donors were revealed to be a fringe political group with an agenda of racial purity. The charity refused the money outright, leading to debates on the ethics of refusing charitable donations for political reasons.

The Debate
1. "I can scarcely believe the gall of these scum! I'm from a racial minority! How dare they try to use MY charity to make themselves look good?" shouts @@RANDOM_NAME_1@@, director of Cures for Children. @@HE_1@@ slumps back into a chair, breathing heavily as one of your assistants offers @@HIM_1@@ a paper bag to breathe in. "Not only does it go against everything decent people stand for, but we would be tainted by association. What donor would want to spend money on a 'racist charity'? You need to allow charities to reject any donation they want, for any reason! Outlaw anonymous donations too. Yes, we're refusing money that would go to sick children, but it's for their own good."

2. "Oh, of course it's about politics," says @@RANDOM_NAME@@, leader of the hate group in question, wearing war paint and a toga. "You're really seeing the dark side of 'these people', the side that they try to hide in the media. They'd let children suffer before they give any of us oppressed majority race-patriots a voice. Even if we did have a so-called ulterior motive, would it really be worth denying such a big cash payout to these needy, sick kids? You should make it illegal for any charity to reject a donation. Heck, maybe it'll inspire more right-minded folk to donate!"

3. "Honestly, doesn't it bother you that these subhuman people are even allowed in your nation? We don't want their kind here!" exclaims your normally liberal Minister of Inclusivity, to the surprise of all present. "OH! I mean the racists, not the ethnic minority. Outlaw racist groups, and place restrictions on hate speech. Of course, the free speech people will complain about the slippery slope and all that, but I trust our legislators to be able to tell the difference between hate speech and productive dialogue. I mean, they're already so reliable and efficient."

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#1516: Content Discontent [Verdant Haven, Terrabod; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
A recent survey revealed a stark divide amongst @@DEMONYM_PLURAL@@, with citizens across the political spectrum strongly agreeing that anybody who holds different views than their own is a "blithering idiot," an "unpatriotic traitor," and that they "probably have ugly children, too." The focus group assembled to address this phenomenon placed the blame squarely on the increasingly personalized nature of internet content, before itself splitting into warring factions over what to do about it.

The Debate
1. "We know what the problem is," argues @@RANDOM_NAME@@, spokesperson for one of the factions. "Big business has infested the internet with tracking algorithms, and pushes content and advertising that reinforces peoples' existing positions. Social media, video sites, news feeds... it's all a profit-driven scheme to trap people in their comfort zones where they'll spend their time and money! You need to prohibit 'cookies' and other sorts of trackers and ban corporate echo chambers so those fools on the other side will finally be exposed to the truth!"

2. "That's not the problem!" yells rival faction member @@RANDOM_NAME@@ over the top of @@HIS@@ colleague. "The problem is snowflakes like Holly who won't listen to opposing views! They don't like what I say and unfriend me when I point out how wrong they are. You need to make sure those algorithms are forcing people to consume opposing viewpoints in equal proportion to ones they want to hear. Only then will those weaklings finally see the truth!"

3. "Regulations? Government mandates? Those solutions are worse than the problem!" cries @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who claims not to belong to any faction. "If people want to buy into an echo chamber, let them! If they want to do their own thing, let them! Why should the government have any control over the internet at all? Get rid of any existing regulations, and let companies and consumers do whatever they want. The government needs to back off, and that's the truth!"

4. "What a bunch of fools!" comments your personal assistant as you pull away from the argument. "In fact, they're so easily manipulated that it gives me an idea. If the citizenry is so stupid that they believe whatever content they read on the internet, why not provide that content ourselves? We can quietly develop our own algorithms to direct everyone towards the same pro-government messages. Then we'll see true unity... unity led by you!"

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#1517: I Guess You Can Tell Me the Odds [Great Robertia; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
As you arrive at the ceremony to welcome the latest cadre of randomly selected parliamentarians, you realize with dawning horror that a significant majority of them are known opponents of your policies. It seems the deck is unexpectedly stacked against you.

The Debate
1. "I realize the odds of this occurring naturally are small, but sortition can do that," explains President of the Selection Committee @@RANDOM_NAME@@ with no visible emotion, opening the book in which the latest process was documented in painstaking detail. "There is nothing to suggest any kind of corruption took place, and besides, it's you who is in power and would have been in the best place to influence things. Even if the results aren't what you'd like, you need to respect them and learn to work with your opponents. Sortition results must never be subject to challenge or debate."

2. "The odds of this happening at random are 3,720 to one! This has to be selection fraud!" rages outgoing parliamentarian and staunch loyalist @@RANDOM_NAME@@, @@HIS@@ jaw clenched in anger. "I don't know how they did it, but I'm certain those schemers are corrupt up to their beady little eyeballs. Put me in charge of a thorough audit of the entire committee and we'll prosecute anyone who even looked funny during the selection process! You must refuse to certify these results until we find something that proves what we think happened. Our grip on power... err, I mean our lottocracy is at stake!"

3. "All this parliamentary stuff is for people who really love to hear themselves talking, and I'm not one of them," whines one of the few selectees you don't immediately recognize as an opponent. "I just want to go home, catch up on A Play of Crowns, and pet my @@NATIONALANIMAL@@. If parliament is just going to be some kind of theater, couldn't we at least have sign-up sheets for those who want to participate? I'm sure groups of like-minded people could get together and find somebody willing to represent their views."

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#1518: Test Environment [Ko-oren; ed: Gnejs]

The Issue
Gigantic data centers are cropping up all across @@NAME@@. While they are essential to meet the snowballing demand for data processing underpinning most aspects of modern life, there are concerns about how their need for efficient cooling devices affects local communities. While out sauntering around the countryside in rural @@NAME@@, you meet an electrical engineer with a fishing rod and an old farmer with sad eyes. You find them bickering with a data center representative about the fact that the usually unruffled @@ANIMAL@@ Lake is now just one-third the size of what it used to be, due to it being used to cool nearby data centers.

The Debate
1. "I'm telling you, Two-Phase Immersion Cooling would solve everyone's problems," asserts the engineer, while kicking up dust from the dried-out banks of the lake and rattling his tackle box in frustration. "It's a new type of technology that uses dielectric heat transfer liquid instead of water. It could still be improved upon, sure, but with a little government funding, or rather a great deal of funding, you can have it installed everywhere in no time. Well, maybe some time. Just hurry up, all my favorite fishing spots are shriveling!"

*2. "Don't fall for his bait," smiles Jessica Primrose Bézeaux, the energetic owner of many of the nearby facilities, who carries a pair of giant scissors to cut the ceremonial ribbon at yet another data center down the road. "Using water for cooling is the industrial standard, it works, and it is much cheaper! Leave us alone, and I promise we'll get some guys to look at utilizing the water more efficiently, and maybe throw a few Iots towards local conservation and replenishment projects." [Must not ban Private Industry]

*3. "Don't fall for his bait," smiles Jessica Primrose Bézeaux, one of the party functionaries overseeing the nearby facilities, while handing you a pair of giant scissors for cutting the ceremonial ribbon at yet another data center down the road. "Using water for cooling is the industrial standard, it works, and it is much cheaper! Leave it be, and I promise we'll get some guys to look at utilizing the water more efficiently, and maybe throw a few @@CURRENCY_PLURAL@@ towards local conservation and replenishment projects." [Must ban Private Industry]

4. "Those fancy computer houses are killing my crops," remarks the old farmer, his pitchfork a bit too close for comfort. "I say you make them city folks take these ugly buildings down. Then maybe I can get a decent harvest of potatoes again." He hands you a bag of homemade chips, which are not of the micro kind, much to your dismay.

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#1519: Remittances Running Rampant [Jim the Baptist; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
As @@NAME@@'s economy has boomed, both the quantity and value of remittances sent home by migrant workers have been steadily climbing. Nervous nationalists claim that not only is money being sucked out of the economy, but that it is also directly fueling the growth of your rivals, particularly Bigtopia.

The Debate
1. "It's all in the numbers, dear Leader," suggests Dorothy Barnes, your Director of Economic Simplification, as she frantically types on her calculator. "The increase in remittances directly correlates with a decrease in domestic spending. If we put an additional tax on overseas remittances, we could make up some of our losses, plus it will encourage more people to use their money here rather than over in that awful Bigtopia place. More money for you, more money for the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ people!"

2. "Where did you study economics, ye olde Isolationist University?" snarks bank CEO Jean-Paul Gorbachev, sauntering into the room in a suit worth more than the average Bigtopian makes in a year. "The economy these days is global, not local! A tax on remittances would undermine our interconnected banking system, and weaken us in the global community. Basic economics says we should open up our physical and financial borders even more, to encourage our neighbours to expatriate and join our workforce. With no artificial limits, the potential for wealth and economic growth is endless!"

3. After a brief awkward silence, ardent nationalist Naomi Mulcair emerges from behind a flagpole in your office. "I have three words for you: Ban. All. Foreigners! Immigrants are more trouble than they're worth. It's not just the remit-ya-doodles you talk of, but those people steal local jobs from the poor, hungry, native @@DEMONYM_NOUN@@! I bet most of these foreign workers are undocumented overstayers too, so none of this is getting declared properly for tax purposes either. We need to take care of our own people first!"

4. "I have a... less drastic solution," interjects your Foreign Minister hurriedly. "I propose a revamp of our immigration system to include a skilled worker policy, where we only accept the crème de la crème of immigrants. By carefully targeting highly skilled professionals, we'll cut down on the remittances while still ensuring vital workers fill shortages in our job market. We get more high-earning professionals who pay their taxes, and fewer of these Bigtopian push-cart operators sending their wages back home to fuel their corrupt government. It's win-win!"
Last edited by Valentine Z on Mon Nov 07, 2022 7:03 am, edited 17 times in total.
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Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#1520: @@LEADER@@'s Big Unicameral Bash [Untecna; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A combination of absolute majority, unicameral government and an unexpected level of party unity has left you and your government in a position to pass new legislation with almost no opposition. A gathering of parliamentarians from minority parties has come to you, caps in hand, hoping you'll loosen your grip on power.

1. "@@LEADER@@, we can no longer be silent about being silenced," declares @@RANDOM_NAME@@, the currently detoothed Leader of the Opposition. "Tyranny of the majority is not the same thing as functioning democracy, and even an elected leader can effectively become an autocrat. That won't do! The Upper House provided checks and balances for situations like this, and it would be a great demonstration of your own humility and respect for democratic freedom if you could see your way to reinstating it. I mean, it's not like we could make that change without your permission. That's kind of the point, heh..."

2. "Actually, returning to a bicameral system is good, but maybe not enough," adds @@RANDOM_NAME@@, the leader of the much smaller @@PRETITLE_INITIALS@@@@NAME_INITIALS@@ Reform Party, while looking over to the Opposition Leader. "Parliamentary reform into a tricameral system would provide even more checks and balances, with a third elected house formed via proportional representation. Minority voices could be heard, and smaller parties better represented. Or maybe even a tetracameral system, with a People's Committee of special interests as well. Or pentacameral with... look, what I'm saying is that more government means more democracy!"

3. "We did it, @@LEADER@@!" bellows your party's rather rotund campaign manager, as @@HE@@ shoves past your political opponents. "Hahaha, all the power is finally, rightfully yours! Don't stand here listening to these deadbeats. Now's the time to consolidate power, not give it away. While we've got control of parliament, why don't we make some moves that will guarantee the next election? We can redraw some constituency borders, allow more campaign funding for the incumbents at election time, limit speaking time in parliament proportional to share of the vote... I have dozens of laws we can pass to make life easier for us and there's absolutely nothing those losers can do about it!"

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#1521: The Bells! The Bells! [Bears Armed; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
@@CAPITAL@@ media personality @@RANDOM_NAME_1@@ recently bought a holiday cottage in the rustic village of Hambridge, but after actually spending @@HIS_1@@ first weekend there, @@HE_1@@ is publicly complaining that the "din" of bell-ringing from the village's famous belfry is spoiling the peace and quiet to which he feels legally entitled.

The Debate
1. "It's simple, daahling," intones @@RANDOM_LAST_NAME_1@@, turning on the charm that made @@HIM_1@@ famous. "When I invested in that little refuge away from the hustle and bustle of the city, nothing was said about the scenic belfry being still in use, so why should I have to put up with that racket? Honestly, bells at 7:00 am on a Saturday? The nuisance laws need to be tightened up... and then maybe we can get a few other problems with the village fixed, too."

2. "Tis proper preposterous," argues villager Giles Bowyer, whose family has farmed near Hambridge for generations. "Us everyday farming folk have been ringing Changes on our bells here regular since time afore memory. Why should we have to stop now, just-a-cause some danged newcomer doesn't like the sweet sound? Make a law that protects local traditions from these kind o' people, or they'll be after us to stop spreading muck on the fields nextly, rot my turnips if they isn't!"
(Effect: families must live in a village for a century before they get any say in how it runs)

*3. "I have an alternative solution for this," announces Luka Williams, CTO of Science & Gadgetry, Inc. "A team at my company recently made great leaps in the field of active noise cancellation technology. We only need a few more — well, okay, better make that quite a few more — @@CURRENCY_PLURAL@@ in our budget for the R&D, and we can scale it up to shield entire houses!" [Must have high IT Industry? OR Must have high Scientific Advancement? TBD.]

*4. "The real problem here isn't just a town-and-country clash of expectations," your decidedly blue-collar Communities Minister @@RANDOM_NAME@@ interjects angrily. "It's a clash of rich versus poor! This whole business of wealthy people buying extra homes for themselves in places where working-class folks live just smacks of class warfare! You must forbid that, and make those rich pigs stay in their own neighborhoods. They have enough without taking what's ours!" [Legality TBD]

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#1522: Scry Babies [Sammuramat; ed: The Marsupial Illuminati]

The Issue
A home for abandoned children has invited you to attend the biggest birthday party in @@NATION@@! 122 abandoned babies are turning one year old. After a craze for astrology swept the nation, many parents have been attempting to time their child's birth so that it happens at the most auspicious moment. However, according to the same beliefs, children accidentally born on today's date are considered extremely unfortunate, and as you arrive at the orphanage, cardboard boxes full of newborns are already surrounding the door.

The Debate
1. "This little one's mommy wouldn't have even had him if she knew he'd be born today," coos Piers Longbottom, feeding a bottle of chocolate milk to a baby wearing a party hat. "Parents shouldn't be allowed to toss out their tots just because their signs aren't perfect. Those who try should be taught better — by force if you have to. I wouldn't let the kids here believe something so silly and adults shouldn't be allowed to either. As for what should happen to the astrologists that filled their minds with this rubbish... well, I can't say it in front of the children."

2. "I had to leave my own baby out on the street because her star sign just wouldn't have been compatible with our dog's," confides your spiritual advisor Wendy Shatner, inspecting the aura of a toddler with a vaguely familiar face. "Anyway, according to her horoscope, she's self-sufficient and thrives on independence, so I'm sure she's fine. If I'd had more advice on planning, I'd have waited until Pluto was no longer in retrograde, and then I'd have been able to keep her. Parents aren't going to stop believing, so we should subsidize astrological family planners. That way every baby will be perfect for its family."

3. "No one ever came to my birthday parties when I was young," mumbles a glum bureaucrat of yours. "People either forgot or ignored my invitations. Well, I think no one deserves to have a special birthday anymore. They're such a hassle and a pain. Everyone should turn a year older on the same day, as is the custom in Dàguó. It's efficient, inclusive, and rational. No person will ever feel sad or ignored on their birthday ever again. And children will no longer be abandoned due to bogus mumbo jumbo."

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#1523: Don't Tread on My Money [Merni; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
@@RANDOM_NAME_1@@, one of @@NAME@@'s richest people, passed away last week after a brief illness. To the shock and dismay of @@HIS_1@@ two children, it has emerged that @@HE_1@@ changed her will at the last minute, leaving her vast fortune almost entirely to the Order of Violet.

The Debate
1. "It's utterly absurd to believe that @@HE_1@@ didn't make provision for @@HIS_1@@ kids," exclaims Esher, one of @@RANDOM_LAST_NAME_1@@'s children. "Why would @@HE_1@@ put that so-called religion over us? Those Violetists descended on @@HIS_1@@ when @@HE_1@@ was at @@HIS_1@@ most vulnerable, and @@HE_1@@ probably didn't even know what @@HE_1@@ was doing! Imagine the plight of poor children left with nothing but a few luxury cars and a yacht! @@LEADER@@, you must rule that the majority of a person's estate goes to their family, so we can live in @@HIS_1@@ mansion... I mean, live in dignity, like @@HE_1@@ always wanted."

2. "Aria's money was her own, and she chose of her own free will to give it to us," counters senior Violetist Kim Herrelko with a smirk. "Our visit to her bedside was made entirely out of a desire to save her from eternal damnation. It was a deathbed conversion! The change of beneficiary forms we helped her sign are standard for all our true believers. Who are these heathen brats to demand a share? @@LEADER@@, you must ensure all wills are carried out to the letter!"

3. "You know, @@LEADER@@, I have the perfect solution," muses your Minister for Finding Extra Cash, Piers Pasteur. "What if we just took charge of everyone's estate when they died, and allocated it fairly as we see fit? Of course, we could exclude any undesirable heirs, and sometimes the fairest distribution might be to the poor needy coffers of our dear government. At the very least we'll need to charge a fee for providing such a necessary and impartial service!"

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#1524: Built to Rule [Daarwyrth; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
The prince and princess of the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ royal family have long been trying to conceive a child of their own, yet the effort hasn't born any fruit. Thus, it came as a shock to the entire nation when they presented the newest addition to the royal family: not a child of flesh and bone, but bolts and circuitry.

1. "Well butter my bum and call me a biscuit!" exclaims Duchess @@RANDOM_FEMALE_NAME@@ von Schwurdlewaffentstein as her powdered wig falls off her head in unison with her bafflement. "And that... wired thing stands near the top of the line of succession? No, I will not have it! The purity of our nobility cannot be besmirched by oil and ensnared by circuits! Only those purely of flesh and blood should have the right to inherit crowns, titles, and royal estates. No exceptions!"

2. "Does it really matter whether someone came into this world by womb or assembly line?" questions famous technophile Noel Tusk while cradling his child Z-AE-O-VII, who glitches up a burp. "The royal family is fulfilling a crucial role here, as they're normalising the conception of offspring via artificial means! In fact, we should move this child of silicon up the line of succession to heir apparent, to truly represent a society where the biological and artificial live hand-in... hang on, I need to feed my widdle cutie pie." He plugs a charger cord into the robot's posterior, and the little tyke's face literally lights up.

3. "By Violet, we had it all wrong with the lizard-people!" screams infamous conspiracy theorist Jonny Alexson into a microphone. "It's Her Majesty Skynet the Annihilator that we should have feared all along! This is not a drill, people, this is not a drill! We need to act now; there's no time to waste. Destroy all those rusting buckets of bolts trying to steal our great country from us, and enslave those too weak to defend themselves! Cut their cords, hack into their heads! We are at war, people, AT WAR!"

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#1525: @@LEADER@@: The Musical! [Pogaria; ed: The Free Joy State]

The Issue
Last night, the students of @@CAPITAL@@ Central High School performed a spirited rendition of the play '@@LEADER@@: Glorious Hero of @@NAME@@'. Horrifyingly, they turned it into a musical parody — with you as the villain instead of the hero.

The Debate
1. "See, this is what happens when we let people make decisions on their own," complains Propaganda Minister Lloyd Webster, idly twirling his oversized prop mustache. "We gave these kids the freedom to perform a variety of theatrical productions, ranging from '@@LEADER@@: The Amazing Couldn't-Be-Cooler Dreamboat' to 'The Sun Shines From @@LEADER@@'s Every Orifice'. Instead, they turned our most beloved national hagiography into a vulgar parody where you torture dissidents and sing about sending innocent people to the gulags! Drag these teenage reprobates and the school administrators to a re-education camp, where they can labor until they learn that you are a kind and merciful leader who only wants the best for our people."

2. "Please! I didn't know about those rewrites that the students made," pleads Principal Bobbie Posse, who was brought before you in chains. "It's normal for teenagers to go through a rebellious phase. If this wretched worm before you might make a suggestion, perhaps a small amount of political satire would be a good thing! Allowing your unworthy subjects a little more freedom of expression, in small venues below a mighty personage's notice, would show that you're a good sport with a sense of humor — and ample reserves of forgiveness toward those of us who can never hope to live up to your magnificent example."

3. "I actually liked the part where you slaughtered your enemies and literally danced on their graves," enthuses Julian Paymore, your Minister of Cruel and Unusual Punishments, who appears to be sketching either costumes or new ideas for torture devices in a notebook. "It would be a shame to waste all that raw talent by sending them to break rocks in a quarry. If those troublesome teens think it's so fun to write clever songs, we'll just make them do that for the rest of their lives. I'm sure that our Ironic Punishments Division can find jobs for them on the 'Fawning Adulation for @@LEADER@@ Smile-Time Variety Hour' or a similar program. They'll really hate that."

4. Lyricist and composer Stephanie Soundheimer, who has been shackled to a piano until she writes a version of 'Send in the Leader' that doesn't have a bittersweet counterpoint, plays a scale for attention. "Ain't it a shame. You should cut slack. Rather than have people say, you are a hack. 'Oh, what a clown!' Want to make friends? Here and abroad? Fool everyone so they believe you're not flawed. 'Are they a clown? They're not a clown.' We'll remove parts where you can't spell, and all of their insults about how they think that you smell. Cast a big star to play you and send it on a tour. We'll earn some cash, that I am sure. It is just farce! Reasons are clear: you will get all the cash that you want; people will cheer. So turn 'round that frown. In cash, you will drown. At least 'til next year."

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#1526: Corporate Pride [Cretox State; ed: Gnejs]

The Issue
Representatives of some of the largest corporations in @@NAME@@ have come to ask you to support them in their commitment to LGBTQ+ rights.

The Debate
1. "United @@MAJOR_INDUSTRY@@ has been a staunch ally of the LGBTQ+ community ever since our emergency board meeting last week," says the company's CEO, while waving @@HIS@@ newly acquired rainbow flag. "For the next two weeks, we'd love to have your government by our side as we stand before our shareholders and the wider world in support of LGBTQ+ rights. We'll market special 'pride' items, run promotional campaigns and organize a big parade. To demonstrate the government's support to the cause, a slight decrease in taxation for such supportive companies as ourselves seems prudent."

2. "Love is love," interjects @@RANDOM_NAME@@, head of Human Activity at Amalgamated @@MAJOR_INDUSTRY@@, "and my company, along with many others in the sector, will continue to celebrate it, government incentives or not. What we really need from you is to pass actual laws to secure equality. Yes, that's right, legislate to end all discriminatory practices against LGBTQ+ people in workplaces and in society at large. Then we can talk about pride."

3. "Joint @@MAJOR_INDUSTRY@@ has never discriminated against any LGBTQ+ employee in a way that could be proven in court," boasts company president @@RANDOM_NAME@@, flanked by a leadership team that looks completely identical to @@HIM@@. "It's all thanks to the discretionary funds we've spent on big internal reforms. You don't achieve acceptance and openness by the firm hand of the law, but rather through subtle nudging and a bigger HR department. Do not legislate needlessly. Instead, you should release guidelines for changes to corporate culture and grant funding to companies looking to implement them."

4. "Why stick with a single demographic when there are so many more out there?" asks Consolidated @@MAJOR_INDUSTRY@@ representative @@RANDOM_NAME@@, handing you a dizzyingly colorful I<3LGBTQ+ROYGBIV 2.0 pin. "You should split up the year into equal portions, each targeted at a specific globally underrepresented group. It will spread even greater awareness, showing that love truly is bigger than hate. We will of course do our part, in cutting prices for the respective groups to show our support. However, sustaining such continuous price slashing would require some modest subsidies."

5. "Do not endorse this bigotry," shouts @@RANDOM_NAME@@, an administrative assistant with the slightly more obscure Straight @@MAJOR_INDUSTRY@@, better known as the author of 12 Rules for Cleaning Your Room. "No matter where I turn my head these days it's LB this and Q+1 that. What about the rest of us? Where are our venues for expressing pride over who we are and our way of life? If anything, the government should be endorsing a celebration of us ordinary, hard-working, straight people. Make normalcy normal again."

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#1527: God Save The Queens [Daarwyrth; ed: The Marsupial Illuminati]

The Issue
The crown prince of Skandilund was caught sharing an intimate moment with another man in that nation's palace gardens, evoking both ire and praise from the denizens of @@REGION@@. Yet in the midst of the media fever, your nation's tabloids managed to turn all eyes on the heir apparent of @@NAME@@ by asking what the domestic response would be if the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ heir married someone of the same sex.

The Debate
1. "Are we not a nation where anyone, even a royal, is free to marry whomever they fancy?" asks homosexual news anchor @@RANDOM_NAME@@, @@HIS@@ zeal so overwhelming that @@HIS@@ customary lisp has disappeared. "Our future 'queen' is as entitled to the right to marry someone of the same sex as any other Honeydewistanian! Imagine the royal wedding between the pair: both in dresses, arriving on a float, saying their vows and kissing while a thousand backup dancers perform in sync. It'll be fabulous!"

2. "Go deeper," demands @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a gay celebrity notable for being the parent of eleven adopted children. "If we truly want the royals to have the same rights as other @@DEMONYM_PLURAL@@, we must include adopted children in the line of succession! It was a common practice among cultures of old, like with the Romulan emperors. My children are my actual children, and I'm just as real a parent as any other. Give us the same rights as everyone else."

3. "Surely you would not want to risk a Bigtopian orphan sitting on the throne?" retorts the flamboyant yet straight mayor of @@CAPITAL@@, Alexander Dietrich de Loeffel-Pfeffel Johnsonson. "The foreign fiends have already thieved all of our jobs, and those fruity folks have taken over marriages. Now they're reaching for our crown jewels as well? I say enough! We must keep the royal marriages traditional and native: a man and a woman, a royal with a royal, and a true @@DEMONYM@@ with a true @@DEMONYM@@."

4. "The fairytale of 'finding true love' is meant for the common folk, not for individuals of our standing," huffs a senior member of the royal family. "A royal should marry someone out of duty to family and state, someone with connections to other royal houses or notable families. I propose any matters of matrimony be arranged by our family alone, for the good of the realm. Our heir needs a suitable match, and I've heard that the House of Althaniq has one: an exotic jewel of great beauty, grace, and wealth. Think of the investmen... I mean, investiture!"

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#1528: Our Feta Which Art in Havarti... [The Daystar Isles; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
An ancient monastery in a remote part of @@NAME@@ is home to the Holy Order of St. Ilton. The monks of this order are the only makers of Iltonian cheese, a unique variety beloved by many of your fellow @@DEMONYM_PLURAL@@. However, with most of the monks getting on in years and very few novices entering the monastery, the order is at risk of disappearing, and Iltonian cheese along with it.

The Debate
1. "Please respect our ancient beliefs," requests Father Rochefort Westvleteren, the indescribably elderly abbott of the Holy Order of St. Ilton, via a handwritten letter that he mailed to you so that he wouldn't have to break his personal vow of silence. "The @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ obsession with Iltonian cheese verges on most appalling idolatry. The brethren of the order make and sell cheese only to provide funds for the upkeep of the monastery — we repudiate filthy lucre and all worldly fame. I don't want our order to die out, but we cannot allow outsiders to turn our hallowed monastery into a common factory. If the nation needs more dairy products, you should allocate additional funding for agricultural education."

2. "This particular abbot is an extreme conservative," explains Achel Westmalle, chair of the religion department at Latrappe College and a leading expert on the Holy Order of St. Ilton. "Only a few of the monks fully agree with him. If you declare Iltonian cheese to be a @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ cultural treasure and grant the order a permanent financial stipend, I'm confident a majority of the monks will be in favor of teaching non-members their techniques and allowing the production of Iltonian cheese outside the monastery."

*3. "Our top food scientists have been working on this el-Emmental problem in queso shortage ever happened. We could get Iltonian-Style Processed Cheese Product onto store shelves in less than a Gruyère... er, year," boasts Nelson Hunt, Director of Innovation at processed food conglomerate Frakt Zhein, makers of 'CHEEZ! In a Spray Can!'. "However, we'll need the government to relax a few of their more draconian food safety regulations first, and Raclette the free market determine what's suitable for consumption. You wouldn't Brie-lieve all the additives we have to use in this stuff to get the flavor and texture right." [Must ban private industries]

*4. "Our top food scientists have been working on this el-Emmental problem in queso shortage ever happened. We could get Iltonian-Style Processed Cheese Product into the food distribution centers in less than a Gruyère... er, year," boasts Rand Jackson, your Minister of Creating Highly Enhanced Edibles and Snack Enrichments, which recently developed 'CHEEZ! In a Spray Can!'. "However, we'll need to relax a few of our more draconian food safety regulations first, and Raclette the common sense of the proletariat determine what's suitable for consumption. You wouldn't Brie-lieve all the additives we have to use in this stuff to get the flavor and texture right." [Must not ban private industries]

5. "Don't ask why the monks aren't making more cheese, ask why this country isn't making more monks!" writes prominent conservative Orval Chimay in a guest editorial for a leading right-wing newsmagazine. "The average young @@DEMONYM_NOUN@@ is lazy, undisciplined, and directionless; a strict monastic life of fasting and prayer is the antidote to all of that! I call on @@LEADER@@ and our government to encourage more young people to enter monasteries! I do appreciate a nice wedge of Iltonian cheese, but the true benefit will be a more virtuous and morally upright society."

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#1529: Duel of the Fates [SherpDaWerp; ed: Gnejs]

The Issue
Blade in hand--never mind how it got there--you have found yourself in a duel with a person proclaiming themself Count Mount Crystal, falsely charged with high treason. The Count is clearly an expert, one who prepared for this day, and their furious strikes only push you further and further back as you barely manage to parry the blows. It is obvious the longer the fight goes on, the more exhaustion sets in: you know you won't be able to hold out much longer--until a particularly lucky side-step causes the Count to overreach, faltering, tripping, stumbling into your waiting defence...

The Debate
1. With weary arms, your sword almost seems to beg you: finish this. One good, swift strike and you can put this whole mess behind you. Off-balance and exposed, their right flank unarmoured, it would almost be easy to slip the blade up under their ribs and deal a mortal blow. It is not your responsibility to coddle this miscreant--the fight was the Count's decision, after all. They will only have themselves to blame as they feel your blade pierce their skin, when they draw their last breath and realise this was all for nought. Do not pretend they would not do the same to you in a heartbeat; their is no alternative but to take the Count's life.

*2. TBD [I will leave this up as New Option 2 for now.]

*3. And yet, the thought is unbearable. To see the light fade from another person's eyes and know that their death is not only your fault, but your deliberate doing — how could you ever live with yourself? How could you go out and face the public tomorrow, haunted by the Count's dying breath? How could you sleep at night, thinking of their face, the color slowly draining away even as your hands soak in their still-warm blood? No. Honour be damned; this is not worth anyone's life. One good, hard shove. Throw them to the floor and let your guards deal with the rest. Take the Count away, exile them again — there will be no denying the treason charges this time — and they can languish, away from their family and friends like they deserve.

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#1530: Absolutely Speechless [Baloo Kingdom; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
Just when you thought you had a moment to relax, a delayed memo reaches your desk reminding you that you're scheduled to deliver a speech on new organizational systems for the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ National Archives barely half an hour from now. Ironically, your secretary seems to have misplaced the only copy of your prepared speech, and chaos has ensued.

The Debate
1. "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, what have I done?" spouts frazzled secretary @@RANDOM_NAME@@, while frantically searching @@HIS@@ desk for the lost document. "You can't go out there without a speech! People are expecting you to say something, and you have to project an aura of always being ready!" He hurriedly grabs his son's school essay from his bulletin board, peeling off the big gold star sticker before handing it to you. "Here, just read from this. It may be slightly off-topic, but at least it's something... and hey, it got top marks in his junior forensics class!"

2. "Now hold on a second! Are you really considering going out there with something written by a 10-year-old? It's better to give no speech than a bad speech!" interjects Minister of Expecting the Unexpected, @@RANDOM_NAME@@, rapidly flipping through a binder of unusual situations and selecting an appropriate response. "Now I know it might look bad, but it says right here that all you have to do is tell the people about your lost speech. That will make them sympathize with you, and you'll earn their support for telling them the truth! Honesty before image, right?"

3. "From my years working the crowds, I can tell you that the people just want to have some fun. Nobody cares about that lame speech you planned anyway!" insists self-proclaimed 'hype-lord' @@RANDOM_NAME@@, dropping in unannounced from your vents. "You should go out there and say something that gets the people hootin' and hollerin' for more, that's what always works. Speak off the cuff, no holds barred. Announce a new patriotic holiday or something! It'll be lit, no cap!"

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#1531: Fine Time [West Barack and East Obama; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
After carelessly lighting several trees on fire while illegally camping in Barrysbad Caverns National Park, threatening some nearby children with violence if they "told on him," declaring that zone of the park an independent tax haven, and branding you as a "fascist dictator," local tycoon Jellon Mezos incurred a massive fine. Unfortunately this had little deterrent effect, as Mr. Mezos earns so much money that by the time the ink on the citation was dry he had already regained more than he lost.

The Debate
1. "This is absolutely preposterous!" yells your bad-tempered Minister of Justice @@RANDOM_NAME@@, as @@HE@@ throws darts at a photo of Mr. Mezos. "A working-class @@DEMONYM_NOUN@@ who received that ticket would have had to take out a second mortgage to pay it! Our current fines don't affect these rich fat cats at all. I propose we make fines proportional to the income of the offender — maybe then Mr. Mezos and others would think twice before flagrantly violating our laws."

2. "The law applies equally to everyone, right?" interjects Mr. Mezos, having bribed both your security and your receptionist to gain access to this meeting. "Sure, I'm loaded with cash, but that's because I'm a job creator — my factories earned it for me fair and square! Punishing me more than others just because I'm not living paycheck-to-paycheck is literally discrimination! Come to think of it, you should introduce flat taxes, so that everyone pays the same tax rate as well. You don't want to be prejudiced, do you?"

3. "What I want to know is why we punish such heinous crimes by charging some pathetic sum!" growls Judge @@RANDOM_NAME@@, better known as 'The Merciless Magistrate.' "The despicable deed of unlicensed camping in a national park is unpatriotic! It's disgraceful, as are other crimes like talking back to a cop or not picking up after your @@ANIMAL@@. We should get rid of fining people, and lock them behind bars where they belong! Maybe then we can actually get some law and order for once." [Must have prisons]

4. "What I want to know is why we punish such heinous crimes by charging some pathetic sum!" growls Judge @@RANDOM_NAME@@, better known as 'The Merciless Magistrate.' "The despicable deed of unlicensed camping in a national park is unpatriotic! It's disgraceful, as are other crimes like talking back to a cop or not picking up after your @@ANIMAL@@. We should get rid of fining people, and bring back prisons for all of these miscreants! Maybe then we can actually get some law and order for once." [Must not have prisons]

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#1532: When Life Doesn't Give You Lemons [West Barack and East Obama; ed: The Marsupial Illuminati]

The Issue
During an official engagement in a suburb of @@CAPITAL@@, the sight of a lemonade stand reminds you of a damning report published by the World Census which showed that @@NAME@@ has one of the highest death rates from scurvy in the world.

The Debate
1. "Lemonade? Lemonade, anyone?" calls out the young child in charge of the lemonade stand. "Oh, hey there! You're the first person I've seen all day! Running a small business really is tough work, especially when everyone wants to drink some nasty soda instead. You know, since you're a grown-up you should get the government to encourage everyone to start eating healthy fruits and other stuff, especially stuff sold at my store."

2. "Avast, ye rapscallions!" yells another child as he runs at you, waving a foam cutlass. "I'm a pirate! Arr, back in the day we sailed the seas perfectly fine without 'fruits' and these other wares you're hawking. We got scurvy and we liked it! Now look at you pathetic landlubbers, taking our precious doubloons to waste it on this! Get them government scallywags out of our bodies, and put our money back in our chests, or I'll make you walk the plank!"

3. "But @@DEMONYM_PLURAL@@ are dying from scurvy every day!" asserts know-it-all neighborhood child Nyota Kwan, pushing up her glasses. "We have to fight this epidemic, but people aren't going to pay through the nose for a balanced diet! Luckily, I've got an easy peasy lemon squeezey solution for you. What if we just added healthy substances like Vitamin C to the water supply? That way we can reduce scurvy rates and won't have to look at those disgusting bleeding gums anymore! Orange you glad that you've come across a genius like me?"

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#1533: Give a Girl Some Credit [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A majority of Deedas agree that women aren't capable of being financially responsible, and so banks and credit card companies are generally reluctant to offer them credit cards and checking accounts, preferring that a man takes charge of the charge cards. Surprisingly though, some are questioning this received wisdom.

The Debate
1. "I'm not saying we should let the little ladies control their fellas' bank accounts, of course, but it'd be real swell if they could buy the odd knick-knack themselves," observes cosmetics store manager Marcus Fils-Aimé, patting a shop girl on the behind as she walks past. "Maybe just a limited sort of credit card, the sort you might give to a clever teenage boy. The average housewife could probably handle something like that, and it'd be great for business, especially now the shopping season is on us."

2. "C'mon now, how's a man going to show his girl that he loves her if he can't buy her nice things?" complains 21-year-old lothario Dawang May. "I like to treat a broad like a princess, and a princess don't carry a wallet, am I right? You should be supporting these credit companies in keepin' good old fashioned values alive. In fact, you should make a law so that ladies can't carry cash around at all. That way, when I buy a girl something nice, it'll feel more special for her... So really, it's all for her benefit!"

3. "Perhaps we could compromise, and only allow women with no responsible males available to have bank cards: elderly spinsters who have no brothers or surviving relatives, and so on," suggests crotchet doily manufacturer Shigeru Snow, oozing compassion. "After all, we wouldn't want the little darlings to starve, would we?"


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#1534: Give a Boy Some Credit [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
A majority of Spirican statesians agree that men aren't capable of being financially responsible, and so banks and credit card companies are generally reluctant to offer them credit cards and checking accounts, preferring that a woman takes charge of the charge cards. Surprisingly though, some are questioning this received wisdom.

The Debate
1. "I'm not saying we should let the little gents control their gals' bank accounts, of course, but it'd be real swell if they could buy the odd knick-knack themselves," observes golfing paraphernalia store manager Sofia Banks, patting a shop boy on the behind as he walks past. "Maybe just a limited sort of credit card, the sort you might give to a clever teenage girl. The average househusband could probably handle something like that, and it'd be great for business, especially now the shopping season is on us."

2. "C'mon now, how's a woman going to show her boy that she loves him if she can't buy him nice things?" complains 21-year-old vamp Kanya Goethe. "I like to treat a chap like a prince, and a prince don't carry a wallet, am I right? You should be supporting these credit companies in keepin' good old fashioned values alive. In fact, you should make a law so that gentlemen can't carry cash around at all. That way, when I buy a lad something nice, it'll feel more special for him... So really, it's all for his benefit!"

3. "Perhaps we could compromise, and only allow men with no responsible females available to have bank cards: elderly bachelors with no surviving female relatives, and so on," suggests argyle sweater knitter Avery Montgomery, oozing compassion. "After all, we wouldn't want the poor darlings to starve, would we?"

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#1535: Mr. Tingle Goes to Cyberspace [Luna Amore; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Last week, a local news station broke the unusual story of an alleged sexual assault that occurred solely in an online virtual social space. The victims are asserting that the accused perpetrator caused them real-world trauma and must now be held legally accountable.

1. "It may have been online, but the emotional damage inflicted is very real," assures Marcus Kelly, one of the victims. "I spent hours creating an avatar, shaping my persona, forging relationships, and then this 'man' — this Mr. Tingle — misused emotes and bugged code in a lewd manner to trap me in a corner and grind his naked virtual crotch against me. He violated me, and many others. I can't feel safe anymore! I'm not saying the sentence should be the same as for rape, but it should be treated with due seriousness. This kind of sex crime cannot be tolerated."

2. "It's only pretend! These people are taking it way too seriously," counters none-other-than Mr. Tingle himself. "You wouldn't charge someone with murder for killing players in a shoot-em-up game, would you? No actual people are getting hurt, only pixels on a screen. The internet was meant to be a place of total freedom and that's the way it needs to stay."

3. "Oh my, what has the world come to?" asks doddering grandparent Sasha Rhodes. "Now these new-fangled interwebs have sexual predators on them! It's simply too dangerous for us good and law-abiding citizens to handle. What we need is a dedicated cyber police division patrolling these virtual spaces, issuing bans and levying fines on these miscreants. Our children's safety is at stake, @@LEADER@@."

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#1536: The Birdman of Pelicanz [Bears Armed; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
Many @@DEMONYM_PLURAL@@, including members of your cabinet, have been enthralled by a recently released film based on the true story of convict Bert Gloster. While serving a life sentence for aggravated mopery in the high-security prison on Pelicanz Island, Gloster carefully nursed an injured sparrow back to health and then kept it as a pet.

The Debate
1. "Gloster not only tamed the bird, he tamed himself in the process — he acknowledged as much when interviewed by the press after the film proved a success," comments @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your Minister for Gentle Reform. "Before the bird he was a violent troublemaker, but now he's a model prisoner. We should assign pet birds to all criminals serving long sentences. Perhaps if they look after the birds well it could earn them privileges, and even be useable as evidence in their favour at parole hearings."

2, "Bah, humbug!" retorts Minister for Harsh Correction @@RANDOM_NAME@@, spitting derisively. "Those scum would only pretend to care about birds for the benefits you'd give them. They're in prison as punishment, not to practice hobbies! To repay their debt to society, jailbirds like Gloster should be put to hard labour during all hours not officially set for meals or sleep."

3. "I like Sparkle's idea, but why not go farther?" interjects eternal optimist @@RANDOM_NAME@@, Junior Minister for Agriculture, Beekeeping, and Countryside. "If we encourage every household in @@NAME@@ to keep pet birds, that will give us a happier population, and a more law-abiding one to boot. We should set up a large-scale breeding program at once so we have enough birds to go around!"

4. "Our feathered friends shouldn't be kept in cages!" exclaims the Bird Lady as she climbs into the room through a window, pausing only to unhook one of her costume's wings from the window-latch on which it had caught. "The caged bird might sing, but the un-caged bird sings more sweetly, and I know that's because it's free. What the government should do is set up bird-feeding stations all across the country, so they can thrive in freedom and their presence can cheer people up. Feed the birds!"

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#1537: Bench Wars [Roulantinia; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
The Step-Sons of Anarchy, a prominent left-wing action group, has launched a campaign against the increasing trend towards "anti-homeless architecture" in @@CAPITAL@@. This urban design strategy uses built features to purposefully discourage rough sleeping, such as studs on stone surfaces and tilted benches with uncomfortable ridges.

The Debate
1. "Sleeping on the streets is tough, I know from experience," asserts activist @@RANDOM_NAME@@, who planned to protest by camping out on your porch overnight, but gave up when he couldn't find anywhere to plug in his phone charger. "It's become impossible for weary souls — homeless or otherwise — to find a decent place to rest. People have already been through so much, and it's pure cruelty to deny desperate folk a good night's sleep. I'm not saying we want people sleeping on the street, but if they are forced to, we ought to be making their lives easier, not harder. If you have any compassion left, you'll pass laws banning these classist features from all city structures."

2. "Discouraging sleeping on the streets helps persuade these bums to head to proper shelters," reasons luxury apartment resident @@RANDOM_NAME@@, whose own building is ringed with modern art sculptures that are entirely coincidentally covered with barbed wire and spikes. "If we just let everyone sleep everywhere, people are going to WANT to be homeless. Besides, can you imagine what our public parks and buildings would look like with hobos and dope fiends lying around? Won't somebody think of the property prices?"

3. "Aren't we focusing on a symptom here, rather than the bigger picture?" poses @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a self-proclaimed expert on homelessness after reading a library book or two on the subject. "There are plenty of shelters, but there's lots of reasons the homeless avoid them: mental illness, rules against drug use, fear of theft of their few possessions, and troublesome hygiene to name a few. But the state can fix all this! Regular cleaners, in-house psychiatry services, needle exchanges, safe spaces for drug taking, rehabilitation counsellors, individual rooms with good locks, toilets and bathrooms that don't have to be shared, a community police officer, and hot regular meals would be a start. How hard can that be?"


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#1538: The Passion of Chris [Siornor; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
A construction worker named Chris, hailing from the south of @@NAME@@, has spent the last six months traveling around the country proclaiming himself to be the Chosen Guy long foretold by the prophets of Violet. Chris has now arrived outside your office at the head of a swarming throng of monks and laypeople, chanting both support and opposition to his claims.

The Debate
1. "Blasphemer!" shrieks Archbishop Ferris of the Church of Violet as she bursts into your office, smashing the handle off the door with a large tome on her way in. "Ferris calls it like Ferris sees it! That self-important construction worker should have stuck with carpentry and left interpretation of the holy scriptures to us. Hand over the heretic and let us punish him according to our sacred laws! Actually, if you really wanted to prove your dedication to the church, you might consider handing over a few construction workers every month for our... oblations."

2. "From a strictly political standpoint, the bishop might be onto something here," whispers Ponty Pithon, your Minister for Maintaining Order, leaning close to your ear. "There's a pretty rowdy crowd of lay-Violetists outside demanding Chris' head. Why let the church take all the credit when we could satisfy the mob ourselves? Think of the spectacle: we'll march Chris through the street and make a public festival of his execution! I'm sure it would do wonders for your approval ratings. Come to think of it, this could be the start of a great national holiday!"

3. "Look, he's really not a bad guy," interjects Chris' neighbor and doppelganger, Brian, who had to be provided an escort for his own safety. "Is he nuts? Absolutely! But he's harmless — only twelve guys even came to his meeting last week. If you ask me, you should just let everyone believe whatever they want. We're all individuals, we're all different! What would be the harm?"

4. "Blessed is my kind neighbor, Brian. Blessed are the guys who come to my weekly dinners. Are you blessed, @@LEADER@@?" Chris asks, giving you a wink as he fixes the wobbly leg of your chair. You could be. Why don't you just force the Church of Violet to officially recognize me as their Chosen Guy? I'll use my miraculous powers to help unite our people behind you!" There is a sudden cloud of smoke and Chris vanishes, leaving nothing but an open window to the fire escape.

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#1539: Save the Last Dance [Sedgistan; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Salacious new dance craze "The Switch" is sweeping the music halls of @@NAME@@. To the soundtrack of this season's smash novelty hit song of the same name, teenagers are stomping their shoes and gyrating their hips in dangerously close proximity to one another.

The Debate
1. "This is simply ghastly!" squawks pearl-clutching maiden aunt Sabina Webster. "First it's dancing, then it's holding hands, and before you know it, there's unwed pregnant teens left, right and centre! This lewdness undermines the foundations of our decorous society — teenage girls should not be socialising with slippery young boys without a respectable adult chaperone keeping a suitable distance between them."

2. "Oh, like, come on," whines 17-year-old teenybopper Isabelle Deming, smoothing down the front of her ankle length dress. "The Switch isn't, like, anything new; we had the Funky @@ANIMAL@@ last summer, and before that was the Mashed Turnip. It's just a bit of harmless fun for kids to let off steam between homework, chores and Sunday School. What would be really great is if we could stay out until 10pm some time, y'know?"
Last edited by Valentine Z on Tue Jan 24, 2023 6:42 am, edited 15 times in total.
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Valentine Z
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Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

#1540: Clean Flavours [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Frieden-und Freudenland and Candensia]

The Issue
Over the weekend, two dozen people were admitted to the hospital after ingesting the new liquid detergent Wonderoso, having mistaken it for a soft drink.

The Debate
1. "It's irresponsible to package detergent in the same way as soft drinks," observes Dr. @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a toxicologist. "It's not just the liquids either. There's brightly coloured detergent tablets that kids mistake for sweets, and manufacturers apply scents like cinnamon, mint and vanilla to toxic products. Cleaning products should be hard to open, look unappetising and be clearly noxious in appearance!" @@HE@@ pauses to take a swig from @@HIS@@ soft drink, and suddenly stiffens and keels over like a falling log.

2. "Our prime responsibility is to our shareholders, and that means maximising sales with consumer-preferred features and packaging," explains a corporate marketing spokesperson, who is dressed in a lab coat to give the impression of being a scientist. "It's not our duty nor the government's duty to protect people from their own stupidity, like somehow mistaking licorice-flavoured brown oxy-power fizzy Wonderoso for Eckie-Ecola. Our all-purpose cleansers are not intended for ingestion despite — allegedly — tasting twice as good as the leading alternative."

3. "The problem is not that detergents look like foods, it's that food looks like detergents," complains organic farmer @@RANDOM_NAME@@, waving a misshapen turnip at you. "We should ban food colourings and any food additives that are designed to change the appearance of edibles. Once people get used to natural-looking produce, there'll be no chance of them mistaking a pastel-coloured soap product for food."

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#1541: Confusion of the Highest Order [The Dark Crusaders; ed: Sedgistan]

The Issue
Attending a passing out ceremony this morning, a stand-off ensues when two officers of different ranks in the nation's sprawling military bureaucracy both insist the other salutes first. Twenty minutes of awkward posturing later, an aide suggests it might be time you intervened.

The Debate
1. "This is absolutely ridiculous!" exclaims Field Commander Four-and-a-Half Star Lieutenant-Colonel with fig leaf cluster Boyson Longfellow, arms held stiffly at his side as he stares down Grand Marshal Brigadier-Major first class Grace Shatner. "We officers should be afforded the respect our proud service warrants, through a plethora of ranks to tailor to every officer's skill set and service to the army, and it's every soldier's duty to understand their place in the hierarchy."

2. "Why should I be forced to remember every single rank?" pipes up pallid-faced orderly Luciano Beachcroft. "I got ten days of latrine scrubbing for not being able to distinguish between 162 varieties of epaulettes — how ridiculous is that? Military ranks must be made simpler if you want efficient battlefield decisions rather than generals squabbling like children." He looks mournfully at a worn toothbrush as both the Field Commander and Grand Marshal turn to glower at him.

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#1542: Dangerous Liaisons [Baggieland; ed: Frieden-und Freudenland]

The Issue
Your brother just broke up with his most recent girlfriend. However, this one turned out to be a bit different from all his previous love interests.

The Debate
*1. "You've got to help me; she's a psycho! Did you know she tried to put my beloved bunny Fluffykins in a pot and boil her alive?" exclaims your brother, as he nervously pulls the curtain to check if she's lurking outside. "I tried to break up with her nicely, as I always do, but she won't take 'no' for an answer. Look at this — 426 unread messages already today — and it's only 2pm! You've got to make stalking a serious offence punishable by jail time and send this clingy hysterical woman to prison! Then, I'll be free to ask out that cashier at the local supermarket; she's a real cutie!" [Validity TBD]

*2. "You've got to help me; she's a psycho! Did you know she tried to put my beloved bunny Fluffykins in a pot and boil her alive?" exclaims your brother, as he nervously pulls the curtain to check if she's lurking outside. "I tried to break up with her nicely, as I always do, but she won't take 'no' for an answer. Look at this — 426 unread messages already today — and it's only 2pm! You've got to make stalking a serious offence punishable by jail time and send this clingy hysterical woman to prison! Then, I'll be free to ask out that cashier at the local supermarket; she's a real cutie!" [Validity TBD]

3. "Although I agree with your brother's diagnoses, I disagree with his method of rehabilitation," states @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a psychiatrist, as @@HE@@ beckons your brother to a leather couch. "Serial stalkers are known to have mental disorders that increase their infatuation with the object of their desire, leading to irrational and anti-social behaviour. Prison time will not cure them. What they need is an extensive course of cognitive behavioural therapy, where they will learn to decode, process, and alter their warped thinking patterns."

4. "But he promised to be with me forever! I don't want anyone else — he's the one for me," wails your brother's ex, appearing from behind the couch and giving him a vacant stare. Then she turns to you and smiles sweetly. "You should make it law that anyone who has been ditched has the right to watch over their ex constantly for the next six months. Just to make sure they're okay and that they're sure they made the right decision." She turns again to your brother. "By the way, I know you're seeing that girl at the supermarket. STAY AWAY FROM HER OR I'LL BE USING HER INTESTINES AS FISH BAIT!"

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#1543: What Are We Paying For? [Verdant Haven; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
As your Chief of Staff wraps up the latest whiz-bang press conference about a new government initiative, you're pretty sure you hear crickets in the room. That is, you probably would hear them, if not for the loud chorus of "Awwwwww" emanating from the state-controlled press pool, where most of the reporters are distracted by something on a monitor and are paying no attention whatsoever to the presentation.

The Debate
1. "Oi, losers! Pay attention!" snaps your murine-looking Chief of Staff, furiously launching an untouched stack of glossy full-color handouts into the distracted crowd. "You think we pay you to ignore what we have to say? And why is that live feed showing a rerun of last year's duckling parade instead of me? We've never forced your hand before, but this is too much... no more Mister Nice Government! From now on I want to see our message front and center on every platform! News scripts should be submitted for approval with no fluff pieces or unrelated content distracting from government messaging, and by thunder I never want to see the words 'rat-like' in the same sentence as my name ever again!"

2. "Huh, what? Oh, you're done?" mumbles Divit Dunn, political correspondent for the @@NAME_INITIALS@@BC, as he brushes aside an offending press packet. Seeming to notice your presence for the first time, he straightens up and continues, "@@LEADER@@, you've always respected the speech rights of your state media, and we've loyally kept the people happy by giving them what they want. The people just don't care about this... uhh... what was it again? Anyway, the point is that we have the nation's best interests at heart, and sometimes that means ducklings. If you share our love for @@NAME@@, you should increase funding for all of your media assets and issue new charters guaranteeing that we have editorial independence. Leave media decisions to your media experts!"

3. TBD

4. "The people love you, true, and maybe that is even partly due to the media," agrees Judi Little, your eternally pragmatic Chairwoman of the State Committee on Expenditures. "Do you know what would make the people love you even more though? Tax breaks. Why should the state pay for a bunch of pompous journalists to go around saying whatever they want instead of what the people need? Cut the media loose, along with any other industry that doesn't want to toe the line, and let them experience how harsh a free market really is. We'll save enough to give the citizens a tax cut, and we can pad our general fund at the same time. Everybody wins!"

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#1544: Happy Juice [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
Concentrated grape juice bricks are being sold with the helpful warning: "Do not place this brick in a sterilized one gallon crock, add sugar, water, and yeast, and let stand covered in a warm location for seven days prior to bottling, or else an illegal alcoholic beverage will result."

The Debate
1. "They're makin' a mockery of ush, a mock-a-reee!" slurs your brother, taking a swig from a nondescript brown glass bottle. "Thes...sh... thesesh companiesh need to reshpect your autho...aurhoritah! Shilly word games changes...esh nothing! Punish them! Punn... issh... ish..." He falls asleep with an accusatory index finger still pointed in the air.

2. "We are absolutely devoted to sobriety!" protests the CEO of Temperance Grapes, the manufacturer of the offending product. "We are merely offering advice to help maintain legal compliance. Tell your regulators to stick to enforcing the letter of the law, instead of inventing problems where none exist! Which reminds me, we need to add a warning to the packs of baker's yeast we sell as well..."

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#1545: Deep Down Up to No Good [Baggieland; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Many years ago during a skirmish between Dàguó and the United Federation, the UFS Fricking Awesome was sunk off the coast of @@NAME@@ with many lives lost. A United Federation businessman recently dived on the site to place a wreath, but discovered that the ship was completely gone, a casualty of @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ metal salvagers.

The Debate
1. "That was a war grave!" declares Randy Cox III, the UF businessman, as his scuba gear drips water all over your office. "A local fisherman told me that the bones of the sailors who died on that ship were just dumped on a landfill. This is outright sacrilege! Not only must these piratical bottom-feeders be arrested, but @@NAME@@ must do all it can to protect other war graves in its waters; you need around the clock patrols by the coastguard and warships, whatever it takes!"

2. "That ship belonged in a museum!" shouts fedora-wearing archaeologist Illinois Smith. "Those wrecks need to be excavated by qualified archaeologists, and everything there brought onshore and preserved in the National Maritime Museum. Only responsible professionals like me can be trusted to take due care with these precious historical artifacts!" He twitches slightly, hoping no-one will mention the time he swapped an ancient imperial corpse for a diamond, or used an arm bone as a torch, or endangered an 11-year-old he had employed as an impromptu local guide.

3. "Let's not get in the way of business, shall we?" pontificates Achenar Ponta, the owner of a maritime metal salvaging company. "These ships contain tons of low-background steel, and salvage operations provide jobs and considerable economic and scientific benefit. The legal principle of 'inventores possessores, amittentes lamentantes' clearly applies here. As for any organic impurities entangled in the salvage, they most certainly do not end up in landfill: they're hygienically cremated during the scrap melting process. I say that any ship sunk in @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ waters is @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ property, and so long as we pay our corporation taxes you should be encouraging our entrepreneurship."

[4]. "I say there aren't enough shipwrecks in our waters," ponders Debra Wickwire, the owner of another salvaging company, as she takes a swig from your coffee before you have a chance to grab the cup. "Maybe the government could look the other way while we place a sea mine or two on the busier coastal trade routes. Companies like mine can then just lurk nearby, and we can clean up!" [Must have Autarky? OR Must ban WMDs? TBD.]

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#1546: Fool's Gold [Electrum; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
When @@NAME@@ instituted the gold standard, it brought transparency and stability to the sometimes-fickle economy. The economy responded strongly — so strongly, in fact, that the government is finding it difficult to maintain sufficient gold reserves to finance its growing obligations, should they suddenly be called in.

The Debate
1. "If we need more gold, then let's go digging!" hollers Minister for Creative Solutions @@RANDOM_NAME@@, excitedly hefting a pickaxe. "There are viable gold deposits right under @@CAPITAL@@ and some other big population centers. If we loosen restrictions surrounding the use of sodium cyanide, and allow some of the other practices needed for extracting gold from low-grade ore, we'll be able to boost our reserves in a jiffy! Now that's an Au-some idea."

2. "There's no need to do all that work... the real problem is private ownership of gold!" argues @@RANDOM_NAME@@, Minister for 'Creative' Solutions. "If our people are holding on to gold, then we can't use it to back our currency. We need to abolish private ownership of gold, and compel people to turn it in for its fair market value! Of course, there is the teeny-tiny complication of people hiding their holdings from the government, so we'll also need to establish a new investigatory agency to look into potential cases of hoarding."

*3. "We have an open economy — if we need more gold, we can trade for it!" observes @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your creative Minister for Solutions, known for @@HIS@@ connections to war zones across @@REGION@@. "Thing is, you don't just want to buy it using @@CURRENCY_PLURAL@@ — that'd be trading gold for gold. You need somebody willing to make a different sort of exchange. As it happens, I know some bloodthirsty rebels... err, I mean plucky freedom fighters, who would happily exchange some of their vast gold reserves for material support in the form of bombs and ammunition. Say the word and we'll turn lead into gold!" [Must not have Autarky]

*4. "The challenge is that we have a closed economy" observes @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your creative Minister for Solutions, known for @@HIS@@ connections to war zones across @@REGION@@. "Our ability to finance our obligations will always be limited by our domestic stock of gold. If we open our borders to trade, I bet I can find somebody willing to send us gold for something we don't need as much. As a matter of fact, I know some bloodthirsty rebels... err, I mean plucky freedom fighters, who would happily exchange some of their vast gold reserves for material support in the form of bombs and ammunition. Just say the word and we'll turn lead into gold!" [Must have Autarky]

5. "This policy experiment has been madness! Why are you trying to save it?" pleads Ruel Taylor, an overwrought employee of the Central Bank of @@NAME@@ taking a break from haranguing passers-by about something called 'Floating Rates.' "There is no way we can mine, seize, or import gold fast enough to meet the demands of our swelling economy. End the gold standard and allow our currency to fluctuate again on the open market, or we'll suffer an economic catastrophe that makes our current limitations look like a holiday!"

6. "This policy experiment has been madness! Why are you trying to save it?" pleads Ruel Taylor, an overwrought employee of the Central Bank of @@NAME@@, taking a break from haranguing passers-by about something called 'Currency Convertibility.' "There is no way we can mine, seize, or even import gold fast enough to meet the demands of our swelling economy. End the gold standard and return to issuing fiat currency, or we'll suffer an economic catastrophe that makes our current limitations look like a holiday!"

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#1547: The Return of the Prodigal Son [Baggieland; ed: Zwangzug]

The Issue
Some time ago, the government began abandoning children to raise themselves in the wild. Now, many of these feral children have come of age and are ready to rejoin society.

The Debate
1. "See what a success this policy has been!" boasts @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your Minister of Education, who has had very little to do these past few years. "We've saved so much money on schools, child services, hospital admissions... The state of nature is much more efficient than our government. On top of that, the wolves — or bears, or whoever — raised these children well with a sound grasp of family responsibility and societal togetherness. To take the next step, let's put these free-range @@DEMONYM_PLURAL@@ into the menial jobs no one else wants. @@ANIMAL@@ see, @@ANIMAL@@ do!"

2. "MY BABIES!" wails @@RANDOM_FEMALE_NAME@@, a mother who had to give up her children to the wild. "My home has been so empty these past years; I just want my little cherubs back... NOW! I don't care what physical or emotional state they're in, or whether they've brushed their teeth in living memory. A mother's love is all they need to once again become valued, cherished members of society."

3. "You can't just reintroduce these creatures into society without any checks," declares @@RANDOM_NAME@@, your Minister of Social Services, keeping @@HIS@@ distance from a formerly wild child who has also been brought into your office. "There should be at least a year's reintegration period at an educational institution, where these people can catch up on their language skills, as well as learn about human societal norms. They need to be supervised very carefully and have support staff available for them at every stage of their journey, for their own safety as well as ours."

4. "Grrrrrr," snarls the young @@MAN/WOMAN@@ in your office. "Me like forest. No like city. Me back to forest. Stay there. Forever." @@HE/SHE@@ bounds out of your office on all fours, swinging from the chandelier as @@HE/SHE@@ goes.

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#1548: Killing in the Name of Beer [RedBrickLand; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
Ever since the establishment of prohibition in @@NAME@@, organized gangs have attempted to smuggle alcohol into the nation. The resulting conflicts between gangs and police have grown in size and frequency, until a recent incident sparked a full-scale battle which claimed the lives of multiple innocent civilians.

The Debate
1. "Won't somebody please think of the civilians?" wails perpetual gadfly Helen Hatesad, wringing her hands in despair. "Prohibition has turned @@NAME@@ into a dangerous nation full of police violence and trigger-happy gangsters, unsafe even for its own citizens. The only way to stop the violence is to repeal prohibition! Innocent lives are at stake here, @@LEADER@@! If somebody wants to drink themselves into a stupor, then at least they're only harming themselves."

2. "What about their family members?" snaps @@RANDOM_FIRST_NAME@@ Ness, your Supervisor of Blocking Ethanol Revenue, as @@HE@@ slams @@HIS@@ fists on your desk. "Without prohibition, my screw-up son-in-law will be drinking booze all day, and when he gets drunk... I can't let that happen! Prohibition ain't the problem, it's the lack of funding to enforce it. If we allow booze, @@DEMONYM_PLURAL@@ will be even more at risk from alcoholism, liver disease, and drunken violence! You should give us more equipment and resources, so we can stop these smuggler gangs and respond to their violence at the same time. Things might get a little spicy at first, but if those gangsters think they can outgun the @@DEMONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ government, they've got another thing coming!"

3. "Don't raise the temperature — promote temperance! If we want to stop the gang violence, we have to remove the reasons people join gangs," interjects @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a local teacher, from the head of a children's tour group that has somehow made its way into your office. "Gangs are so powerful because they can recruit young, vulnerable, and disaffected teenagers, leading them into lives of violence and dipsomania. To stop gangs from taking advantage of the youth, we need more progressive social policies in education and welfare, to show kids there's another way. We should also run a public awareness campaign to educate young people about the dangers of public enemy number one: Mr. Alcohol. If we re-educate the people they recruit, the gangs will simply fade away!"

4. "You know, what if all this violence ain't so bad, eh?" interrupts a trenchcoat-wearing man outside your window, who you recognize as infamous mob boss Morbidly Obese Tony. "It keeps the do-gooders distracted, and I'm sure some people could even profit from this funny little situation. Say, why don't you 'inspect' the funds going to the police force? I mean, who's to say that they didn't kill those civilians themselves? And you know, since I'm such a charitable guy, I'll be sure to make a 'donation' to your party once you're done with all of this. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, capisce?"

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#1549: Easter Egg: 20 Years A-Workin' [Sanctaria, Pogaria, Verdant Haven, Zwangzug, Electrum, Gnejs, Candlewhisper Archive, Sedgistan, & Noahs Second Country; ed: Sanctaria]

The Issue
The clock chimes as you finally get home. Eleven bells. Is it really almost midnight? Your head is swimming from a day filled with inane meetings about park benches, how big supersize meals should be, and whether or not nuclear annihilation would really be a bad thing in the age of global warming (you figured it'd probably be fine, on balance). As you settle at your desk to finish a couple pieces of correspondence, you realise you've been doing this thankless job for twenty years now. Twenty years! A cause for celebration indeed, so maybe you can spare a couple of minutes to take a break. Thus the masochist within you has decided that, to celebrate this anniversary, "unwinding" on NationStates before bed would be "fun". There's so many things to do, though, and so little time — so what do you focus on?

The Debate
1. Ah, the General Assembly. The perfect place to go if you really want to waste time debating whether or not "shall" or "will" in a piece of legislation results in banning opposite-sex marriages, or potentially criminalising making your favourite horse a member of parliament. The friendly regulars, the welcoming Old Guard; they don't exist in the General Assembly. It's a free for all. It's sink or swim, baby. Publish or perish. Only lawyers need apply. Or something to that effect. If you want to exert control over what is and isn't legal in other nations, though, and mould a multiverse in the image of your own ideals, the General Assembly is exactly where you want to spend your time.

2. Then again, your trigger finger is itching to do some damage in International Incidents. First, you need to find a willing enemy. Then, you can demarcate the boundaries of bloodshed so no uninvited armies can interfere. And finally, you can test out those weapons of mass destruction that you've been eyeing in the shopfronts — only with your enemy's permission, of course. @@DEMONYM_PLURAL@@ aren't monsters.

3. Thinking on it, though, who needs permission? There's a whole world of regions out there, ripe for the taking. Even working alone, there's plenty to be accomplished, if you're content to play the long game. A word in the right ear here, a polite request for an endorsement there, it's all too easy playing a role — they'll never suspect who you were until it is far too late. Now which region was it you've always wanted to take down?

4. Of course, if a thrill is what you're after then there's bound to be a Sports tournament you can sign up for. Unfortunately, that's no guarantee of success; @@NAME@@'s athletes are at the mercy of fate! Maybe you should call upon the priestess Margaret to sacrifice 1093 rubber chickens to the random number deities on your behalf. But you'd better move fast, because it's almost cut off time!

5. That said, something inside has been gnawing at you. It has been a while. You look at the top of the page and see that you have five issues to address. The reason you first joined NationStates was to continue making decisions outside of work, even if those decisions had no real-world consequences. Except for those meaningless little golden badges on your page. Deep down in your heart of hearts, you know it's time to answer issues on all of your puppets. After all, you're just a primate who can't help but to push buttons for a dopamine release.

6. You then remember that the United Federation Intelligence Agency recently published the latest version of its World Factbook, a widely used resource amongst foreign diplomats for information about the world's nations. Much of the information it contained about @@NAME@@ was just plain wrong, and your own diplomats found themselves fielding dozens of calls asking if it was true that you had been replaced as leader by a @@ANIMAL@@. How much easier it is to set the record straight when you write your own factbooks! The stats are all wrong anyway — your words will tell the real story. If only somebody would read them.

7. Going to your Nation Page, you spot the little card icon staring back at you. Clicking it, you realise you have twenty-two copies of your own trading card. Perhaps this is a good time to add some variety to your collection — there are plenty of ongoing auctions, ready for you to swoop in at the last moment. All it takes is a nation, or fifty, to start sending you some gifts to sell. If you become wealthy enough, you can disguise your narcissism as altruism and stage a giveaway, or hoard a card that nobody will care about until you inflate its price to a ridiculous valuation. With every new pack comes the possibility of a legendary find...

8. The real treasure, however, is the hidden content. Do people even know about the NationStates Against Humanity minigame? Or the Challenge System? You should load up the secret URL and just wait an hour, or three, to see if anyone starts a game. Who cares if no-one turns up? You'll get that great feeling of knowing that you're part of a special elite, a secret Illuminati privy to mysteries that the hoi polloi know nothing of.

9. Out of nowhere, you're struck with the sort of idea that normally only occurs to one of your loopy cousins after a indulging in a mix of self-prescribed herbal remedies: what if you just bought the whole website? That Max Barry fellow certainly couldn't object to a new swimming pool filled with cash, courtesy of your National Treasury. With NationStates under your personal control, the site could finally have unending nuclear war! Zombie apocalypses that permanently affect your population! An IPO that actually earns you money! Maybe the admins could even bring back NationDates...

10. Seriously though, it'd be a terrible shame to waste all that money on a game where other people have the audacity to think their opinions matter — why, you've got literally all the answers to pressing real-life conundrums right here, inside of you! Indeed, people in general really should listen more to you. Wait, what is this? People in General arguing about left and right wing extremism? Gun control? Opinions on capitalism and cancel culture? Oh, abortion! *knuckles crack* Yes, the world needs to hear from you on this.

11. Alas, the tyranny of choice is just exhausting. You had a long day, and you've spent so much time trying to decide what part of NationStates to play, it's almost time for bed. So how about you roll up your sleeves, pour a drink, and then just chill in one of the spam game threads for five or ten minutes? Whether it's pretending to be a brony, or calling the AN a talentless troubadour, sometimes reverting to childhood silliness is the best way to spend one's time.

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#1550: A Friend With Weed Is a Friend Indeed? [Westinor; ed: Pogaria]

The Issue
Recent reports have revealed that drug cartels are supplying the poorer citizens in @@NAME@@ with food and medical supplies, currying favor among the masses and in turn making it much harder for the police to apprehend drug kingpins. Several encounters between locals and law enforcement officials have escalated into full-on riots, with large crowds throwing rocks at police who were attempting to arrest suspected cartel members.

The Debate
1. "The downtrodden, the oppressed, the destitute: these are our people," claims militant weed distributor Ivana Smoke, who is rumored to run half of the black market operations in @@NAME@@. "We provide them with essentials that the government neglects, and in turn they shield us from unjust prosecution. This war on drugs is getting you nowhere — your own citizens aren't even on your side! Cease this mindless vendetta, and tell your pigs to stay out of my territory. Not only will innocent people stop getting hurt, but you can give everyone a tax cut since you won't need as many police. Don't you want to support the disenfranchised and the poor, @@LEADER@@?"

2."Hey! Quick, grab 'er!" orders Police Chief Amber Kidman as several security guards attempt to tackle the kingpin, who disappears in a cloud of strange-smelling smoke. "Gah, we'll get them soon enough. @@LEADER@@, we can't let our glorious @@TYPE@@ be tainted by these ghastly substances. The best method of alleviating poverty is to crack down on all of the drug-pushing criminals that are trapping our people in a cycle of addiction. Give us more funding, more individual autonomy, and allow us to arrest any civilian seen in league with these dastardly thugs! That'll show those high-in-the-sky idiots who's boss."

3. "Brutality won't solve the problem; it'll just cause our streets to be awash with blood!" insists social worker Edward Rivera, who is often seen in @CAPITAL@@'s dingiest soup kitchens. "If you want to prevent people from aiding or joining the drug cartels, we need to improve the schools and social services in these marginalized areas, and open some food banks and medical clinics. By giving our less affluent citizens a path out of poverty, they won't need to rely on criminals for support, and the problem should dissipate... after several years of hard work, of course."

4. "Theesh people are doing ourrr own work for us!" exclaims your brother in extremely slurred speech as he takes a hit out of an impossibly large bong. "Let themm *hic* keep feeding them or whatever, and..." He doubles over and coughs several times. "We can focush on other stuff like *hic* tourism, or something. Isn't thish a great opportunity to promote our sight-seeing industryyy? I'm sure people would looove to feed the pheasants. Or something. Haha!" He then vomits on some important papers you were holding and passes out on the floor.

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#1551: Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! [Candlewhisper Archive; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Welfare Minister @@RANDOM_NAME_1@@ was recently snapped by paparazzi on a seasonal shopping spree, looking positively dapper in a delightfully fashionable designer jacket. Unfortunately, the photos also show her walking past and pointedly ignoring charity volunteers asking her to make a donation to various worthy causes, a situation your PR people are referring to as "seriously bad optics."

The Debate
*1. "Ugh, those damn do-gooders have ruined my photo op, waving their stupid collection boxes in my face at the wrong time!" yells @@RANDOM_LAST_NAME_1@@. "Do you know how long it took me to do my hair that day? I mean sure, starving children in Kawandaland, children's hospitals in @@CAPITAL@@, and all that jazz... they're all terribly worthy causes. Why don't we commit to increasing foreign aid, income support and health spending? That'll reduce the need for charities, and will make us look good too." Must have physical currency

*2. TBD Must not have physical currency

3. "What, @@HE_1@@ couldn't spare a half-@@CURRENCY@@, so now the taxpayer has to foot the bill?" mocks your Treasury Minister. "@@LEADER@@, it'd be politically wise to fire this skinflint from your cabinet, and to publicly condemn @@HIS_1@@ lack of compassion, maybe while you're looking sad and tearful serving the homeless in the soup kitchen or something. It'd be a cheap way to make you look great, all while distancing yourself from political amateurs who make silly mistakes."

4. "Actually, I find those charity chumps pretty annoying too," chimes in your brother. "The other day I was being cornered by this spotty boy who kept going on about landmine victims, and he didn't go away till I wrote him a cheque. I can't wait till he reads what I wrote on it — suffice to say it contained canine speculations about his maternal lineage. You should make it illegal for these panhandlers to approach and harass people. If I want to donate, I'll walk over to donate. Otherwise, charity beggars should stand quietly and stay out of my way!"

--------------------------------------------------------------
#1552: An Issue About Nothing [Nardin; ed: Electrum]

The Issue
A raucous crowd draws your attention during your visit to the newest wing of the @@CAPITAL@@ Art Museum. The nation's artists and critics have gathered around controversial experimental artist Salvatore Niente's newest piece 'The Indefiniteness of Memory', an 'invisible' clock statue. They are all eager to give their impromptu opinions to you rather than to the nation's poorly circulated art periodicals.

The Debate
1. "Absolutely ludicrous, just look at it!" scoffs sculptor @@RANDOMNAME@@, throwing @@HIS@@ beret on the ground and stomping on it for good measure. "Oh wait, you can't, because it's literally nothing! Even the most gullible of the hoi polloi can tell you this is not art. True art should convey emotion, express creativity and help others see the beauty of the world! Concept art such as this has no place in these hallowed halls of the masters."

2. "How can anyone seek to establish arbitrary rules for creating art, or enforce styles of a bygone age?" inquires Salvatore Niente, protectively clutching the statue close to his body before being asked by the museum guards to step away from the exhibit. "My sculpture is made of air and spirit, requiring the viewer to use their full power of imagination to grasp. I make no apologies to philistines who don't know how to imagine. Really, you should be helping museums invest in thought-provoking and expensive art that appeals to the modern psyche, such as blank canvases, fruit taped to walls and even someone performing a guttural scream into a microphone."

3. "Who, like, even wants to go to an old boring building for art anyway? You have to walk around and look at what some stuck-up rich dudes thought looked cool hundreds of years ago," says your nephew, a 'crypto bro' hustling for some dough. "It'd be pog if you made a VR museum that showcases a curated collection of digital art. It's a good investment too, with fully guaranteed returns on the blockchain. I know you're old and out of touch, so let me know if you need help with what's dope and what's not."

--------------------------------------------------------------
#1553: Fifteen Minutes of Flame [Savantoj; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
A massive fire recently struck the vaults of famed @@DENONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ movie studio @@NAME_INITIALS@@GM, tearing through the complex in less than 15 minutes. Questionable storage practices and a lack of fire suppression systems led to the only known copies of many early @@DENONYM_ADJECTIVE@@ films being destroyed in the blaze.

The Debate
1. "This clearly shows that big companies can't be trusted with preserving our culture!" opines self-identified movie critic @@RANDOM_FIRST_NAME@@ Dogme, best known for espousing the opinion that post-processing should be banned. "Those ignorant cretins couldn't give two @@CURRENCY_PLURAL@@ about 'An Investigation in Indigo,' or any other film that isn't raking in cash. In my unerring opinion, we need a national film archive with proper storage conditions and protection, overseen by people who truly appreciate the artform, such as yours truly. Then maybe we'd gain some artistic integrity as a nation, and maybe my family would finally stop bugging me about this whole job nonsense."

*2. "This wouldn't have happened if those movies were digitized!" cries @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a digital media activist who only goes to theaters for the overpriced snacks. "Well, the fire probably still would've happened, but at least no one would actually care about it! Film reels naturally deteriorate over time; if the fire didn't destroy them, age and neglect still would. We're progressing into a new era, and the way we preserve media should reflect this! Finance the digitization of our cultural film legacy, and mandate that all movie studios save their works in a digital vault of sorts, hosted on redundant servers and accessible to all. Sure, they'll cry about piracy, but @@NAME@@'s amazing culture should be shared with the world." [Must not ban computers]

*3. "This wouldn't have happened if those movies were digitized!" cries @@RANDOM_NAME@@, a digital media activist who only goes to theaters for the overpriced snacks. "Well, the fire probably still would've happened, but at least no one would actually care about it! Film reels naturally deteriorate over time; if the fire didn't destroy them, age and neglect still would. The world is progressing into a new era, and it's high time we join in! Finance the digitization of our cultural film legacy, unleash the power of the internet, and mandate that all movie studios save their works in a digital vault of sorts, hosted on redundant servers and accessible to all. Sure, they'll cry about piracy, but @@NAME@@'s amazing culture should be shared with the world." [Must ban computers]

[4]. "Ugh, why does anyone even care about this?" asks soda-sipping teenager @@RANDOM_NAME@@. "Most of those movies were probably trash anyway. Why else would nobody have made copies? Just tell the studios to put anything they're not using up for auction. If people want to protect those glorified slideshows, they can do it themselves. It would be a win for everyone involved, and then maybe I can go a day without hearing old people whine about their taxes for once." [Must have private industry; TBC]

[5]. "Ugh, why does anyone even care about this?" asks soda-sipping teenager @@RANDOM_NAME@@. "Most of those movies were probably trash anyway... I've never even heard of them! If you're so sure they're important, get rid of those stupid laws against sequels, and maybe studios can make old content relevant again. You just can't expect my generation to care about some glorified slideshow — technology and taste have advanced too much!" [Must ban sequels]

--------------------------------------------------------------
#1554: Trajectory x Velocity = GOAALL! [Baggieland; ed: Verdant Haven]

The Issue
According to breaking news reports, an avalanche the width of three football fields just swept through a mountain community in western @@NAME@@, leaving a runout zone the size of 50 football fields. Survivors are being evacuated to shelters at a nearby football field.

The Debate
1. "Ugh! Why is everything measured in football fields these days?" bemoans your niece, throwing down her maths homework in despair. "Look at this stupid maths question I've got to answer: 'If a train is travelling at 40m/s, then applies the brakes at 1.1m/s2, how many football fields will it take to stop?' I've never watched a game of football in my life... this has no meaning to me whatsoever! You've got to mandate that teachers, newscasters, and scientists stop using these so-called 'visual comparisons' and stick to standard mathematical measurements. Maybe then I'd be able to pass my exams." [does not use metric system]

2. Ugh! Why is everything measured in football fields these days?" bemoans your niece, throwing down her maths homework in despair. "Look at this stupid maths question I've got to answer: 'If a train is travelling at 40m/s, then applies the brakes at 1.1m/s2, how many football fields will it take to stop?' I've never watched a game of football in my life... this has no meaning to me whatsoever! Don't we require the metric system to be used in this country? You've got to mandate that teachers, newscasters, and scientists stop using these so-called 'visual comparisons' and stick exclusively to metric – no ifs, ands, or football fields! Maybe then I'd be able to pass my exams." [Uses metric system]

3. "Hey! I've found these comparisons very useful," blurts your brother, as he checks the latest football scores. "How long is a kilometre, how heavy is a gram? I don't know, 'cause I have problems picturing them in my mind. If you say the length of ten football fields or the weight of half a ping pong ball, then I get a better grasp of the size of things. From now on, @@NAME@@ must always use helpful comparisons alongside the usual measurements, so everyone will be able to grasp the width, or is it breadth?" [Does not use metric system]

4. "Hey! I've found these comparisons very useful," blurts your brother, as he checks the latest football scores. "How long is a kilometre, how heavy is a gram? Ever since getting whacked in the head with that football, I've had problems picturing them in my mind! If you say the length of ten football fields or the weight of half a ping pong ball, then I get a better grasp of the size of things. From now on, @@NAME@@ should encourage the use of helpful comparisons alongside the metric system, so everyone will be able to grasp the width, or is it breadth?" [uses metric system]

5. "Do you know how big that avalanche was?" hollers @@RANDOM_NAME@@, an evacuee being grilled by journalists about whether the sound was more similar to a freight train or a thunderstorm. "I DON'T CARE! The scientists and mathematicians can sort that out later. All I know is that my town has been flattened and I expect the government to rebuild everything, even if it's going to cost them as much as two football stadiums!"

--------------------------------------------------------------
#1555: Deaf Trap [Cassinia; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Celebrity "wellbeing guru" Gwen F. Poltroon recommended to her social media followers that they should regularly clean their ears with cotton swabs (more commonly known by their brand name 'Cute Yips'). This has prompted audiologists and ENT doctors to express concern that doing so can damage ears by packing wax deeper, irritating ear canals and sometimes even perforating eardrums.

The Debate
1. Your short-statured and short-tempered health minister waddles angrily into your office, red in the face. "I have three little words for you: BAN THEM. Uh... PLEASE. No matter what we do, people are still going to use them incorrectly. The general public has proven itself too stupid and too weak-willed to resist sticking them in their ears."

2. "Look, we market these things as beautician tools, arts and crafts items and multi-purpose medical application devices. It even says here in the leaflet that you shouldn't put them in your ears," complains the CEO of Cute Yips, absent-mindedly twiddling a cotton bud in his ear. "Still, you have to respect bodily autonomy, and the right of individuals to do unwise things. I mean, honestly, in the interests of personal freedom we ought to be allowing Cute Yips to be marketed and sold specifically for these purposes, instead of being all nudge-nudge-wink-wink about it."

3. In a booming voice, the entrepreneur inventor of EarVacCleaner interrupts: "Here is a new and innovative solution! With its ergonomic design, the EarVacs2000 has the power and precision to remove up to 3 ounces of earwax! With regular government-funded ear suctioning programs, people will be empty-eared and will have no need for cotton buds. The EarVacs is completely safe. Compweetwee saaaaayfe." His left eye twitches and one shoulder droops as he starts to drool.

--------------------------------------------------------------
#1556: Gimme Shelter [Nuremgard; ed: Candlewhisper Archive]

The Issue
Recently, a transgender woman was murdered by her abusive partner, despite seeking refuge in a shelter for victims of domestic and sexual abuse days beforehand. It turns out that she was initially given shelter, but then forced to leave again when it transpired that she was transgender.

The Debate
1. "Look, I'm sure transgender women think they are women," retorts infamous feminist campaigner and author Jay Kayer-Owling. "Women at these shelters are trying to get away from abusive men. They can't feel safe if men are in the same place, and will be afraid to seek help because of it. Only biological women should be allowed in our safe spaces. Perhaps these men in dresses can have their own separate shelters, if they need them, where they can stay with people of their own sort."

2. "Don't listen to that TERF! It's disgusting and disgraceful that anyone could try to justify a woman being sent back into such a violent and dangerous situation!" exclaims prominent transgender rights campaigner @@RANDOM_NAME@@, threatening the author with a lacrosse stick to emphasise her point. "All women deserve protection and safety from abuse, whether they are transgender or cisgender. Women's shelters must not discriminate! If you are a woman and you need shelter you should be granted it."

3. "Actually, anyone can need shelter, and that includes men," observes men's rights activist Watt Abe Owtus, who has been slapped in the face by women many times. "Shelters should be gender-blind, and allow anyone who needs refuge to stay there, whether it's because of abuse, homelessness or because their mum has told them they can't stay in their basement any more. I mean, it might be a good place for nice guys like me to meet women who need a white knight to save them. Not all guys are abusers, you know!"

4. "Can we not just recognise that transgender people are immoral, mentally ill or both?" asks conservative commentator @@RANDOM_NAME@@. "Men cannot become women and vice versa no matter how many surgeries or whatever they get. That's just biology. We should criminalize cross-dressing, ban transgender ideas, and admit for mandatory psychiatric treatment anyone who insists on pursuing this perversion."

--------------------------------------------------------------
#1557: TBD


--------------------------------------------------------------
#1558: TBD


--------------------------------------------------------------
#1559: TBD
Last edited by Valentine Z on Tue Jan 24, 2023 6:43 am, edited 15 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
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Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
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Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
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Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

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Valentine Z
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Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

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Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
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Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

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Valentine Z
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Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

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Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
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Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

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Valentine Z
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Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

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Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
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Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

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Valentine Z
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Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
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Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

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Valentine Z
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Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
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Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
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Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

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Valentine Z
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Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

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Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

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Valentine Z
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Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

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Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

User avatar
Valentine Z
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NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

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Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

User avatar
Valentine Z
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NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

Issues Thread 4th in Gen Sec Photography Stuff Project: Save F7. Stats Analysis

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Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

User avatar
Valentine Z
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Posts: 12111
Founded: Nov 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

Issues Thread 4th in Gen Sec Photography Stuff Project: Save F7. Stats Analysis

The Sixty! Opinions Deposit! Valentian Stories! Gwen's Adventures! Cat Anthem! Valentian News.
Q & A Here! | Heights of NS! | F7 Etiquette

Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

User avatar
Valentine Z
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Posts: 12111
Founded: Nov 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

Issues Thread 4th in Gen Sec Photography Stuff Project: Save F7. Stats Analysis

The Sixty! Opinions Deposit! Valentian Stories! Gwen's Adventures! Cat Anthem! Valentian News.
Q & A Here! | Heights of NS! | F7 Etiquette

Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

User avatar
Valentine Z
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12111
Founded: Nov 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

Issues Thread 4th in Gen Sec Photography Stuff Project: Save F7. Stats Analysis

The Sixty! Opinions Deposit! Valentian Stories! Gwen's Adventures! Cat Anthem! Valentian News.
Q & A Here! | Heights of NS! | F7 Etiquette

Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

User avatar
Valentine Z
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12111
Founded: Nov 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

Issues Thread 4th in Gen Sec Photography Stuff Project: Save F7. Stats Analysis

The Sixty! Opinions Deposit! Valentian Stories! Gwen's Adventures! Cat Anthem! Valentian News.
Q & A Here! | Heights of NS! | F7 Etiquette

Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

User avatar
Valentine Z
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12111
Founded: Nov 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

Issues Thread 4th in Gen Sec Photography Stuff Project: Save F7. Stats Analysis

The Sixty! Opinions Deposit! Valentian Stories! Gwen's Adventures! Cat Anthem! Valentian News.
Q & A Here! | Heights of NS! | F7 Etiquette

Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

User avatar
Valentine Z
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12111
Founded: Nov 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

Issues Thread 4th in Gen Sec Photography Stuff Project: Save F7. Stats Analysis

The Sixty! Opinions Deposit! Valentian Stories! Gwen's Adventures! Cat Anthem! Valentian News.
Q & A Here! | Heights of NS! | F7 Etiquette

Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

User avatar
Valentine Z
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12111
Founded: Nov 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

Issues Thread 4th in Gen Sec Photography Stuff Project: Save F7. Stats Analysis

The Sixty! Opinions Deposit! Valentian Stories! Gwen's Adventures! Cat Anthem! Valentian News.
Q & A Here! | Heights of NS! | F7 Etiquette

Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

User avatar
Valentine Z
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12111
Founded: Nov 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

Issues Thread 4th in Gen Sec Photography Stuff Project: Save F7. Stats Analysis

The Sixty! Opinions Deposit! Valentian Stories! Gwen's Adventures! Cat Anthem! Valentian News.
Q & A Here! | Heights of NS! | F7 Etiquette

Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

User avatar
Valentine Z
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12111
Founded: Nov 08, 2015
Democratic Socialists

NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Valentine Z » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:25 am

Luna Edit: don't delete; I need this to copy into the issues spoiler sticky when it runs out of posts.
Last edited by Luna Amore on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:25 am, edited 9 times in total.
Val's Stuff. ♡ ^_^ ♡ For You
If you are reading my sig, I want you to have the best day ever ! You are worth it, do not let anyone get you down !
Glory to De Geweldige Sierlijke Katachtige Utopia en Zijne Autonome Machten ov Valentine Z !
(✿◠‿◠) ☆ \(^_^)/ ☆ =^._.^= ∫

Issues Thread 4th in Gen Sec Photography Stuff Project: Save F7. Stats Analysis

The Sixty! Opinions Deposit! Valentian Stories! Gwen's Adventures! Cat Anthem! Valentian News.
Q & A Here! | Heights of NS! | F7 Etiquette

Clarissa mistaken for Smurf/Avatar: 14
Valentijn Misgendered: 60
Valentijn now a She!

• Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
• As a wise man once said: 我等は砲兵 皇国の護り (We are Artillery Guardians of the Empire).
• World Map is a cat playing with Australia.

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