CANASASK

Liste des problématiques

 

 

#000: Should Democracy Be Compulsory
#002: 
Reclaim The Streets!
#003: 
Harry Potter Censorship Row
#004: 
Economic Collapse Looms!
#005: 
Child Casino Shock
#007: 
Animal Liberation Front Strikes Again
#009: 
@@ANIMAL@@s On The Dinner Table?
#010: 
Social Inequality Reaching Embarrassing Levels
#011: 
People Request Not So Much Dictatorship, If That's All Right
#013: 
Too Much Yakking, Already, Say Delegation
#014: 
Military Demands Increased Spending
#015: 
More Police Needed
#016: 
@@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ Workers Strike!
#017: 
Corporations Demand Political Say
#018: 
Citizens Struggle Under "Unfair" Tax Burden
#021: 
Police Consider "Big Brother" Anti-Crime System
#023: 
Uranium Deposit Promises To Enrich THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
#024: 
Budget Time: Accountants Excited
#025: 
Cloning Research Promises New Breakthrough
#026: 
Compulsory Organ Harvesting Proposed
#027: 
Cash for Colons?
#028: 
Cancer Sufferer Demands Euthanasia Bill
#029: 
Minorities Demand Representation In TV Soaps
#030: 
Auto Industry Struggles Against Foreign Imports
#031: 
Get Efficient, Private Sector Tells Nature [MantiCorp GroundForces]
#033: 
Genetics Brings New Life to Extinct Species [Badger Lozzate]
#035: 
Refugees Want To Call THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Home [The True Scroat]
#036: 
International Community Comes Doorknocking [Guadalcanal]
#037: 
Traffic Cops Needed on Information Superhighway? [Snowcat]
#038: 
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Looks to the Stars [Sentient Peoples]
#041: 
Software Giant Stomps on Competition [1 Infinite Loop; ed:The SLAGLands]
#042: 
Turn Down That Racket, Say Morality Police [The Prelapsarian State; ed:The SLAGLands]
#043: 
Prisoners Demand Elbow Room [Lucazmodei; ed:The SLAGLands]
#044: 
No Pain, No Gain! [Independent Planets; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#045: 
Baseball League Steps Up To The Plate [Pilot; ed:The SLAGLands]
#047: 
The Great Wall of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [1 Infinite Loop; ed:Reploid Productions]
#048: 
Give Us Healthcare Or Give Us Death! [Dictator Amanda; ed:Reploid Productions]
#049: 
Diving For @@CURRENCY@@s [Nogero; ed:Reploid Productions]
#051: 
Streaker in Snooker Game Fiasco [Sirocco; ed:Reploid Productions]
#053: 
Orbital Armageddon? [The US Marine Corps; ed:Reploid Productions]
#054: 
Time To Put The Older Senators Out To Pasture? [Pangaa; ed:Reploid Productions]
#055: 
Bigtopian Protesters Cry For Full Integration [Grantwold; ed:The SLAGLands]
#056: 
"Give Us Money!" Quoth the Poet [Ursoria; ed:Reploid Productions]
#057: 
Electronic Plague in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! [Sentient Peoples; ed:Reploid Productions]
#059: 
Drunk Driving On The Rise [Cspalla; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#060: 
Supreme Court Nomination [Nuttylnd; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#061: 
Should The Government Grant Estates And Titles Of Nobility? [Leptonia; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#062: 
Oh, The Angst! [Uni Students; ed:Reploid Productions]
#063: 
Tykes With Tools? [New Parakeet; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#064: 
Put The "Board" Back In Board Of Education [Curia; ed:Reploid Productions]
#065: 
Should Martial Law be declared? [American Militarists; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#067: 
Most Likely To Secede [Leptonia; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#069: 
Power Problems Need Bright Solution [Plumbumia; ed:Reploid Productions]
#071: 
Minority Group Demands Language Recognition [Pragmas; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#073: 
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD - Without Cars, Going Nowhere Fast [Reploid Productions; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#074: 
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Racers Growing Fast And Furious [Nascar Thunder; ed:Reploid Productions]
#078: 
Easter Egg: Should We Pull The Lever? [Meddlers; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#079: 
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's @@ANIMAL@@s: Going The Way Of The Dodo? [Naelosia; ed:Reploid Productions]
#080: 
Easter Egg: Aliens Wish Peace/Trade Agreement [Exiled; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#081: 
Close Encounters Of The Sci-fi Kind? [Spyr; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#082: 
AI Researchers Rally For Android Rights [Eniqcir; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#083: 
High-Speed Monorail Service Promises Connections [Baudrillard; ed:Reploid Productions]
#084: 
Compulsory Gun Ownership? [Tristram; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#085: 
Illegal File-Sharing Flares [Frigben; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#086: 
Save The @@ANIMAL@@ [Oddballfullness; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#089: 
"Don't Dam Our Rivers!" Say Protesters [Frigben; ed:Reploid Productions]
#090: 
Organic Outburst [Dark_Zephyr; ed:Reploid Productions]
#091: 
Sacramental Tax Time? [Rational Self Interest; ed:Reploid Productions]
#092: 
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Officials Needled About Mandatory Vaccinations [GDrabble; ed:Reploid Productions]
#093: 
Affirmative Action in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [The Orange Freestate; ed:Reploid Productions]
#094: 
Computer Users Fed Up With Heaps of Spam! [Bored Yawning; ed:Reploid Productions]
#095: 
Painful Prices Paid At The Pump [Aljerfribish; ed:Reploid Productions]
#096: 
Water Supply Problems Becoming A Major Drain [Calvin n Hobbes; ed:Reploid Productions]
#097: 
Landfills Filling Up [Edolia; ed:Sirocco]
#098: 
Police Want More Than Shiny Badge [Hata-alla; ed:Sirocco]
#099: 
We Need Cash, Sharpish, Say Librarians [Os Cosia; ed:Sirocco]
#100: 
Road Rage Rampage [SatanSpermSpawn; ed:Reploid Productions]

#101: Tiara Sign Of Oppression, Declare Feminists [The Prelapsarian State; ed:Sirocco]
#102: 
For Whom The Road Tolls [Ta Kala; ed:Sirocco]
#103: 
Plague Of The Hybrids! [Serenthis; ed:Sirocco]
#104: 
Public Loudspeakers Shrill With Controversy [Alpha Centauri; ed:Sirocco]
#105: 
Compensation Culture Must End, Say Corporations [Zhudor; ed:Sirocco]
#108: 
Gambling Interests Offer High Stakes [New Sweden X; ed:Reploid Productions]
#109: 
Karate Kids Cause Controversy [Yarrum; ed:Sirocco]
#110: 
Too Low On Laws, Say Citizens [Kandarin; ed:Sirocco]
#112: 
Put The Phone Down On Cold Calling? [Frigben; ed:Sirocco]
#113: 
Test Results Deemed 'Ungood' After Global Survey [Der Angst; ed:Sirocco]
#114: 
Wipe Out Graffiti? [Gelvanie; ed:Sirocco]
#116: 
Soda Sales Hits New 'High' [Foe Hammer; ed:Sirocco]
#117: 
Stop The Suits, Say Surgeons [Ravenspire; ed:Sirocco]
#118: 
Need For Speed? [Atlantic Rim; ed:Sirocco]
#119: 
Watershed Down? [New Cyprus; ed:Sirocco]
#120: 
Two Parties For Too Long? [Ren Yi; ed:Sirocco]
#121: 
A Uniform Plan For THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Students? [Scheelia; ed:Sirocco]
#122: 
Pensioners In Protest [Emperor Matthuis; ed:Sirocco]
#123: 
Now, Vat's Food For Thought [Tahar Joblis; ed:Sirocco]
#124: 
To Paint Or Not To Paint? [Aoifambia; ed:Sirocco]
#125: 
Bring Back The Ballot? [Centralis; ed:Sirocco]
#126: 
Outsourcing An Outrage, Say Demonstrators [Enerica; ed:Sirocco]
#127: 
Aging Concerns In THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD [Sirocco; ed:Reploid Productions]
#129: 
Tribal Troubles [Olasonph; ed:Sirocco]
#131: 
Raise Duel Standards, Say Fencers [The Gaelic Freedmen; ed:Sirocco]
#133: 
When @@ANIMAL@@s Attack! [The Class A Cows; ed:Sirocco]

#135: 
A Taxing Dilemma [Claraxia; ed:Sirocco]
#137: 
Arms Industry Demands Respect [Koternacht; ed:Sirocco]
#140: 
A Grave Problem [Eta Carinae; ed:Sirocco]
#141: 
Police Too Pushy? [Myrth; ed:Sirocco]
#142: 
Roads Like Roller Coasters, Complain Motorists [Mirkai; ed:Sirocco]
#143: 
An Archaeological Altercation [Fiscali; ed:Sirocco]
#144: 
Democracy Going To The Dogs? [Libertarian Haven; ed:Sirocco]
#145: 
Hackles Raised Over Fur Clothes Debate [Naturhio; ed:Sirocco]
#147: 
Military Budgets Up For Approval [Greater Philadelphia; ed:Sirocco]
#148: 
Spare The Rod, Demand Welfare Activists [Eastern Newfoundland; ed:Sirocco]
#149: 
With Liberty, Freedom, And Guns For All? [Frigben; ed:Sirocco]
#150: 
Bug 'em All, Say Police [Niziania; ed:Sirocco]
#151: 
Build Bigger Bombs, Advise Scientists [Benevolent Nations; ed:Sirocco]
#152: 
A Capital Idea [Hestrael; ed:Sirocco]
#153: 
Protesters Have Gone Too Far, Claim Police [Utopian Gandhism; ed:Sirocco]
#154: 
Ban The 'Boards, Say Pedestrians [HappyFluffyBunnies; ed:Sirocco]
#155: 
Curfew Meets Minor Opposition [Daedor; ed:Melkor Unchained]
#156: 
Waste Going To Waste, Says Industry Lobby [DeFranzania; ed:Reploid Productions]
#157: 
Sergeants Are Too Nasty, Say New Recruits [Mirkai; ed:Sirocco]
#158: 
Regarding Robbers' Rights [Robmuirpoems; ed:Sirocco]
#159: 
Think Tank Proposes Privatised Prisons [Yejuda and Shomron; ed:Sirocco]
#160: 
Truancy On The Rise [Nouvelle Quebecshiree; ed:Sirocco]
#161: 
Where There's A Will There's A Tax [Rehochipe; ed:Sirocco]
#162: 
Animal Experimentation Laws Under Scrutiny [Voroziniya; ed:Sirocco]
#163: 
Referenda: Are they Right For THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [Ideal State; ed:Melkor Unchained]
#165: 
Wedlock Worries [Ice Hockey Players; ed:Sirocco]
#166: 
Vote For 'None of the Above'? [Kamikachidonia; ed:Reploid Productions]
#167: 
Fluoride Controversy A Toothy Problem [Enlightened Harmony; ed:Sirocco]
#169: 
@@ANIMAL@@ Hunting Laws Under Dispute [Vigorithia; ed:Sirocco]
#170: 
Deserts Devouring THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Countryside [Goobergunchia; ed:Sirocco]
#171: 
Kids And Criminality: Whose Responsibility? [East Stalinia; ed:Sirocco]
#172: 
Church Attendances Reaching New Low, Warn Priests [Realm of Idiots; ed:Sirocco]
#173: 
Women Demand Equal Opportunities [HammerCrusher; ed:Sirocco]
#174: 
Maternity Leave A Must, Say Mothers [Vashaan; ed:Sirocco]
#175: 
Is THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Too Promiscuous? [Masalium; ed:Sirocco]
#176: 
History A Mystery To Most Of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD [Diet Mug Root Beer; ed:Sirocco]
#177: 
Power To The People? [Whatia; ed:Sirocco]
#178: 
Free Press Too Free? [Ice Hockey Players; ed:Sirocco]
#179: 
Mad @@ANIMAL@@ Disease Outbreak! [The Stevillian Empire; ed:Sirocco]
#180: 
Mobile Maladies [Grindleria; ed:Sirocco]
#181: 
Radio Rebels Ruffle Government [Dupeksland; ed:Myrth]
#182: 
Younger Voters a Cure for Apathy? [South Westerburg; ed:Myrth]
#183: 
Buy A Better Baby? [Sci; ed:Myrth]
#184: 
Compulsory Military Service Under Attack [Randino; ed:Myrth]
#185: 
"Bring Back Our Booze!" Cry Revellers [Eta Carinae; ed:Myrth]
#186: 
Carjacking Concerns [Vortengard; ed:Myrth]
#187: 
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Underclass Drowning In Debt [Crazahkistan; ed:Myrth]
#188: 
Video Games Too Violent, Say Parents [The Stakanian Isles; ed:Sirocco]
#189: 
Dangerously Cheesy [Disposablepuppetland; ed:Reploid Productions]
#190: 
Immigrants Import Homeland Rivalries [Rowaria; ed:Reploid Productions]
#191: 
Blood Banks Running Dry [Karmanyaka; ed:Sirocco]
#192: 
Coup d'Etat In THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! [Miravesel; ed:Sirocco]
#193: 
Robots Leaving Workers Jobless [The Ethics Union; ed:Sirocco]
#194: 
A Request For Military Aid [The Rogue Soldiers; ed:Sirocco]
#195: 
Right Of Way Or Wrong Of Way? [Teaberry; ed:Sirocco]
#196: 
Violent Violetists Protest Artists [SalusaSecondus; ed:SalusaSecondus]
#197: 
Breastfeeding In Public: Innocent Or Indecent? [Bronteland; ed:Sirocco]
#198: 
Gypsies In A Field [CR Oscilloscopes; ed:Sirocco]
#199: 
More Jails Needed [Deleuze; ed:Sirocco]
#201: 
Jolly Roger Sighted Off The Port Bow! [I V Stalin; ed:Sirocco]
#202: 
Guns Or Butter? [Roman Republics; ed:Sirocco]
#203: 
Suffer The Starving Children? [Eta Carinae; ed:Sirocco]
#204: 
Lack Of Doctors Needs Cure [Emperor Matthuis; ed:Sirocco]
#205: 
No More Broccoli, Beg Meat-Eaters [Eta Carinae; ed:Sirocco]
#206: 
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Narrowly Misses Nuclear Accident [Takuma; ed:Sirocco]
#207: 
Secret Police In THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [GX-Land; ed:Sirocco]
#208: 
Mine Collapse Rocks THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD [Emperor Matthuis; ed:Sirocco]
#209: 
Students Demand Financial Aid [Rajlworld; ed:Sirocco]
#210: 
Going Postal [Emperor Matthuis; ed:Sirocco]
#211: 
Unconventional Weapons Under Fire [Hellenic Glory; ed:Sirocco]
#212: 
Police Wanting Help With Their Inquiries [Prasland; ed:Sirocco]
#213: 
Bus Drivers Say No To Double-Decked Deathtraps [Angels World; ed:Sirocco]
#214: 
Voting For More Money [Not Quite Dead Peoples; ed:Sirocco]
#215: 
Easter Egg: What's Your Favourite Colour? [Antioch and the East; ed:Sirocco]
#216: 
Eminent Domain: Inherent Right Or Daylight Robbery? [British Londinium; ed:Sirocco]
#217: 
Healthcare Services Underfunded, Claim Patients [Lunar Village; ed:Sirocco]
#219: 
Nobody Expects The THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Inquisition! [Habardia; ed:The Most Glorious Hack]
#220: 
Voter Apathy Rising But No One Cares [Clorse Ivy; ed:Sirocco]
#221: 
Outdated Tax Code Crushing THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [Padosistan; ed:Reploid Productions]
#222: 
Terrorists Strike City Centre [Silicar; ed:Sirocco]
#223: 
Easter Egg: Zombie Attack! [Naliitr; ed:Sirocco]
#224: 
Minimum Wage War [Vincon; ed:Sirocco]
#225: 
Prayer In Public Schools? [Vincon; ed:Sirocco]
#226: 
Expats Plea For Help In War-Torn Country [The Mones Islands; ed:Sirocco]
#227: 
Underage Drinkers: Social Menace Or Misunderstood? [Amisdar; ed:Sirocco]
#228: 
Mice In The Walls [Esarchia Marksista; ed:Sirocco]
#229: 
Government Saturated In Corruption [Kordothistan; ed:Sirocco]
#230: 
Extremists On The Ballot Sheet [Omigodtheykilledkenny; ed:Sirocco]
#231: 
Jungle Fever [Luxtizeria; ed:Sirocco]
#232: 
Suffragette City [Night Island; ed:Sirocco]
#233: 
I Spy A Diplomatic Crisis [Good old Communism; ed:Sirocco]
#234: 
Corruption In The Lobby [The Seniors of Zion; ed:Sirocco]
#235: 
From Green Pastures To Grey Wastelands [Airstrip thirteen; ed:Sirocco]
#236: 
Quickie Marriages Under Scrutiny [Plutocycloptika; ed:Sirocco]
#239: 
We Who Are About To Die Would Rather Go Home [The Lost Romans; ed:Sirocco]
#240: 
Plea Bargains: Tipping The Scales Of Justice? [Jacobaea; ed:Sirocco]
#241: 
A Capital City For THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [Sirocco]
#242: 
Follow The Leader [Sirocco]
#244: 
Foreign Invasion Force Takes On Small Farming Community [Altlands; ed:Sirocco]
#245: 
Clash Of Cultures [Drunk Cowboy Junkies; ed:Sirocco]
#246: 
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD To Hold The Olympic Torch? [Yenen; ed:Sirocco]
#248: 
The Sky Is Falling [Freedomstaki; ed:Sirocco]
#249: 
Particle Accelerator Sparks High Energy Debate [Milostein; ed:Sirocco]
#250: 
Recession, Depression, And Deficit [The Realist Polities; ed:Sirocco]
#251: 
The Trouble With Hobos [Responsible; ed:Sirocco]
#252: 
Great Balls Of Fire! [Unibot; ed:Responsible]
#253: 
How Much Democracy Is Too Much? [Kandarin; ed:Kandarin]
#254: 
Freedom Comes At A Price [Responsible; ed:Responsible]
#255: 
Welfare Programs Not Faring Well [Glen-Rhodes; ed:Glen-Rhodes]
#256: 
Easter Egg: Suburbs Are Out Of This World [Scolopendra; ed:Sirocco]
#258: 
What's In A Name? [Zombitosis; ed:Sirocco]

#260: Taxpayers On Strike! [Makinsanity; ed:Kandarin]
#261: 
Plastic, Plastic Everywhere [Nation of Quebec; ed:Kandarin]
#262: 
Sticks And Stones [Zwangzug; ed:Sirocco]
#263: 
Wind Farms Blowing Up A Storm [Alathaea; ed:Sirocco]
#264: 
Not A Drop To Drink [Vincon; ed:Kandarin]
#265: 
To Bail or Not to Bail? [Niryuugoku; ed:Glen-Rhodes]
#266: 
Breaching the Great Fourth Wall of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD [Reploid Productions; ed:Reploid Productions] {Easter Egg}
#267: 
Controversial Coup Causes Commotion [Sedgistan; ed:Sedgistan]
#268: 
Don't Want Your Kid Anymore? Good News! [Aligeretha; ed:Glen-Rhodes]
#269: 
Stop The Presses! [Lenyo; ed:Sanctaria]
#270: 
Space Spectacular Sours Small Stargazers [Luna Amore; ed:Frisbeeteria]
#271: 
Vigilantes: Heroes Or Hoodlums? [Nation of Quebec; ed:Lenyo]
#272: 
Slow Down, You’re Going Too Fast [Frisbeeteria; ed:Frisbeeteria]
#273: 
Is our children learning? [Panageadom; ed:Lenyo]
#274: 
Brotherly Love - A Bit Too Close to Home? [Afforess; ed:Sanctaria]
#275: 
Wiki Worries [Maurepas; ed:Lenyo]
#276: 
Circus Clowns Cause Chaos! [Sanctaria; ed:Maurepas]
#277: 
Say Cheese! [Crazy girl; ed:Sedgistan]
#278: 
Relief is Coming... in Four to Six Weeks [Luna Amore; ed:Sanctaria]
#280: 
Oh the Humanity! [Prevania; ed:Reploid Productions]
#281: 
Free Internet For THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [Solisbury; ed:Sirocco]
#282: 
Slum Village Extraordinaire [Foxopolis; ed:Dustistan]
#283: 
Wealthy Flee to Tax-free Havens [Gior Altheriod; ed:Lenyo]
#285: 
A Right Not to Work? [Nation of Quebec; ed:Lenyo]
#286: 
A Whale of a Problem [Doom and so on; ed:Luna Amore]
#288: 
Super-Sized Pizzas Recipe For Disaster? [New Ziedrich; ed:Luna Amore]
#289: 
Blizzards Serve Calls Cold, Says Mayor [Unibot II; ed:Sanctaria]
#290: 
Wheels of Misfortune [New Ziedrich; ed:Lenyo]
#291: 
A Question Of Sport [Dustistan; ed:Sanctaria]
#292: 
Tourists Wearing Out Their Welcome? [Virtualila; ed:Luna Amore]
#293: 
Maestro, Please [Castle in the Sky; ed:Luna Amore]
#294: 
Ghost Riders on the Sly [Fmyeram; ed:Luna Amore]
#295: 
Give Us Pockets or Give Us Something Else [Ferringinar; ed:Maurepas]

#300: 
Trafficked Tots Trouble [Crazy girl; ed:Sedgistan]
#301: 
Are 'Friends' Electric? [I V Stalin; ed:Lenyo]
#302: 
Delivering Mayhem In Thirty Minutes Or Less! [New Ziedrich; ed:Lenyo]
#303: 
Digital Revolution Requires Re-evaluation [Coddiac; ed:Frisbeeteria]
#304: 
Time for Paternity Leave, say Dads [Gior Altheriod; ed:Lenyo]
#305: 
Who’s Occupying What? [Nexexen; ed:Lenyo]
#306: 
A Matter of Trust [Nation of Quebec; ed:Sanctaria]
#307: 
Derailing the Gravy Train [Burtina; ed:Luna Amore]
#308: 
Over, Under or Through? [Platform VII; ed:Luna Amore]
#309: 
Guerrilla Grandparents [Luna Amore; ed:Lenyo]
#310: 
Too Little Talk? [Panageadom; ed:Lenyo]
#312: 
The Empire Strikes First? [Maleperduys; ed:Sedgistan]
#313: 
Conscientious Objectors Want You... To Let Them Abstain [Great Nepal; ed:Luna Amore]
#315: 
Creative Flowers Withering Under Legislation [Panageadom; ed:Luna Amore]
#316: 
Fortified Against Crime [Praedico; ed:Lenyo]
#317: 
Big Brother Is Watching You Surf [Vintaland; ed:The Most Glorious Hack]
#319: 
Sizing Up The Competition [Cosumar; ed:Luna Amore]
#320: 
Criminals to Vote? [Iglesian Archipelago; ed:Sanctaria]
#321: 
Cowboys and... Aliens? [Carlosianor; ed:Luna Amore]
#322: 
Empathy a Rare Commodity? [The Cookish States; ed:Luna Amore]
#323: 
Get Teens out of MyFace? [Malsitar; ed:Lenyo]
#324: 
"Tourism Tanking!" Tells Tabloids [Panageadom; ed:Lenyo]
#325: 
Blazing Through the Paper Trail [Euphilium; ed:Luna Amore]
#326: 
Knitters In A Knot Over Police Stitch Up [Tsaraine; ed: Sanctaria]
#327: 
No Rest For The Weary @@ANIMAL@@ [Black and Brindle; ed: Sedgistan]
#328: 
Bugged by Lack of Intelligence [Mediterreania; ed: Sanctaria]

 

Renseignements sur les problématiques

 

#000: Should Democracy Be Compulsory

The Issue
In response to a slow news week, certain highbrow newspapers have stirred up the debate over voluntary vs compulsory voting.

The Debate
1. "Compulsory voting makes about as much sense as having the death penalty for attempted suicide," says civil rights activist Marcel Marceau . "You can't force people to be free! You can only give them the choice. Besides, if all those derelicts who can't be bothered to get off their butts once every few years voted, who would they elect? I shudder to think."

2. "It's not contradictory at all," argues political commentator Marcel Marceau . "The fact is, if not everyone votes, the outcome isn't truly representative. Some groups--like elderly gun nuts--vote more often than others. That's why we always end up with such terrible politicians."

3. "This raises an interesting issue," says Marcel Marceau , your brother. "And that is: why do we need elections, anyway? Seems to me it would be much simpler if you just decided what was right, and did it. Wouldn't that save everyone a lot of time?"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#002: Reclaim The Streets!

The Issue
Several major city streets were clogged with bicycles this morning, as the environmental group 'Two Wheels Good, Four Wheels Bad' staged a protest. Several hundred riders ambled through downtown streets, blissfully ignoring the torrent of abuse hurled at them by thousands of motorists running late for work.

The Debate
1. "People are sick of dirty, smelly automobiles," said protest organizer Marcel Marceau . "They're choking the city, the environment--our lives! Cars must be banned!"

2. "The only thing people are sick of is long-haired idiots riding their bicycles at two miles an hour on major thoroughfares," says committed motorist Marcel Marceau . "People shouldn't be able to protest like this. The government needs to crack down on them."

3. The Automotive Manufacturers Association, meanwhile, has called for government support. "It's clear that we need to boost the level of automobile support in this country. This protest this morning is a clear indication of... um... anyway, we need more government funds."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#003: Harry Potter Censorship Row

The Issue
The latest "Harry Potter" book to hit schools across THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has stirred up the greatest controversy yet.

The Debate
1. "I quite enjoyed the book, until I got to the part where Harry summons evil demons to do his bidding," says religious leader Marcel Marceau . "Now that's just wrong. We need to restore some sense to this debate, by which I mean we should remove this book from the shelves, salt it thoroughly, and burn it."

2. Teachers union President Marcel Marceau says, "Come on, the book is fantasy! And it's a really good read. I'd like the government to issue a statement of support for our teachers and librarians, so kids can enjoy good books without interference from religious wackos, like Christians."

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#004: Economic Collapse Looms!

The Issue
Big business, fed up with over-regulation in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, are heading offshore in ever-increasing numbers.

The Debate
1. "Good riddance!" says noted environmentalist Marcel Marceau . "Sniff that air! It's never been so clean! At last, our society is freeing itself from the consumer death-trap! I say it's time to take the final step and outlaw capitalism once and for all!"

2. "This is a catastrophe waiting to happen," says the Chamber of Commerce. "Think of the consequences! Without big business, where do the jobs come from? Where do we get our medicine? Our cars? Our latest fashions? There are dozens of useless regulations the government could abolish today to make life easier for commerce, and it's high time they did."

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#005: Child Casino Shock

The Issue
Children as young as eight have been spotted gambling in some of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's seedier casinos.

The Debate
1. Social activist Marcel Marceau is outraged. "Gambling needs to be outlawed immediately. It's no wonder children are becoming sucked into the vice, with adults setting such a poor example. Gambling is a stain on THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's international reputation and it must be stopped!"

2. However, Crown Casino chairperson Marcel Marceau says, "What's wrong with children gambling? It prepares them for the realities of life, teaching them that success or failure is not due to hard work or intelligence, but the roll of the dice. Besides, if kids weren't gambling, they'd be spraypainting trains."

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#007: Animal Liberation Front Strikes Again

The Issue
The increasingly militant Animal Liberation Front struck again last night, freeing dozens of chickens bound for delicious snack packs.

The Debate
1. "These nuts have got to be stopped," demands concerned consumer Marcel Marceau . "They need to face the fact people want snack packs, no matter how many innocent chickens must be sacrificed. Besides, chickens would do the same to us if they had the chance."

2. "These Liberationists are highlighting an important issue," pleads Marcel Marceau . "Too often, animals are put through needless cruelty, just to make their flesh taste a little more deliciously succulent. I'm sure we could ban the more horrific abuses without putting too much of a dent in our national obesity figures. Couldn't we?"

3. "Animals have feelings too!" yelled protestor Marcel Marceau , before being set upon by hungry passers-by. "Free the animals! Ban meat-eating!"

4. Economist Marcel Marceau has an alternative. "You don't need to take away the people's right to choose. You just need to build the costs of animal suffering into the price. A tax on meat-eating, in proportion to the amount of cruelty involved, would do the trick. Plus think of the benefit for the national coffers! Of course, poor people wouldn't be able to afford meat, but that's just more incentive for them to get jobs."

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#009: @@ANIMAL@@s On The Dinner Table?

The Issue
In a bid to provide a new revenue stream for THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Beef-Based Agriculture industry, it has been suggested that @@ANIMAL@@s could be added to the menu.

The Debate
1. "The fact is, the @@ANIMAL@@ population is out of control," says Beef-Based Agriculture spokesperson Marcel Marceau . "We have to do something about them anyway, so why not market them as tasty snacks? We could have @@ANIMAL@@ kebabs, @@ANIMAL@@ pies, @@ANIMAL@@-on-a-sticks--the possibilities are endless! Let's not pass up this golden opportunity to provide a feast, if you will, for our economy."

2. "I agree that something needs to be done about @@ANIMAL@@ over-population," says random passer-by Marcel Marceau , "but eating them? That's kind of gross. Let's just shoot the ones we have to and shovel their bodies into ditches like normal."

3. "I am shocked and appalled!" declared SPCA President Marcel Marceau . "If anyone needs to be culled, it's us humans. The @@ANIMAL@@s were here first, remember? We need to take this as a sign to get our industry--agriculture in particular--to back off. The @@ANIMAL@@ is part of what makes THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD a great nation!"

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#010: Social Inequality Reaching Embarrassing Levels

The Issue
Commentators have warned that THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's social inequalities threaten to make it an international pariah.

The Debate
1. "Look, I don't like it either," said Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Marcel Marceau . "Just on the way here, I had to step over three homeless people, and one of my shoes got caught on a beggar. But inequality is the price we pay for economic strength. If anything, we need fewer taxes, so those of us who are well-off can afford to be more generous. If we want to, that is."

2. "I think we've forgotten what economic strength is all about," says social worker Marcel Marceau . "The economy is meant to be a means to a high standard of living, not an end in itself. It's become an excuse for the rich to prosper while the poor fall through the cracks. Not everyone is poor because they don't feel like working. We must provide more welfare."

3. "Who says we're an international pariah?" demands military honcho Marcel Marceau . "What are their names? If that's the way the international community feels, we obviously need to prepare for war."

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#011: People Request Not So Much Dictatorship, If That's All Right

The Issue
While effusively praising THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's leadership and bowing repeatedly, a delegation has humbly requested that the government take a more "modernistic" view in the future.

The Debate
1. The High Minister for Finance, who also happens to be your brother, dismisses the claim. "What these people fail to realize is that you know what's best for them. The alternative is anarchy! I say stick to your course. And execute these wackos for treason."

2. "Perhaps the people could be given some more political freedoms," muses your Chief of Staff, who is your sister. "Is there really such harm in allowing public discussion of ideas? We could even have a real Opposition Party. One that isn't just full of your puppets, I mean."

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#013: Too Much Yakking, Already, Say Delegation

The Issue
Some people say THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's policy on free speech has gone too far.

The Debate
1. "These days, anyone says whatever they want with no regard to what kind of dribble is coming out of their mouths!" says angry commuter Marcel Marceau . "It's gone too far. We should go back to the good old days, when if someone started talking garbage, we'd smack them one."

2. "We need more free speech, not less," argues civil rights campaigner Marcel Marceau . "Free speech allows ideas to be explored, challenged, and discussed in a productive, open forum. It teaches our kids to be critical thinkers. And dirty words, of course, but that's just the price you pay."

3. "The right to free speech is a central tenet of our system of democracy," says religious leader Marcel Marceau . "But surely the right to not have your religious beliefs mocked by others is worth something, too? We mustn't put up with intolerance!"

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#014: Military Demands Increased Spending

The Issue
The Department of Defense has put its case for a substantial increase in funding for the coming financial year.

The Debate
1. "These are turbulent times we live in," says Defense Chief Marcel Marceau . "Turbulent and dangerous. And the only sensible response to that, of course, is to build a lot more weapons. Unless we get the funding we need, I can't promise that we'll be able to defend THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's sovereign borders from rogue nations and foreign powers. Or those leaky boatloads of refugees, for that matter."

2. "NO MORE BOMBS," chant the protestors outside Parliament House, in a repetitious and increasingly annoying appeal. Spokesperson Marcel Marceau , speaking through a feedback-afflicted microphone, says, "THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD needs fewer weapons, not more! Make the world a safer place! Disarm now!"

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#015: More Police Needed

The Issue
As crime rates rise, some in the community are calling for increased policing.

The Debate
1. "Just the other day, I got mugged in the broad daylight!" says ruffian Marcel Marceau . "And the ironic thing is I had just stuck up this other guy. When muggers are getting mugged, even I have to admit that crime has gotten out of control. We do need more police."

2. "The solution to crime is not more police!" says noted sociologist and occasional crime novelist Marcel Marceau . "Studies repeatedly show that crime is caused by poverty and poor education. Increase government spending in these areas, and crime will fall! Maybe not overnight, but it will happen."

3. "Yeah, good luck with that," says conservative leader and gun enthusiast Marcel Marceau . "Look, we do need more police, that's clear. But that's not enough. We need real punishments: sentences that will act as a genuine deterrent to people considering a life of crime. Like public floggings."

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#016: @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ Workers Strike!

The Issue
Workers across the nation have gone out on indefinite strike over what they claim are substandard wages in the @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ industry.

The Debate
1. "We are the backbone of this country, and we demand a fair wage rise!" says union leader Marcel Marceau . "I don't think a 20% increase over two years is too much to ask. Unless the government forces employers to give us our due, we'll shut this whole industry down! Let's see how well THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's economy manages without any @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@, huh?"

2. "We pay our employees very generous wages," says employer representative Marcel Marceau . "Especially when you consider that without us, they'd be OUT ON THE STREET. Hear that, you scumbags? OUT ON THE STREET! Anyway, my point is, if you cave in, you make our entire industry uncompetitive. You can't do that in the global marketplace. It'll hurt the whole country. The best solution, economically speaking, would be to relax industrial laws and allow us to fire troublemakers on the spot."

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#017: Corporations Demand Political Say

The Issue
A well-heeled lobby group is pushing for the elimination of regulations that prevent corporations from donating money to political parties.

The Debate
1. "This is supposed to be a democratic country," @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ industry spokesperson Marcel Marceau says. "Yet these archaic laws say I can't donate money to support a political party. They put ceilings on the amount any party can spend on advertising. It's time to stop treating voters like children, and trust them to make up their own minds. Free the ballot box!"

2. "You say political freedom, I hear vote-buying," says popular anarchist Marcel Marceau . "If these fat cats get their way, politicians will buy their own seat in Congress. And let's face it, a slick advertising campaign can convince a lot of apathetic voters. We need to tighten the laws, not repeal them. Money should have no place in politics!"

3. "Frankly, I don't see why we need to have elections at all," says your brother, Marcel Marceau , over a late-night malt whiskey. "You always seem to know what's best. Why not scrap the whole political system? It would make things so much simpler."

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#018: Citizens Struggle Under "Unfair" Tax Burden

The Issue
A recent poll has revealed high levels of dissatisfaction among the populace about tax rates.

The Debate
1. "Do you know how much of my year's work goes to the government?" demanded angry worker Marcel Marceau . "Too much! Government spending has gotten way out of control. It needs big cuts in welfare, health, and education. But leave those subsidies to business alone. We need them to create jobs."

2. "It's not the AMOUNT of tax, it's where the burden falls," says student activist Marcel Marceau . "And at the moment, far too much of the burden is falling on the poor. People on high incomes still have more money than people on low incomes. I don't think I need to say anything more than that."

3. "I don't object to the amount of tax, I object to where it's being spent," says social reformer Marcel Marceau . "I'd like to see everyone have a choice as to where their @@CURRENCY@@s go every time they fill out a tax return. Everyone would feel a lot better about opening their wallets if they had a say as to where the money went. I think you'd see a lot more public money going to education and a lot less to business."

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#021: Police Consider "Big Brother" Anti-Crime System

The Issue
The Police department is considering installing surveillance cameras in all major public areas, in an effort to crack down on crime.

The Debate
1. "This is a blatant invasion of the right to privacy!" says libertarian web site operator Marcel Marceau . "Now I can't even go out in public any more without being watched? And you know this is just the beginning. Today there are cameras in city streets. Tomorrow they're peering through your bedroom window."

2. "Hey, I've got news for you," says Police media liaison Marcel Marceau . "When you're out in public, PEOPLE CAN SEE YOU. These cameras will be extremely helpful in reducing the national crime rate. Frankly, I can't see what the fuss is about."

3. "This 'slippery slope' argument has got me thinking," says Police Minister Marcel Marceau . "You know, it would be a lot easier to fight crime if we watched people all the time. Not with cameras, of course. That's clearly an invasion of privacy. But how about a national database of our citizens, coupled with compulsory ID cards and barcoding? It would stop crime dead in its tracks."

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#023: Uranium Deposit Promises To Enrich THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD

The Issue
Prospecting company Nukes4U has uncovered a large uranium deposit in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's south-west.

The Debate
1. "This is a terrific find!" claims Nukes4U CEO Marcel Marceau . "It will provide an enormous stimulus to our economy and create thousands of new jobs. It's win-win! All we need from the government is permission to bulldoze the rainforest that's on top of the deposit."

2. "You've got to be kidding," says Green politician Marcel Marceau . "This rainforest is thousands of years old! This country needs more environmental protection, not less. And to destroy the environment in order to mine uranium that then goes into nuclear bombs--well, that really sticks in my craw."

3. "There's no need for an either-or decision," says the government's Minister for Mining, Clear-Felling, and the Environment. "We can preserve most of the rainforest and allow mining of a small part. After all, think of all the good that the money from this uranium deposit can bring to THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD."

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#024: Budget Time: Accountants Excited

The Issue
It's time for the government to allocate spending for the coming year, and as always, special interest groups are keen to have their say.

The Debate
1. "The state of the education system is, in many areas, simply frightful," says Teachers Union leader Marcel Marceau . "And even where we are doing well, we could do better. I appeal to the authorities for a substantial boost in funding. Remember, the children are our future."

2. "We won't have a future unless we improve police numbers and rebuild the military," says General Marcel Marceau . "Oh, it's all well and good to have your fancy education and your nice cars, until some tinpot dictatorship decides to invade. And don't pretend like there aren't any of them in our region. Our number one priority has to be security."

3. "Education is nice, but Health and Social Welfare are more important," says celebrity social worker Marcel Marceau . "This is where the people who really need government help are: the marginalized of our society. If we don't help them, what kind of a nation are we?"

4. "Hey, I've got a crazy idea," says noted libertarian and bird-watcher Marcel Marceau . "How about the government stops taking so much tax from people? Give us a tax cut and we'll buy the things we need ourselves. People need to be weaned off the government teat!"

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#025: Cloning Research Promises New Breakthrough

The Issue
Scientists using cloned human embryos for research are on the verge of a medical breakthrough.

The Debate
1. "It's really very exciting," says lab head Marcel Marceau . "Until now, we've kept very quiet, to avoid being targeted by lunatic fringe groups who for some reason think it's wrong to clone human embryos. It's too early to promise anything, but we hope that one day we will have genetic cures for a whole range of debilitating illnesses. I certainly hope the government will support our work."

2. "Well, if you have to be part of a lunatic fringe group to object to this barbaric practice, I'm a lunatic," says placard-waving protestor Marcel Marceau . "Of course it would be nice to cure these unnamed diseases, but at what cost? They're messing with the sanctity of human life. It's wrong, and the lab should be shut down immediately."

Last edited by Ballotonia on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:32 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Posts: 461

Founded: Jul 01, 2010

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Re: NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Andacantra » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:44 am

#026: Compulsory Organ Harvesting Proposed

The Issue
A group of emergency room doctors has petitioned the government to introduce mandatory organ donations.

The Debate
1. "It's not as crazy as it sounds," says Dr. Marcel Marceau . "Every day, people die because we don't have the organs to save them. Well, that and widespread under-funding of the health system. But the point is, if the government allowed us to take organs from dead people, we could save hundreds of lives a year. And come on, it's not like dead people need them."

2. "You keep your hands off my organs!" says alarmed hospital patient Marcel Marceau . "They are my organs, and I'll do with them what I like. The government has no right to my body."

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#027: Cash for Colons?

The Issue
Hospitals have requested that they be allowed to pay people for donating blood and other bodily organs, such as kidneys.

The Debate
1. "We remain critically short of blood plasma and various organs," says THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD One hospital administrator Marcel Marceau . "Especially hearts. A good heart is hard to find. But if we were allowed to pay for donations, we'd get more of them and could save more lives. Plus the donor takes home a few hundred @@CURRENCY@@s in compensation. Unless it's a post-mortem donation, of course. In that case we'd pay the family."

2. "Great idea," says social commentator Marcel Marceau . "Except for one thing. You know who's going to be selling their organs? Poor people! They'll be so desperate for money that they'll sell their own kidneys. Well, a kidney. This is just another way for the rich to buy themselves a better life at the expense of the poor. It must be outlawed."

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#028: Cancer Sufferer Demands Euthanasia Bill

The Issue
Dorothy Terwilliger lies immobilized in a hospital bed, unable to move. She has end-stage cancer, and wishes to end her struggle against death. However, laws prevent her doctors from obeying her wishes.

The Debate
1. Dorothy and her family are campaigning for a "Dying with Dignity" bill, to change this situation. She implores the government to legalize euthanasia.

2. "I understand this is a very difficult time for these people," says freelance medical writer Marcel Marceau . "But the solution is not to let our medical system slide down the slippery slope of killing people in pain. We must cure, not kill. This is not the right time for euthanasia."

3. "I agree, but go further: there is never a right time for euthanasia," says Bishop Marcel Marceau . "The lives we lead are given to us by the grace of God, and he decides when they end. It is not for us to question God's divine purpose, no matter how odd or screwed-up it may seem."

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#029: Minorities Demand Representation In TV Soaps

The Issue
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's TV soaps--famous around the region--have come under fire for their lack of ethnic diversity.

The Debate
1. "Every night my family and I sit down to watch 'The Brash and the Backstabbing'," says Marcel Marceau . "But where are the Lilliputians like myself? Where are the Bigtopians? The Marche Noirians? People from those cultures can be just as brash and backstabbing, but we never see them on the screen. The government must act to remove this silent apartheid from our TV screens."

2. "Those Lilliputians don't know how good they have it," says Marcel Marceau , spokesperson for the Tasmanians Against Ethnic Stereotyping. "Tasmanians are on television all the time, but always in crude, stereotypical roles. The answer is not to enforce ethnic quotas, but to award government prizes for the positive portrayal of minorities. That'll work better, and be cheaper, too."

3. "The government should do what now?" says TV studio executive Marcel Marceau . "You've got to be kidding. We make soaps here, not documentaries. I should be able to put whichever characters I want into my shows. Quotas! Government prizes! God save me! Hasn't the government got anything better to do? Why don't they just back off and let society work out these things on its own?"

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#030: Auto Industry Struggles Against Foreign Imports

The Issue
Cheap, foreign-made cars are becoming increasingly popular, causing concern in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's automobile manufacturing industry.

The Debate
1. "Unless this government does something, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD won't have an auto industry for much longer," says auto industry union boss Marcel Marceau , in a rare public appearance alongside management. "These foreign companies employ people for a few @@CURRENCY@@s a day. The only way to level the playing field is to raise tariffs. The government would make more money, too, so it's win-win."

2. "For once, I agree with my grubby colleague here," says General Chassis CEO Marcel Marceau . "Although I have to say, tariffs aren't the only answer. A more effective solution would be to abolish minimum wage laws. Now that would level the playing field. And we'd be able to employ more--argh, let go of my throat!"

3. "I think we need to face facts," says noted economist and chat-show regular Marcel Marceau . "We live in a global economy now, and automobile manufacturing just isn't THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's strong suit. There's no point taking money from taxpayers in order to line the pockets of a few greedy workers and corrupt managers in a doomed industry. Let the market take its--argh, let go of my throat!"

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#031: Get Efficient, Private Sector Tells Nature [MantiCorp GroundForces]

The Issue
A group of prominent business identities has proposed privatizing THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's beaches.

The Debate
1. "Have you been to the beach lately? It's disgusting," says company spokesperson Marcel Marceau . "There's litter, there's teenagers smoking, and there are people enjoying themselves without paying for it. Let the private sector in on this, and THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's beaches will be the talk of the region! And a nice little earner, too."

2. "Whoa, whoa, we're privatizing beaches now?" says local campaigner Marcel Marceau . "These are public spaces! All THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's citizens have a right to enjoy them, not just the well-off. Yes, we should improve the quality of our beaches, but handing them over to the money-grabbers is not the right way to do it. The right way to do it is to boost government spending by increasing taxes."

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#033: Genetics Brings New Life to Extinct Species [Badger Lozzate]

The Issue
Scientists have announced they are close to a breakthrough in their quest to revive the feather-bellied @@ANIMAL@@, a species related to THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's national animal that has been extinct for more than a century.

The Debate
1. "I, for one, applaud their work," says scientist Marcel Marceau . "And not just because I'm the project leader. This is an example of how THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's brains can mix it with the world's best. Can you imagine how wonderful it will be to have feather-bellied @@ANIMAL@@s frolicking in the meadows again? I say full steam ahead, and more government funding!"

2. "This is a sacrilege!", says religious leader Marcel Marceau . "These animals are extinct because God wants them dead. Cloning them would merely incur his wrath! If we proceed down this path, it'll be humans, not the feather-bellied @@ANIMAL@@, who will be extinct."

3. "Now, come on," says Marcel Marceau , well-known philosopher. "You don't need to be religious to be unnerved by the top of this particular slippery slope. Today it's @@ANIMAL@@s, tomorrow it's dinosaurs, and we all know how that turns out. This research shouldn't be banned, but there must be strict government controls over its use."

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#035: Refugees Want To Call THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Home [The True Scroat]

The Issue
After several bloody conflicts in nearby regions, a stream of asylum-seekers and refugees has been spotted heading for THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's shores.

The Debate
1. "Some of these people have endured terrible hardships to reach our borders," says International Red Cross spokesperson Marcel Marceau . "We must welcome these unfortunates with open arms. Let the world see that THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD does not turn its back on those in need!"

2. "These grasping freeloaders will swamp our culture and traditions!" argues talk-radio host Marcel Marceau . "First they want welfare, next thing you know they're taking our jobs -- and you know they won't bother to learn our language. I say charity begins at home -- and this isn't their home. This is the world's problem, not ours."

3. Economics Professor Marcel Marceau offers an alternative. "There is no question that we have to help those who reach out to us in their darkest hour. But on the other hand, we cannot help everybody. So let's just take the ones who are willing to keep our streets clean and our drains flowing in return for a subsistence wage."

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#036: International Community Comes Doorknocking [Guadalcanal]

The Issue
The international community has appealed to THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to increase humanitarian aid to the world's poorer nations.

The Debate
1. "We must increase foreign aid," says beaded local peace activist Marcel Marceau . "Compared to some of these nations, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is swimming in @@CURRENCY@@s. Let's face it, not every nation in the world is lucky enough to have a government like ours. Let's show some compassion to our less economically gifted neighbors."

2. "Talk about a way to flush @@CURRENCY@@s straight down the toilet," argues Think Tank member Marcel Marceau . "What I've noticed is that whenever we do give something, it's never enough: a few years later they're back asking for more. The best way to help these poor nations is to stop shielding them from the logical consequences of their idiotic, long-debunked socialist economic policies."

3. "Relief wouldn't hurt us... if we 'relieved' the right countries," suggests government advisor Marcel Marceau . "We give them a little humanitarian aid, they give us access to their @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ markets... it's win-win. Nothing wrong with a little quid pro quo, especially for a good cause."

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#037: Traffic Cops Needed on Information Superhighway? [Snowcat]

The Issue
Certain shadowy ministerial figures have proposed government monitoring of individual internet usage.

The Debate
1. "In these days of terror and uncertainty, it's exactly what we need," says Marcel Marceau , signing an arrest warrant. "Every pervert, terrorist, bomb-building maniac and anti-government idiot is currently online. I'm not saying that we should block citizens from seeing it, but let's also watch who's seeking it out. This will give our law enforcement officers the chance to prevent crimes before they happen. If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide."

2. "Well, I AM saying we should block out that filth," says a man in a dark hat, stepping from the shadows. "If people want to use the internet, they can view our government-approved sites. Those are swell."

3. Privacy activist Marcel Marceau is outraged, as usual. "Tyranny is the natural result of limiting information! Someone, somewhere, will always find something offensive -- mimes for example. Those scare the hell out of me. But should we ban them? No! Free the internet! We have nothing to fear from free information but pop-up advertising!"

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#038: THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Looks to the Stars [Sentient Peoples]

The Issue
The recent popularity of a science-fiction TV show has prompted calls for THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to develop its own space program.

The Debate
1. "Don't tell me space colonies wouldn't be cool," says excited fifth-grade teacher Marcel Marceau , still wearing big Spock ears from his last convention. "Think of how they would galvanize the national population! And there would also be some kind of scientific benefit, probably."

2. "The project certainly is feasible, but very expensive," says THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Space Agency Head Marcel Marceau . "We could make it less of a burden on the taxpayers if we sought funding from private industry -- advertisements on the side of our rockets, selling contracts to the Arms Manufacturing industry, that kind of thing."

3. "If God had meant Man to fly, he would have given us solid rocket boosters instead of legs," says religious type Marcel Marceau . "We should not be looking to the stars, but rather inside our own hearts. That's why we should abandon this so-called space program, and instead make the teaching of religion mandatory in all schools."



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#041: Software Giant Stomps on Competition [1 Infinite Loop; ed:The SLAGLands]

The Issue
The CEO of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD software, hardware, and electronic headwear giant Microcosm, Inc. has been brought before the Supreme Court for violation of antitrust laws.

The Debate
1. "These allegations are absolutely ludicrous!" shouts Microcosm CEO Marcel Marceau from out the window of his 90-foot stretch limo. "Just because rival companies are incapable of producing products as brilliant as mine is no reason to punish ME! I say it's high time we abolish these idiotic antitrust laws and give big business the freedom to serve the public better. After all, I'm in this business for the people!"

2. "Microcosm must be shut down immediately," argues CEO of Computers, Computers, Computers! Marcel Marceau from out the window of his clunky, exhaust-choked used car. "I can't get a foothold to compete in the market because those bigwigs in Microcosm have that foothold by the throat! It's high time the government stepped in and helped out the little man, and the best way to do that is to shut down the big, oppressive, corporate gurus in Microcosm and beyond."

3. "Verily, I say unto thee, none of this would have happened wouldst thou not have stopped the problem before thou didst start it," argues Brother Marcel Marceau of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Amish community from out the window of his horse-drawn carriage. "We must doest as the Lord commandeth and abolishest the evils of computers and the Internet entirely. Only whenst we harken unto the Lord's commandments mayeth we truly be spiritually blessed."

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#042: Turn Down That Racket, Say Morality Police [The Prelapsarian State; ed:The SLAGLands]

The Issue
A group of concerned parishioners and soccer moms has petitioned the government of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to outlaw heavy metal music, which they fear is a bad influence on youngsters.

The Debate
1. "Heavy metal music is a plague in our good nation and its God-fearing people!" argues local priest and easy listening advocate Marcel Marceau . "Just the other day, I heard a song by some group called Hell's Irate Puppies with a sinful quantity of bass and drum... oh, and there were probably some lines about killing parents, too, I'd imagine! It's vital that we ban this music, and remove this terrible influence from our children's lives! Think of the children!"

2. "Whoa, man... what's with the, like, censorship and stuff?" asks Marcel Marceau , scruffy-haired bassist of the popular speed metal band The Destroyinators. "You can't, like, censor the music, man. That's how we express ourselves! Every bass beat is me baring my soul! Every howl is me complainin' about how my parents tried to kick me out of their basement! I say promote the arts, man!"

3. "You know, this heavy metal issue has me thinking," says Marcel Marceau , your brother, over your weekly game of cribbage. "If these long-haired freaks want to put out their devil-worshipping metal, why don't we let them? Of course, we'll put a little subliminal propoganda into every song... after all, don't these guys owe their freedom of expression to you?"

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#043: Prisoners Demand Elbow Room [Lucazmodei; ed:The SLAGLands]

The Issue
In a display of unity that can best be described as "highly unnerving," criminals and law enforcement officials alike are up in arms about recent overcrowding within prisons in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

The Debate
1. "I tell ya, chief... this ain't good," mutters local police chief Marcel Marceau over his morning cup of coffee. "I see these no-good mohawk-wearin' punks every day, and they're a dangerous bunch. They gotta be locked in their mudholes forever! If we can't afford to keep 'em in prison, I say we need more money! Let's just casually shift some funding from elsewhere; after all, it ain't like our welfare program is helping keep these kids away from crime."

2. "How can these wayward individuals find their inner selves by staring at the walls within a stone cell?" challenges human rights activist and local prison license plate maker Marcel Marceau . "The nation's budget is absolute proof: we cannot afford prisons... strictly because of their immorality! Let these caged birds breathe the sweet air of freedom again! Shut down all prisons in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!"

3. "Now hold on just a second here," says Marcel Marceau , CEO of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's most widely-known pizza delivery chain, Papa Pallocci's Pizza Pagoda. "You've got a problem with prisoners, and I've got a problem finding employees. Why don't you just send some of your criminals to Papa Pallocci's? We'll put 'em to work at lower pay as punishment for their crimes! I win, you win... the economy wins!"

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#044: No Pain, No Gain! [Independent Planets; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
Due to the recent capture of a foreign terrorist in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, high-level military officials want the government to authorize torture to extract information about other terrorist activities.

The Debate
1. "Torture is the only way that we can get these idiots to tell us anything," says General Marcel Marceau of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's special forces division. "After all, violence is the only shared language we have with these scum."

2. "Are you kidding?" states political activist Marcel Marceau . "Torture never works. If anything, it should be outlawed. What do we want to become, genocidal maniacs?

3. "There's nothing wrong with torture, but we can't make it too obvious," says Secretary of Defense Marcel Marceau . "How about we simply ask them nicely, and then, if they don't tell us, we kill them? That's better just from the intimidation."

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#045: Baseball League Steps Up To The Plate [Pilot; ed:The SLAGLands]

The Issue
The Batter Up! Baseball League has begun to grow in popularity and is now seeking government support in establishing teams and stadiums throughout the nation.

The Debate
1. "Holy cow, is this gonna be great!" hollers BUBL President and sports nut Marcel Marceau , wearing a fashionable giant foam finger on his right hand. "Baseball is just what THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD needs right now! Think about it: soda, popcorn, hot dogs... oh, and I'm sure the economy will benefit somehow, too! All we need is the government funding to build stadiums and teams, and we'll be on every TV and in every city in the country!"

2. "You're going to spend the taxpayer's money on WHAT?" counters Minister of Finance Marcel Marceau , from a newly furnished office. "I mean, I love playing a good game of baseball every now and then, but does the government really need to go around supporting this? The only people that are going to benefit are a bunch of fat-cat burger vendors and bored hicks with nothing better to do on Sunday afternoon! We need to stop spending so much money on these ridiculous games and get back to what's really important: running the business of the country."

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#047: The Great Wall of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [1 Infinite Loop; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Due to the ongoing wars in neighboring countries, a recent rash of illegal immigrants have been caught at the borders of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, prompting many citizens to call for tighter immigration laws.

The Debate
1. Marcel Marceau of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD National Purity League says "These illegal aliens are just an eyesore with their strange customs and funny languages. Uneducated immigrants like these only worsen crime and steal valuable jobs! I say we should boot them all out on their ears and put a big fence around the country!"

2. Marcel Marceau of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Civil Liberties Union says "We must welcome these refugees from any nation into our open arms, they are fleeing one oppressive dictatorial regime in the only way they know, we must not let them think they're jumping from the frying pan into the fire!"

3. "Hold on there, hold on people!" says Marcel Marceau of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Broadcasting company, "We don't have to take either extreme, all we have to do is make a TV game show out of it! We put deadly obstacles on the border and monitor it with television cameras! Those that make it across win freedom and citizenship, and those who don't, well, lets just say that our buzzards won't starve. We could call it 'Who Wants to be an Immigrant?'!"

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#048: Give Us Healthcare Or Give Us Death! [Dictator Amanda; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
A large group of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's uninsured citizens have petitioned the government to provide a universal healthcare system, citing the poor health of many low and middle-class workers. Some of the more vocal of them are threatening violence if something isn't done.

The Debate
1. "A universal healthcare system would provide everyone with the same quality healthcare the more wealthy and well-insured currently receive," says recently laid-off citizen and civil rights activist Marcel Marceau . "Sure, taxes would probably have to increase a bit. But isn't it worth it to provide our lower-class citizens with the same opportunities the upper-class citizens have?"

2. "Are you all INSANE? This will ruin the health insurance business and drive up unemployment rates," argues Marcel Marceau , head of the largest insurance provider in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. "If everyone working for their health insurance could suddenly get it free, there would be fewer jobs filled. It would get worse for everyone involved. The government should investigate the motives of these troublemaking 'protestors', instead!"

3. "Why do we have to choose either radical option?" says your Secretary of Health, Marcel Marceau . "Couldn't we just provide limited basic healthcare for our citizens and have major operations covered by private health insurance? It would be more affordable and the poor would suffer less than they do under the current system."

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#049: Diving For @@CURRENCY@@s [Nogero; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Divers from a local scuba club have discovered an enormous underwater gold deposit that could be worth billions of @@CURRENCY@@s in one of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's lakes. It has also caused a huge debate over who should be allowed to plunder the goods.

The Debate
1. Marcel Marceau , a cabinet member, would like the government to seize the deposit. "This is an excellent time to boost THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's economy and increase our foreign trade with other countries! Who cares about the people that discovered the deposit? They've done their country a great favor and should let us have the money!"

2. Marcel Marceau , a civil rights activist, vehemently disagrees. "The deposit was found by private citizens and it should be their choice of what to do with the gold. If the government goes around stealing what is rightfully ours, then I shudder to think I live in such a corrupt country. These people discovered the gold, it's now their time to get rich! Nevermind the fact they were diving in a lake on government property!"

3. "We should do what now?" Environmentalist Marcel Marceau exclaims. "Do you have any idea how damaging it would be to the environment to mine the gold under that lake? Think of all the aquatic life that would be disrupted or destroyed! Think of how an otherwise pristine lake view would be ruined! Forget the gold and keep those money-grubbing pigs away from nature!"

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#051: Streaker in Snooker Game Fiasco [Sirocco; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
After a sixty year old man with psoriasis streaked past cameras and millions of sports fans during the snooker league playoffs, protesters have called for tougher action.

The Debate
1. "This can't go on!" says traumatized snooker player Marcel Marceau , "Children are watching sports and having them exposed to this lewd behaviour is unacceptable! I demand that these people be locked up for several years and maybe they'll have learnt their lesson!"

2. "Oh don't be ridiculous!" scoffs prolific streaker Marcel Marceau , "It's all just a bit of fun and the kids shouldn't be wrapped in cotton wool, or they'll learn nothing! Sports are so dull anyway, it needs a little bare skin to liven it up. Streaking should be legal!"

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#053: Orbital Armageddon? [The US Marine Corps; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
The space research organization in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has requested more government funding for space-related research and development, and the possibility of creating orbital weapons platforms has become a topic of intense debate.

The Debate
1. General Marcel Marceau says, "We should spend more. But not just on exploration. We should start developing Orbital Weapons! Space Marines! Armed Spacecraft! We would rule the region, and look cool doing it! Just divert some funding from environmental protection, and BAM! Sci-fi goodies!"

2. Noted Scientist and pacifist writer Marcel Marceau thinks otherwise, "No! Space is a place for peace! It's the only place left we've got that we haven't screwed up. Oh, the space program still needs funding, don't get me wrong, but none of this 'military in space' stuff will do! We ought to divert funding from the military to education and space research instead!"

3. Fringe Group Leader Marcel Marceau disagrees, "Space is a total waste of time. We should spend more on stuff people actually CARE about. Like voting rights and protecting the environment! Forget that fancy-schmancy space station!"

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#054: Time To Put The Older Senators Out To Pasture? [Pangaa; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Many people are starting to think that it's time to put term limits on elected officials, given the average age of 70 years old and 40 years of service in the nation's Parliament.

The Debate
1. "It's time to get these lifetime politicians off the government payroll!" says term-limits advocate Marcel Marceau . "Let them get real jobs like the rest of us once they leave office. Besides, if they are currently a Senator, they can always run for another office like Governor. This gives people the right to elect whomever they want to run for office, just not the same office forever. It'll keep things from going completely stale!"

2. "Wait a minute," says Marcel Marceau , chairman of the national Infinite Power party. "We pay a lot of money to get those people into office. It can take several terms before we get a return on our investment, I mean, candidates. We should extend the number of years for each term, not limit the number of times a person can serve in any specific office!"

3. Your aunt's mother's step-sister's best friend's hairstylist, Marcel Marceau , pooh-poohs the entire idea. "You know how to run your country, yes? Why deal with the hassle of elected officials and elections in the first place, yes? Eliminate elections and this entire term limit issue becomes moot, yes?"

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#055: Bigtopian Protesters Cry For Full Integration [Grantwold; ed:The SLAGLands]

The Issue
Bigtopian activists have staged a sit-in at the largest primary school in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD bringing education to a halt in a bid for integration and tolerance.

The Debate
1. "You know... it's not that we don't let them in... it's that they don't apply," murmurs Principal Marcel Marceau , nervously tugging at his shirt collar. "I mean, yeah, sure, if these Bigtopians lived around here... uh... we'd let them into the school. But... you know... this isn't exactly a Bigtopian community, you know? So... uh... could you please put a stop to these protestors? Oh, and, uh..." Here he leans forward and whispers. "... make sure those creepy Bigtopian protestors don't show up at my school again, okay?"

2. "The time has come for the dream of equality to be realized!" shouts noted Bigtopian rights activist Marcel Marceau , slamming his fist against your desk. "I see Lilliputians, Tasmanians, and Lord knows how many East Lebatuckese keeping my Bigtopian brothers holed away in their prisons of blindness and ethnic apartheid! The time has come for full integration! If these schools are going to keep us out, I say it's time we were bussed in!"

3. "Well, that's all well and good, but it ain't well and good enough!" screams Marcel Marceau , leader of Bigtopians Rising Against Totalitarianist Scum, slamming his black-gloved fist against his podium during a recent pep rally. "We ain't just bein' kept out of their schools; we're bein' kept out of their neighborhoods! The oppressive majority fears us, but they can't hold us back any longer! The government needs to integrate the community as a whole by pushing out the majority and making way for a very loud, very angry minority!"

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#056: "Give Us Money!" Quoth the Poet [Ursoria; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
The National Poetry Society of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is demanding government-funded programs to promote the arts, especially poetry.

The Debate
1. "We need government help to promote culture." says Marcel Marceau , chairperson of the National Poetry Society of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. "Poetry is the soul of our nation, the very pulse of humanity! We will ultimately be judged according to our contribution to artistic enlightenment. In other words, please provide funding for our humble mission to bring the beauty of poetry to the masses!"

2. "Artists and poets should support themselves, like everyone else," replies Marcel Marceau , spokesperson for the Capitalism Now Party. "The suffering taxpayers should be given a break. In fact, we should abolish all government subsidies for special interest groups."

3. "Poets--who needs them?!" scoffs Marcel Marceau , Chairperson Emeritus of the Troglodyte Coalition. "These long-haired troublemakers should all be lined up against the wall and shot! That would be far more entertaining than reading some dumb poems!"

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#057: Electronic Plague in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! [Sentient Peoples; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
The malicious computer virus "DEAT.exe" is infecting nearly all the computers in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and the people are crying out for the government to do something about it.

The Debate
1. "It's those horrible kids. Hacking in where they don't belong. You've got to give us more funding to put a stop to it," says THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Federal Police Chief Marcel Marceau . "Like with cars- ban kids from using computers until they pass a test and get a license!"

2. CEO Marcel Marceau of CyberMirage Labs has a different idea. "Let us release SAL9000, our new AI, into the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Network. It'll put a stop to this virus. Nevermind that it's still only an untested beta!"

3. "Yeah, wonderful! Fix a virus by releasing an AI that will likely turn on its creators? Are you people trying to get us all killed?!" Decries infamous technophobe Marcel Marceau , "What do we need computers for anyway? They will only bring us trouble and disaster! Personal computers ought to be banned!"

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#059: Drunk Driving On The Rise [Cspalla; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
More and more, citizens are drinking before getting behind the wheel. A group of concerned citizens wants something done.

The Debate
1. Marcel Marceau , head of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous, says that drunk drivers need help. "Alcoholism is a nasty thing, a disease. The government has to help these poor souls to avoid the temptations of liquor, and wine, and beer, and hard cider, and brandy, and?" His eyes get a glazed far off look, "Where was I? Oh right, we have to help these people, not imprison them."

2. "That's lovely," says Marcel Marceau , a noted anti-alcohol advocate, "In a perfect world where rehab fixes everything. But this is the real world, and it doesn't bring back the victims. Drunk drivers kill people every day. If they take other's lives, the government must take theirs!"

3. "All of those plans attack the symptoms, not the disease," says Minister of Transportation Marcel Marceau , "Alcohol is a curse, a poison sent by the Devil to tempt mankind. We cannot trust people to make decisions for themselves. The only answer is prohibition. Ban alcohol completely."

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#060: Supreme Court Nomination [Nuttylnd; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
The death of 108 year old Supreme Court Justice Marcel Marceau has created an opening on the bench. Below are the possible nominees.

The Debate
1. Marcel Marceau , the Former CEO of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Products, says "I have long sat by and watched our government viciously attack the big businesses in this country. The government has no right to control businesses and I will adopt that position in all of my judgements."

2. Reverend Marcel Marceau is nominee #2. The Reverend says "I am sick and tired of the liberals in this country ruining our family values. Every day they assault our basic sense of decency. You must vote for me to keep our families safe. Think of the children!"

3. Gay Activist and former Senator Marcel Marceau is nominee #3. "Our people aren't happy, we need more freedom, we need more civil rights. We must keep the government out of the bedroom. We must respect people's right to privacy and remember that personal relations are just that, personal."

4. Environmental Activist Marcel Marceau argues, "Our government has been constantly violating Mother Earth and her rights, all our politicians talk about are civil rights, civil rights this, civil rights that, blah blah blah. We aren't important, what is important is the Earth!"

5. The last nominee is the retired Five Star General Marcel Marceau . "We are ridiculed throughout the international community for our low quality weaponry, our police and military numbers are not sufficient. Our military must be protected from both constitutional and civilian oversight. They should be given money, and a free hand."

6. Finally, a tomato flies by your head flung by an angry protester. "We want to elect our own judges! This is a democracy! More power to the people! We don't want a lapdog! Separation of Powers! Get the government out of the judicial system!" He chucks another tomato at you before security escorts him out of your private office.

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#061: Should The Government Grant Estates And Titles Of Nobility? [Leptonia; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
A peculiar confederacy of small-government advocates, regular attendees at THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's annual Medieval Faire, and the super rich have demanded that the government grant estates and confer titles of nobility upon certain influential persons.

The Debate
1. "Of course I should be appointed as the Duke of @@CAPITAL@@," says multi-billionaire Marcel Marceau . "Not only would it be an apt reward for my contributions to THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, but the citizens who become landed serfs on my estate would work harder than they ever have in all their lives." Adds small-government advocate Marcel Marceau , "Government would at last return to the local level, close to the people and the land to which they would be bound for life."

2. "I can't believe I'm hearing this," exclaims noted civil rights advocate Marcel Marceau . "Those who are behind this espouse a system that grants inordinate amounts of institutional power to the rich and ensures that no one will be able to climb the social ladder. Everyone in society must be granted an equal opportunity to succeed or fail. Say 'no' to a nobility!"

3. "I think both of the other parties are taking this issue to the extreme," argues a learned elderly gentleman resting on a park bench. "All that's being advocated is giving those who have contributed to their nation a ceremonial title and a bit of land. Besides," he adds, "the government can tax their estate."

4. "A good day to thee, milord," counters Marcel Marceau , an amateur Medieval Faire actor dressed in period costume, "I would suggest that thou hasten thyself to spectate at the jousting competition this forenoon. Aye, quite a bout we have arrayed for thee this day. However, the whole affair could be much grander if only we received a few more gold crownes from the government. Aye, 'twould be a grand tourney of knightly skill and courage indeed!"

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#062: Oh, The Angst! [Uni Students; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
In response to rising rates of depression related suicides, mental health groups have called for government funding to help support treatment programs, citing various surveys that indicate psychological disorders are often an overlooked problem.

The Debate
1. "Although it is often dismissed as an irrelevant complaint, depression is a real disease; it isn't just 'all in your head'," says Marcel Marceau , depression sufferer. "Depression has significant effects on groups and individuals, especially amongst teenagers. Every day, more and more people commit suicide because of this disease, but this could all be stopped if this country had a decent level of funding for support and public awareness programs."

2. "Screw them," Marcel Marceau , talkback radio host, stated yesterday. "Depression isn't a disease, it's just another example of today's youth finding something to complain about. Life's never been better. In fact, just yesterday, I bought my fourth BMW. And even if it is as serious as the bleeding hearts claim, then I say we leave it and cut some of the funding being wasted on these head cases. If a few whiners jump off a bridge, it'll be good for the genepool. Natural selection, my friends. It's a great thing."

3. "Actually, a lot of depression cases in teens are related to school and all the stress and pressure young people are under to succeed. A greater effort to correct the problem of depression should start there, with more funding so that schools can provide better counseling programs." Comments Dr. Marcel Marceau , author of the book "Tomato Soup for the Soul". "That way teens who are depressed can get help even if their parents can't or won't take them to see a psychologist."

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#063: Tykes With Tools? [New Parakeet; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
A controversial newspaper investigation reveals that as many as 30% of all children are employed in a dangerous environment.

The Debate
1. Marcel Marceau , an orphanage foster parent, says, "Child labor should be outlawed! Too many times I have received children who only know manual labor. We have to give these children an education and a chance at a real future. Think of the children!" Marcel Marceau , a bum on the street, agrees, "Forget about what's best for the children. They're stealing my work! The only way to get an entry job in this market is to either be younger than 12 and willing to work for nothing, or to knock off a kid and be there to fill the opening, and still be willing to work for nothing."

2. Unemployed parent Marcel Marceau begs that you keep child labor legal. "You can't outlaw child labor; we need the extra money that my 13 children earn. Since both my spouse and I were laid off, the only way to get enough money to feed both of us is to have all of our kids employed. In fact, with the downswing in the economy we're expecting another kid to close the gap."

3. Fat cat factory owner Marcel Marceau steps over the bum in the street and explains, "You don't understand. You shouldn't make child labor illegal, you should subsidize it. By employing these kids I'm giving them valuable life lessons. I didn't go to school and see where I am now? I'm giving them work experience, making them highly employable for the 15 years of their expected lives."

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#064: Put The "Board" Back In Board Of Education [Curia; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
The THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Teachers' Union, complaining of a steady increase in student disciplinary problems, wants to be able to use corporal punishment to correct misbehavior.

The Debate
1. "Clearly, parents aren't teaching manners at home," says Marcel Marceau , the union president. "All we want is to be able to take a paddle to their backsides when there are problems. It's not like we want to throw the kids in jail."

2. "Keep your hands off my kids!" shouts Marcel Marceau , while protesting outside of union headquarters. "If there's a problem, it's with the teachers not having the skills to do their jobs. They should be tested for qualifications!"

3. "Corporal punishment would only treat a symptom of the bigger problem: our education system is in need of an overhaul," says Marcel Marceau , THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's education minister. "We need smaller class sizes, more teachers, better buildings, and better pay. It'll cost, but it'll pay off in the long run."

4. "Why don't we just abolish the schools and home-school the kids?" asks Marcel Marceau , education coordinator for the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD First Omnimenical Church. "That way parents can stress the values they want their kids to have and give them the attention they need."

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#065: Should Martial Law be declared? [American Militarists; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
In response to increasing crime and violence across THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, the people are crying out for some degree of order.

The Debate
1. "Placing the military in charge of government affairs will be a disaster" says Marcel Marceau , as a random thug steals the shirt off their back. "You can't scare people straight! What we need is reform and respect for civil rights and our political freedom. You will have none of that under Martial Law."

2. "It’s not that way at all," argues army general Marcel Marceau . "The fact is, if we don't implement some sort of order this country will fall into a state of anarchy. I urge you to act strongly and proactively before it is too late. We must exercise complete control over the populace to restore peace and security. Martial Law must be implemented, curfews established, and elections temporarily suspended. Only by doing this can we hope to have a future for THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD."

3. "Look, we do need more security, but we can't sacrifice our freedoms. Just increase the police force and call in the National Guard," says Marcel Marceau . "We need order, but Martial Law is too drastic and restricting".

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#067: Most Likely To Secede [Leptonia; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
A group of bearded militiamen have recently declared rural Marcel Marceau County a sovereign and independent nation! THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's talk radio pundits demand immediate government action.

The Debate
1. "Gov'mint's not workin' fo' folks 'round here," says Marcel Marceau , a turnip farmer, "We have ourselves a guar-un-teed right to form a gov'mint that works for us. We don't want any confrontation, now, we just want to shake hands and let ya'll get along with yer business while we get along with ours."

2. "I can't believe this!" shouts General Bill Sherman. "This is tantamount to treason! Our political system would collapse if whole territories were allowed to leave at any time. It would be chaos! I propose that you let me take care of the problem... permanently."

3. "Perhaps we can reach a suitable middle ground," says an elderly gentleman resting on a park bench, "If we were to bring government close to the people, and allow them to have a modicum of self-determination, perhaps they wouldn't feel the need to secede. Let's give the local governments more power."

4. "Our last caller made a really good point," says talk radio host Marcel Marceau . "These decent, hard working citizens are clearly being brainwashed by THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Public Radio's prattle. I don't want my tax @@CURRENCY@@s supporting their agenda. Therefore, the answer is clear: dismantle THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Public Radio."

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#069: Power Problems Need Bright Solution [Plumbumia; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
The oldest power station in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD suffered a catastrophic failure last night, plunging a third of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's national power supply grid into darkness. There is no debate that it needs to be replaced, but the question is with what?

The Debate
1. "The solution is clear," says environmental activist Marcel Marceau . "Wind turbines and solar power stations are the cleanest there are. We must switch power production to forms of renewable energy, that will never run out. The only minor problems are that wind farms will take up a great deal of space and of course we can't exactly rely on the weather. It isn't as though we control it. But think of how much healthier people will be without all that pollution!"

2. "Wind power? Solar collectors? Bah! Have you ever wondered when the least amount of strain is placed on the national grid? WHEN THE SUN IS SHINING!" exclaims Southern THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Electra official Marcel Marceau . "We need power under our control, and cheaply. Coal has been the cheapest and most abundant power source for ages. We don't need this airy fairy wind malarky when we have cheap and reliable power available for all. True, pollution will be a bit on the heavy side but I'm sure that's only a minor problem, with how well funded our health system is!"

3. "Now the way I see it is that it's either green, expensive, and sprawling; or compact, polluting and cheap. Wouldn't it be nice if we had the best of both worlds? Well, we can!" claims fission technician Marcel Marceau . "Nuclear power is reliable, clean, and although it isn't cheap, it won't break the bank. There is a risk of deadly meltdown, but this is relatively small, and the only people who could be against this are anti-nuclear protesters, but what do we care about those tree-hugging hippies?"

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#071: Minority Group Demands Language Recognition [Pragmas; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
A group several thousands strong hailing from a remote, isolated corner of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is staging a massive demonstration on the front steps of your capitol. They demand that their local dialect be recognized as an official language.

The Debate
1. Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Culture, has nothing but disdain for the demonstrators. "The language of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is as important to our national identity as our history is. A truly erudite individual uses perfect grammar and refuses to speak as those ruffians do." Your Finance Minister is quick to chime in as well, "If business is required to print every road sign, instruction manual, and fast-food wrapper in two languages, it would increase everybody's overhead. That means higher prices for the person in the street."

2. "Smarker, but ee's gone blongie 'round the clonger! Trandy in the blang warked a newtie on the Cheebers, quaff me a duggle if it's brine. Sorky, hang our trandy high!" says Marcel Marceau , speaking for the demonstrators, in an apparently rousing response that draws a cascade of cheers. After a few uncomfortable minutes with a professional translator, you find the speaker said, "I respectfully disagree with the Minister. Multilingualism has brought stability to richly-cultured nations such as Brancaland; indeed, I challenge you to provide a single counterexample. I encourage this government to adopt a policy of multilingualism throughout THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!"

3. Marcel Marceau , a radical opposition member who seems to tag along to every demonstration she can find, has her own proposal. "The language barrier is keeping us all apart. What THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD needs is a new identity defined by a new language that we can all agree on. That's unity without favoritism."

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#073: THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD - Without Cars, Going Nowhere Fast [Reploid Productions; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
Ever since the government banned automobiles, furious soccer moms and commuters have been petitioning the government to revoke the ban, citing any number of troubles people have had without their cars.

The Debate
1. "The government was being utterly stupid in banning cars, especially at the whim of a bunch of nutjob, tree-hugging bicyclists!" cries Marcel Marceau , CEO of Coo' Stuff, Inc. "My workers are constantly late, they don't work as much because they have to leave early to walk or bike home... leaving this ban in place will only murder the economy!"

2. "Well, it's extremely difficult to drive my son to and from school and his after-school sports," comments soccer mom Marcel Marceau . "But I don't want my boy inhaling all those icky fumes. I say bring back cars, but put some effort into finding cleaner fuels and the like! Who cares if it costs a small fortune?"

3. "What do they know?" whispers a strange woman clad all in green. "You ought to clamp down on these protesters. Without cars, the people are much easier for you to control, are they not?"

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#074: THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Racers Growing Fast And Furious [Nascar Thunder; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Illegal street racing and racing-related injuries are on the rise, causing many infamous racers to begin rallying for an officially sanctioned racing series and track facilities in order to safely satisfy their need for speed.

The Debate
1. "If you don't let us race on real racetracks, then we'll just keep running on the roads at night!" says racing fans' favorite Marcel Marceau , at the wheel of a tricked-out Honda. "Would it kill you guys to build a couple of nice big race facilities? Think of the money you'd make on charging admission and selling drinks and stuff! And it'd be a lot safer than all of us tearing around on public roads! Forget about the people griping about the noise pollution!"

2. "Don't tell me you plan to cater to these speed freaks!" police officer Marcel Marceau comments over coffee and donuts. "Encouraging this sport is only going to increase the street racing problem because all these punks who can't afford to run the professional circuit are going to want to satisfy their lead feet the way they have been! What we need is more police funding to crack down on these punk hotrodders."

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#078: Easter Egg: Should We Pull The Lever? [Meddlers; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
During the middle of the night, someone has mysteriously put a lever in the middle of the city park. On it, it says, "Pull the Lever, And See The World End."

The Debate
1. "I've always wanted to see the apocalypse." says an elderly man on a park bench. "All that fire and brimstone. To see God's wrath. Something I can tell my grandchildren about later on. I say we should."

2. "Not on your life!" says his wife sitting next to him. "If you pull that lever, we'll have no grandchildren, no life, only heaven and hell. Don't you dare pull that lever."

3. "Now, don't think of it as a do/don't option," says a hot dog vendor. "What if we give tours so that people can see the lever? Not to touch it of course, but to see that humanity can be ruined by such a contraption. We can make a profit."

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#079: THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's @@ANIMAL@@s: Going The Way Of The Dodo? [Naelosia; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
The @@ANIMAL@@ is on the brink of extinction, largely due to people hunting them down for tasty @@ANIMAL@@-kabobs and @@ANIMAL@@burgers, and as ecological disaster looms, various factions are all calling for what they feel should be done about the @@ANIMAL@@.

The Debate
1. "This is an outrage!" shouts Marcel Marceau , outspoken member of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Wilderness Protection Movement. "The government has to put a stop to the out of control hunting of our beloved @@ANIMAL@@s. Do you want our children and grandchildren to miss witnessing the spectacle of wild @@ANIMAL@@s prancing freely in our forests?"

2. "Who cares what happens to some dumb wild pest?", scoffs Marcel Marceau , employee of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD National Lumber, "If they're endangered it's 'cause they were too weak to adapt. They probably deserve to be killed off. With them out of the way, we could clear-cut the forests @@ANIMAL@@s like to hide in, which would really boost the economy through the timber industry!"

3. "Nature is hardly a black and white issue," Marcel Marceau , a respected scholar, notes. "We should start a breeding program to help these creatures recover their numbers. We can display them in captivity, and gradually release them into the wild. Couple it with limiting, but not abolishing @@ANIMAL@@ hunting, and everyone benefits. Of course, @@ANIMAL@@s raised in captivity don't generally survive in the wild, but I'm sure we can find a way!"

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#080: Easter Egg: Aliens Wish Peace/Trade Agreement [Exiled; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
Aliens have landed in the fieds of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and they wish to trade and have peace.

The Debate
1. "Take us to your kneader!" says @@RANDOMNAME_REVERSED@@, alien lawyer. "We have heard wonders of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's pizza, and must have it. We are certain that a valuable trade route can be set up between our peoples. You could have our first born, for example." Your Secretary of Trade is shocked, "First Born?! That's slavery!" but quickly calms down upon discovery that their young are considered a great delicacy there. "You know, maybe we should open up trade with them?"

2. The Coalition of No ETs wants you to stay out of this. Marcel Marceau says "Them darn aliens thingies are going to take advantage of the situation an kill us all! You must ban all trade with them. If they want my cattle, it will be over my dead body!"

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#081: Close Encounters Of The Sci-fi Kind? [Spyr; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
A recent, well-publicized UFO sighting over rural areas of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has turned people's attention to the skies, and what... or who... might be up there.

The Debate
1. "This event proves one thing: there are other life-forms out there," says eccentric astronomer Marcel Marceau , "All we have to do is find them! What is the price of a few hundred Radio Telescopes compared to the benefit of living in peace and harmony with our brethren of the stars?"

2. "Spies! It's gotta be spies! A few planes or satellites from our enemies or 'allies' in our region," rages General Marcel Marceau , head of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's military, "The only way to keep those snoops out of our airspace is to patrol the streets 'n skies, and shoot 'em down! Even if they are some sort of little green aliens, a couple of SAM batteries and a few flak cannons'll keep 'em from abducting our @@ANIMAL@@s."

3. "Extraterrestrial lifeforms? Alien invaders? I don't know why we even have to listen to such idiocy!" complains prize-winning physicist Marcel Marceau . "In my opinion, the idea of 'aliens' on another planet is highly unlikely, and even if they did exist, getting from there to here is technically impossible! I say we forget this nonsense and stop spending our tax @@CURRENCY@@s on it. Leave this sort of foolishness to the people who attend those 'trekkie' conventions."

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#082: AI Researchers Rally For Android Rights [Eniqcir; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
Following recent advances in artificial intelligence, debate has arrisen in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD over whether AI's should have the right to citizenship.

The Debate
1. "Giving citizenship to computers and software programs is just downright crazy," says citizen Marcel Marceau . "Who knows if they're even really alive? Just because some of them may look human doesn't mean they're equal to us. It could all just be imitation."

2. "These beings have just as much of a right to citizenship as the rest of us," argues civil rights activist Marcel Marceau . "True, we may not be able to tell if they're really 'alive', per se, but how can we tell that they aren't? But the androids should be put at the top of the list. At least we know that they have the same viewpoint as us humans."

3. "This is craziness!" says Marcel Marceau , a resident interviewed by the popular news show 'Talk o' the Town'. "It's just blasphemy, plain and simple! We're, like, playin' God here! It's evil, man, evil! What if they turned against us? All forms of AI should be banned, dudes."

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#083: High-Speed Monorail Service Promises Connections [Baudrillard; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Vroom-A-Zoom-Zoom (VAZZ), a consortium of weird-looking hippies and yuppie roller coaster aficionados, has developed plans for a high-speed monorail service for THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to help counter and relieve problems brought about by banning cars.

The Debate
1. "This is great," says Marcel Marceau , devout anti-spending advocate. "You know what'll happen? The government will invest huge sums of money in a service no one will use. I suggest nipping it in the bud... and cutting back government spending across the board while you're at it."

2. "I disagree," says Marcel Marceau of Vroom-A-Zoom-Zoom Ltd. "If people are worried about the costs, why not let the monorail service be a private company? That way, it will have to compete with other industries and make a profit. And don't forget that'll bring in more tax revenue. Of course, that would make fares too pricey for a lot of people, but the rich would probably use it a lot!"

3. "I really disagree," says Marcel Marceau , an unwashed denizen standing in the middle of Noh Weir, population 200, on the outskirts of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. "The state must run the monorail service, otherwise it's useless. What a monorail system should do is connect both large and small cities, and the only way to do that is for the government to run the rails, using the profits from the larger cities to subsidize the routes for smaller ones."

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#084: Compulsory Gun Ownership? [Tristram; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
This weekend, a citizen's group calling itself Gun Owners of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has petitioned Congress with a controversial bill making gun ownership compulsory.

The Debate
1. "This is a very important step to securing the rights and lives of our families and controlling the government," urges noted gun ownership proponent Marcel Marceau . "Not only would it significantly decrease crime, but it would also effectively stop government tyranny in its tracks. Of course, this also means that every wacko and their cousin will have a gun, but don't worry, you'll have a gun to defend yourself from them, so it will all work out."

2. "While the Gun Owners of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have the safety and security of our people in mind, it would simply be impractical to enforce," comments Police Chief Marcel Marceau . "A better option would be to legalize, and encourage use of, concealed carry laws, which would allow responsible citizens to keep firearms with them at all times, on their person, to kill any wacko or their cousin who they think is threatening them."

3. "Compulsory gun ownership?! Concealed carry?! Are these fools nuts?!" rants an enraged Million Mummy March activist. "We don't need any of these things! What we need is complete gun registration, so that the government can track down dangerous people, like those people who possess unregistered weapons."

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#085: Illegal File-Sharing Flares [Frigben; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
A surprise raid conducted on ISPs over the last week in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD shows that more than 30% of all Internet data transfer in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD at one time or another is used by illegal file-shares to illegally distribute files, most notably songs.

The Debate
1. "What we need to do is hack their computers and format their hard drives," says Marcel Marceau , recording industry representative. "People need to be taught to not mess with the law. This is theft, pure and simple. And they're not only halving our revenue to tune of billions of @@CURRENCY@@s, but you are also stealing a few hundredths of a @@CURRENCY@@ from the artist for every song they steal. THINK OF THE STARVING ARTISTS!"

2. "Yo, dude, like, don't be hatin' man," says teenager Marcel Marceau . "We're like, going to change the whole structure of our society. Everything should be like, publicly available to, like, everybody, dude. Copyrights are so, like, uncool man and we need to get rid of them. That'd be totally radical, and cool as well."

3. "Yo, dang, blizzity blang, yo, this ain't, right, yo," says Marcel Marceau , famous rapper with three platinum albums. "Dang, yo, we dang need to copy-protect my dang CDs, yo. That dang playability life dang decreases, yo, but it's the only way to stop this, dang, yo."

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#086: Save The @@ANIMAL@@ [Oddballfullness; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
In desperation at the plight of the @@ANIMAL@@, which has virtually no natural habitat left in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, a somewhat unorthodox environmental group demands that the few surviving specimens be domesticated and sold in pet stores.

The Debate
1. "We must act now, before the @@ANIMAL@@ is lost forever," said spokesperson Marcel Marceau during a recent interview. "Domestication has ensured the survival of many endangered species in the past, and there really is no alternative left at this point. Besides, I'm sure many families would be thrilled to welcome a @@ANIMAL@@ into their homes."

2. "Sure, @@ANIMAL@@s might look cute and harmless to you," says retired hunting legend Marcel Marceau , "but back in my day, they were the scourge on the nation. They carry a number of dangerous diseases, and you do NOT want to be bitten by one. My cousin was once bitten by a @@ANIMAL@@ and he's never been the same since! So now you want my grandchildren exposed to these things? The sooner they disappear completely, the better!"

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#089: "Don't Dam Our Rivers!" Say Protesters [Frigben; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
A group of Greenpeace protesters have called for an end to a government proposal to begin damming rivers in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to increase water supplies and generate power.

The Debate
1. "Don't build dams!" shouts protestor Marcel Marceau through a microphone heavily afflicted with feedback. "Do you know how many fish die in other dams in our region each year? Have you heard of the adverse effects building a dam has on the surrounding environment? Dam up this flood of dams!"

2. "Think before you open your mouth," says engineer Marcel Marceau . "While THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD may have to pay the price in animal diversity, as well as adverse effects on the environment, do we really want fossil-fuel based plants polluting THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? If you use your common sense, I think you'll find that damming some rivers would be a good idea. Plus, think of how much the economy would benefit from all the jobs these projects would create."

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#090: Organic Outburst [Dark_Zephyr; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
After a recent left-wing broadsheet exposé of agricultural practices, an outburst of public paranoia has stirred up the organic foods debate.

The Debate
1. "I just can't stomach it any more," rants concerned parent Marcel Marceau . "My children's future is being put at risk by irresponsible corporate practices. We must outlaw the use of pesticides and additives by farmers and food producers."

2. "I've heard enough of this treehugging, lefty nonsense," argues corporate spokesman Marcel Marceau . "The agricultural industry needs to use the most advanced technology available, it's the only way to keep THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD competitive in food production. Besides, the studies we have commissioned prove that only a very small number of child deaths are due to our products, and surely that's an acceptable rate in the name of progress?"

3. "Stop torturing Mother Earth!" yells outraged environmental extremist Marcel Marceau . "Are we prepared to sacrifice our planet and our souls for the sake of a few extra @@CURRENCY@@s? If we hope to live in harmony with the environment that nurtures and protects us, we must ban all industries that pollute our world. Let us return to the trees, my brothers!"

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#091: Sacramental Tax Time? [Rational Self Interest; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Secularists have been urging the government to impose an income tax on religious organizations in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD for some time now, and the issue has finally made its way to the upper levels of the government.

The Debate
1. Self-appointed civil rights spokesman Marcel Marceau declares, "Churches are business organizations with a large income. It's unfair that they don't have to pay the same taxes that everyone else does. If they really do spend any money on charity, let them write it off as a deduction just like corporations do. There's no reason that so-called clergy should be chauffeured around in limos tax-free, when we desperately need funds for public works."

2. "Freedom of conscience is foremost among liberties," says Reverend Marcel Marceau . "Churches have been exempted from taxation because it is wrong for the government to infringe on the right of people to worship as they please, and that includes charging them for the right to worship. Besides, churches are non-profit organizations that put all their funds back into the community."

3. The Honorable Marcel Marceau , Minister of Minding Other People's Business, has an idea: "This religion thing is such a great racket, why don't we make it a government monopoly? We'll ban all religions except the Church of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, and make attendance and donations compulsory. I'll start writing the Holy Scriptures right away!"

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#092: THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Officials Needled About Mandatory Vaccinations [GDrabble; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Health workers are frequently being ignored by people when recommending vaccinations against common illnesses. When these people subsequently become ill they require expensive emergency care. To correct this situation, many health experts are lobbying for mandatory vaccinations.

The Debate
1. Marcel Marceau , a pro-vaccination taxpayer, says "If a doctor thinks a vaccination is good for you then you should have it. All these people turning them down are know-it-alls that are wasting my tax money. Or they're really afraid of needles."

2. Marcel Marceau , who recently refused a vaccination, says that vaccines must remain completely optional: "Anything else is a breach of human rights. Doctors are not always right!" she says. "I'm perfectly capable of deciding what is best for my body!"

3. Marcel Marceau , THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's leading expert on health spending, suggests a third way. "Leave vaccines optional but make free health care conditional on having them. That way people get to choose, and it will help ease the load on our national healthcare budget."

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#093: Affirmative Action in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [The Orange Freestate; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
After a recent high-profile case of a minority student being refused admission to a traditional, prestigious college, civil rights activists, conservatives, and teachers are up in arms about affirmative action and ethnic equality in education.

The Debate
1. "This is just another attempt to discriminate against people of color," declares civil-rights activist, former TV commentator and unabashed publicity speaker Marcel Marceau . "If people are disadvantaged in their upbringing then they should be given an 'equal' chance to succeed in college."

2. "The affirmative action programs aren't necessary at all," rejoins conservative speaker and hair care product salesman Marcel Marceau . "If you really want to treat everyone equally, as you claim, how can you support special treatment for a few so-called minority groups? Besides, it would cost even more money to enforce."

3. "I think you are both looney," says Marcel Marceau , professor of liberal arts at THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD National University. "All education should be open to everyone regardless of their grades in high school, economic status or academic prowess. Free college education should be available to every citizen of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, no matter what the cost!"

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#094: Computer Users Fed Up With Heaps of Spam! [Bored Yawning; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
A survey citing a tremendous increase in unsolicited emails has added fire to the subject of what many view as a scourge of the Internet.

The Debate
1. "The spam problem is out of control," states anti-spam advocate Marcel Marceau . "I get at least fifty spam e-mails a day. That isn't even counting the spam people are posting to my newsgroup and to my messageboard. This junk is a waste of time in that I have to delete it and a waste of my money in that I have to buy anti-spam programs-which hardly work anyway. People get swindled by this stuff - it should be a crime, just like regular fraud."

2. "A ban on all spam is a restriction on our freedom of speech and on the freedom of the press!" screams Marcel Marceau president of Citizens for Internet Freedom. "What is the government to say what is and isn't commercial spam? Could they haul charity representatives off to jail for seeking donations? Could they jail politicians for using e-mail to try and gain votes? Could they arrest me if I accidentally send my erotic novel-in-progress to the wrong address? Seriously, spamming is a subjective offense and as such should not be considered a crime."

3. "Both sides are wrong," grumbles government paper-pusher Marcel Marceau . "Spam is definitely a problem, yet so is the restriction on freedoms which some draconian anti-spam codes would impose. I propose a ban on overtly fraudulent spam, and a tax on more legitimate businesses that rely on spam as an advertising method, and a strict legal definition of spam that would ensure no innocent person was prosecuted or taxed."

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#095: Painful Prices Paid At The Pump [Aljerfribish; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Commuters are complaining about the ongoing rise in gas prices, causing a massive debate in the government about what should be done.

The Debate
1. "Who cares about a few trees?" says oil executive Marcel Marceau . "Gas prices are six @@CURRENCY@@s per gallon, and rising! There is lots of oil to be found in areas currently protected as parks! Solving our energy needs is more important than conserving the environment. Just give us permission to go in there and start drilling, and gas prices will plummet!"

2. "There are other ways to recover from the fossil fuel crisis besides ruining forests," says environmental activist Marcel Marceau . "We shouldn't just take the short way out and drill here. I suggest spending more money on public transportation systems and encouraging people to carpool - if people weren't so reliant on fossil fuel powered cars, we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place, and if we start using less oil, the price will drop with the demand."

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#096: Water Supply Problems Becoming A Major Drain [Calvin n Hobbes; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Due to the explosive population growth in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, coupled with recent droughts, people are beginning to worry about the nation's decreasing water supply, and who should get first dibs on the vital H2O.

The Debate
1. "We need this water to raise our crops," says incensed farmer Marcel Marceau . "If it wasn't for us farmers, the rest of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD would be starving. How about laying the blame where it belongs, and look to those cookie cutter suburban houses with their green lawns and pristinely washed mini-vans!"

2. "It is my right to have the most beautiful lawn in the neighborhood," says neighborhood spokesman Marcel Marceau . "Our community spends a lot of effort cultivating a nice environment for our kids to grow up in. Why, if they didn't have these nice lawns to play in, they would be hanging out on street corners peddling drugs, or worse! Won't someone please think of the children?"

3. "Here is a novel idea," proclaims Marcel Marceau , spokesperson for radical environmental group Leave Nature Alone. "How about getting rid of all these dams and irrigation projects that are getting in the way of Mother Nature's plans for the water. It is time to allow the rivers to take their natural courses and leave the environment alone. I'm sure things will work out fine if we let Nature take its course."

4. "Obviously, who gets how much water is only a part of the problem," notes famed population-control advocate Marcel Marceau . "We must try to curtail the rapid growth of our population, whether by limiting the amount of children people may have, or by deporting immigrants and criminals... we must get a handle on our population before we can hope to correct this water supply problem."

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#097: Landfills Filling Up [Edolia; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After claims of two-headed @@ANIMAL@@s being seen near the numerous landfills of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, there have been calls for the government to act.

The Debate
1. "Look at that thing!" wails famous environmentalist Marcel Marceau , pointing at one of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's largest dumps. "It's an eyesore, a pollutant, and a disgrace! What we need to do is get everyone recycling their waste! What we have left we can shoot into space in specially-made space shuttles and we'll never have to think about it again! Sure it'll be expensive, but considering the benefits to the great outdoors, I think we should consider it."

2. "Ah, the expense!" moans Marcel Marceau , government economist. "Do you have any idea what that would cost?! A much better way of dealing with this waste is to burn it and use the energy it produces to power THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's big cities. There may be a few side-effects on the environment, but with all the cheap power coming in who would care?"

3. "Oh come now," says Marcel Marceau , a nearby suburbanite. "There's no need to bring all the pollution into the cities! These dumps can get a whole lot bigger you know. Just keep piling the rubbish on and we can use them as tourist attractions or something. People will flock to see how high they can climb our artificial mountains! If we run out of space, just knock down a few forests. No one will notice."

4. "You're all missing the real solution," argues Marcel Marceau , president of the 'THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD First!' society. "Why should we bother building landfills at all? I'm sure that there are plenty of less-fortunate countries out there who would be more than happy to take our litter in return for some cash."

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#098: Police Want More Than Shiny Badge [Hata-alla; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After a police officer was forced to apprehend a criminal with nothing more than a tin of beans, there has been an outcry for better equipment.

The Debate
1. "It's outrageous," says Chief Constable Marcel Marceau . "This horrible situation could have been sorted out a lot faster if we had had the right equipment! Even the poorest criminals can buy better arms than us! We need more funds - if we have to take a bit of cash off the education and healthcare budgets to pay for it all then so be it!"

2. "I agree with my friend here," says zealous lance-corporal Marcel Marceau . "But let's go further. Let's create a new anti-crime group with special training and expensive - er - extensive new equipment! That would make the criminals think twice before breaking the law! Especially if our new forces can shoot miscreants at first sight without messing around with time-consuming trials."

3. "Hey, hey!" cries anti-gun protester, Marcel Marceau . "You can't be serious! Weapons kill! Everyone knows that if there were no weapons there'd be no criminals; and if there are no criminals, we won't need to waste valuable government funds on the police! In fact, I say we should go as far as doing away with them altogether! I don't see them doing anything useful anyway, except try to stop our demonstrations! Ban guns! Ban the police! Live for a better tomorrow!"

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#099: We Need Cash, Sharpish, Say Librarians [Os Cosia; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Ailing libraries have appealed to the government for a much-needed injection of funds.

The Debate
1. "Our libraries are in a dreadful state," says distressed librarian, Marcel Marceau . "This year we had to cancel our subscription to 'Playboy' and over half of our shelves are stacked with pamphlets from the Pizzeria across the road. We need more books and better standards. If there were more perks in this job then maybe we'd get some decent employees! If it needs a whole lot of government funds to pay for it all then so be it!"

2. "Now hold it right there!" says manager of the local MEGA-BOOKS store, Marcel Marceau . "I employ twenty-four people and we are dependent upon people paying us money to buy books, magazines and newspapers from my store. How can you even think about giving our tax @@CURRENCY@@s to these people so they can put us out of business? 'Course poor people won't be able to afford our wares but they'd only use them for fires or somethin'. Let our libraries die."

3. "I'm all for giving our libraries more money," says Education Minister, Marcel Marceau . "But we certainly shouldn't just let them spend it however they please. We need an elected board to oversee all purchases and acquisitions made by our library system, promoting educational literature and keeping out smut. That way we can keep nudity out of the hands of children. We can make sure none of those political satires and newspapers that insult our government affect the weak-minded amongst us too. Then our libraries will be something to be proud of."

4. "Great Scot! I've got it!" exclaims Marcel Marceau , your science advisor. "Why do we need these brick and mortar buildings anyway? Let's just scan all these books, newspapers and magazines onto the internet and then we can fire all those expensive librarians with their pensions and healthcare benefits. Think of the money we'd save if we didn't have to print everything! Sure it'll be tough on the librarians and those with no computers but hey, this is the future and they are the past."

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#100: Road Rage Rampage [SatanSpermSpawn; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Due to the ever-increasing traffic on THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's highways, commuter tempers are flaring, leading to an increase in road rage related accidents. A recent case in which a very impatient driver attacked and seriously injured a slow driver has brought the subject rapidly to the highest levels of the government.

The Debate
1. "The problem is that our highway system is sorely in need of an overhaul," claims social commentator Marcel Marceau . "THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's highways were constructed with a far smaller number of cars in mind, and we've exceeded that traffic load by a substantial amount, resulting in traffic jams. Traffic jams lead to impatience, impatience leads to anger, anger leads to road rage, and road rage leads to violence. We need to expand the freeway system by adding more lanes to relieve the traffic congestion."

2. "You add new lanes, even MORE people will drive, putting us right back at square one!" counters Marcel Marceau of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's public transportation committee. "Instead of throwing tons of money at a short-term solution, why not spend it on improving bus and rail service and encouraging carpooling? Oh, and get more highway patrol officers to crack down on these violent drivers who pose safety threats to the rest of us."

3. "*BLEEP!* that *BLEEP!*" Catherine Gratwick yells at the top of her lungs from the window of her very large pickup truck with a gun rack mounted in the rear window. "The government should just *BLEEP!*ing stay out of our daily *BLEEP!*ing drive! They ought to let us *BLEEP!*ing rushed businesspeople go about our daily *BLEEP!*ing business, no matter what *BLEEP!*ing measures we have to take to get to *BLEEP!*ing work on time!"

Last edited by Ballotonia on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:34 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Nationstates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

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Founded: Jul 01, 2010

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Re: NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Andacantra » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:46 am

#101: Tiara Sign Of Oppression, Declare Feminists [The Prelapsarian State; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's upcoming hosting of a major international beauty pageant has upset some citizens concerned about the message it puts across.

The Debate
1. "These beauty pageants are a disgrace to women everywhere!" shouts feminist campaigner, Marcel Marceau . "They objectify the female body and re-enforce negative stereotyping! They celebrate the appearance instead of the personality! What message is this sending out to our children? Do we want them to think shallowness and vanity are virtues? Ban beauty contests! We must focus the education of our progeny on ethics and equality or suffer the consequences!"

2. "I agree that the pageants should be banned," pontificates renowned moralist, the Ever So Slightly Reverend Marcel Marceau . "But purely in the name of moral decency! All those fashion stores that sponsor these contests make lots of money from this blasphemy and that is just plain wrong! These women wear revealing clothing that seek to entice and seduce young men. As such, we should go a step further, and institute a dress code! Long, plaid skirts for the girls, with necklines that never drop below the base of the neck! Only then will the women of our nation be cleansed of sin!"

3. "What in the name of all that's decent and good are you talking about?" exclaims Marcel Marceau , leader of the egalitarian civil rights movement 'Everyone Is Equal, Dammit'. "Obviously these pageants will always be sexist unless they're open to everyone. Admiring women only for their beauty is an insult to their intelligence and the beauty of men! It's dually sexist! Open up the pageant to both sexes!"

4. "Agh, no, no boys please, let's just host the pageant as is, alright?" implores Catherine Gratwick, one of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's most celebrated models. "No matter what you people think, appearance is important! Mine allows me to pay for all the dresses I want! So no, I don't think there's anything wrong with telling kids that you can make money from being pretty. In fact, I think beauty contests should be held at schools every year!"

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#102: For Whom The Road Tolls [Ta Kala; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A group of transport analysts have suggested that a charge of five @@CURRENCY@@s a day for vehicular access to THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's most congested inner-cities during peak hours is the only way to solve their ever-growing traffic problem.

The Debate
1. "Similar schemes have been very effective elsewhere," says Marcel Marceau , THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's most infamous traffic warden. "It's common sense that the best way to curb dangerously high demand is to raise the price of the supply - or, as in this case, to create a price. Charging citizens to go into more congested areas could, combined with the improvements to public transport it will finance, actually make people choose public transport over their cars. I don't see why people shouldn't pay tax for a little less traffic on our roads."

2. "These tolls are a preposterous idea," argues road lobbyist, Marcel Marceau . "Public transport will never replace the car - I don't want to be forced to share my space with a bunch of malodorous working-class people on my way to work. Not that I would be, because I could afford the charge, but really, it's the principle of the matter! The only solution is to expand urban road networks. True, some pavements and green spots would have to go, but those pedestrians should be able to put up with that if they're to expect THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to be part of the modern world."

3. "Allowing cars to scoot around and pollute our cities was a bad idea in the first place," says Marcel Marceau , a famous environmentalist. "The solution is to restrict private transport to main roads and motorways whilst funding a major urban public transport scheme. Our buses and undergrounds could be the envy of the world! Yes, the car companies will suffer a little, and yes, there'll be a bit more tax, but wouldn't it be worth it for a bit of fresh air and safe streets for the children?"

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#103: Plague Of The Hybrids! [Serenthis; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Angry farmers have taken to the streets demanding the government to act after reported sightings of strange @@ANIMAL@@-like dogs eating all the crops in fields.

The Debate
1. "This unholy union should never have taken place to begin with," comments Marcel Marceau , an angry farmer. "The @@ANIMAL@@ was never meant to mate with a dog! They eat my crops, they attack my livestock and they're breeding so quickly they're swamping the environment! We can't make a living like this! You've got to give us the funds and manpower to shoot anything that comes within a mile of our property and put an end to these freaks of nature! We must wipe these creatures out now or before you know it all we'll be eating is fish."

2. "We can't just destroy these creatures!" exclaimed Marcel Marceau , owner of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's biggest safari park. "They may look ugly to you, but I think they're just beautiful. We need to study them and understand them; think of what we could learn! These wonderful beasts may be a little harmful to the environment, but think of the people who will flock to see them! It would be an educational experience! Think of the money!"

3. "We could always just kill off all the dogs," Marcel Marceau of the "Keep The Species Pure" foundation whispers to you in a conversation. "The @@ANIMAL@@ is one of the many things our country is famous for; any perversion of its image reflects upon us all! We can't have their image spoilt by these ugly abominations! Just get the police to go around and kill them all and we can rest easy knowing our countryside is safe!

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#104: Public Loudspeakers Shrill With Controversy [Alpha Centauri; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A recent poll on putting up huge loudspeakers in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's cities for public government broadcasts has been brought to your attention.

The Debate
1. "This idea is brilliant, and THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD can't afford to pass it up," claims Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Safety. "These loudspeakers can assure the public that the government is always here to help them. The potential here, to immediately warn citizens of an emergency such as an earthquake or a stampede of @@ANIMAL@@s or something, simply must be taken into account! This could save lives! And I suppose, when there isn't anything the citizens need to be told, you could always use them to broadcast patriotic messages like '@@SLOGAN@@' and inform the good people which party to join and vote for with newsbriefs and such. It'll be worth it to strengthen the populace's devotion to our glorious nation!"

2. "I think people need to realise what this really is: brainwashing!" retorts Marcel Marceau , a wealthy marketer. "I don't want to hear all this flag-waving hogwash every time I go out for a walk. But when it comes to emergencies, I do agree that something should be done to warn everyone: we should send out messages on mandatory minature radios that you can carry in your pocket. It could tell you things you need to know too, like what shoes to buy and such."

3. "To be honest, I can't see why we should put up with advertising at all," says Marcel Marceau , an anti-business protester. "All it is is some multi-billionaire or politician somewhere trying to make even more money while the rest of us struggle to make ends meet. I say we ban it. Maybe the economy will suffer a little and some people may lose jobs but that's just a minor side-effect really, especially when you consider that no longer will our children be encouraged to fill themselves with junk-food because some guy on the telly tells them it's cool!"

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#105: Compensation Culture Must End, Say Corporations [Zhudor; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After a recent spate of high-profile lawsuits against corporations concerning the safety of their products, corporations have appealed to the government to change the laws of compensation.

The Debate
1. "It's crazy!" cries Marcel Marceau , CEO of Sharp 'n' Pointy Things Incorporated. "These people should simply not be allowed to put the blame on us if they mindlessly abuse our products! I'd have thought it would be common sense not to stick your hand in a blender to 'see if it was working properly'. We need to outlaw these ridiculous lawsuits so I can get on with my business and those working in the law profession can get on with theirs."

2. "I'm almost inclined to agree," muses Marcel Marceau , a nearby firefighter. "People really should know better than to dry their cats in the microwave oven. But it's also that microwave oven that should not start a fire if one leaves it running overnight. Let's just put higher national safety standards in place that all products must be certified to meet. The extra expense shouldn't worry people if it's the difference between life and death after all."

3. "There's nothing wrong with victims getting a little money for the damage they've suffered," claims Marcel Marceau , THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's most notorious lawyer. "In fact we should be increasing court capacities so everyone with a complaint to file won't have to wait long before they can get before a judge. Sure it'll be expensive to implement, but maybe then the manufacturers will think twice before selling their unsafe junk without explaining things clearly in the manuals!"

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#107: Private Lab Holds THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Sick To Ransom [Silverbrook; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Scientists at a private medical research laboratory have announced that they have produced a drug which will combat THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's most notorious malady - Spon Plague.

The Debate
1. "This pill is the only known and unknown cure for the Spon Plague!" proclaims Professor Marcel Marceau , the inventor of the cure. "But if we are to go ahead with the production of this drug, we must get some government support. We're set to make a fortune from this drug - the money we earn will help us develop even more cures for other as-yet untreatable diseases. Some people won't be able to afford it of course, but hard cheese on them: they should have got a paying job while they were still capable."

2. "That's a disgraceful way to think!" says equal rights activist, Marcel Marceau . "So the people who need the most help shouldn't get any? I propose that the government subsidises the production of all drugs so everyone can benefit from them, rich or not! That way the money-hungry corporations won't profit from the suffering of the masses. Of course there will be the matter of a small tax rise to fund it - but what's that when lives will be saved?"

3. "I can't believe what I'm hearing," deplores well-respected religious leader, Marcel Marceau . "If God didn't want people to have this disease he wouldn't have created it in the first place. This is completely against the will of God and if the government allows this drug to go on sale we will all be doomed to an afterlife in a dark and fiery place! Now let's end this madness and abolish the production of pharmaceuticals and drugs altogether!"

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#108: Gambling Interests Offer High Stakes [New Sweden X; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
In light of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's ban on gambling, people ranging from angry homemakers to allegedly legitimate businessmen have been arguing incessantly about whether or not banning casinos was a good idea.

The Debate
1. "We are highly distressed at your decision to revoke our casino licences," says FamilyCorp. Representative "Fat Tony" Marcel Marceau , while sipping a glass of fine wine. "If the ban were to be revoked, think of all the money you could get from your cut of the profit. In addition, it would help ensure the safety of assorted members of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's government. I think this is an offer that you should not refuse."

2. "These casinos cannot be allowed to reopen!" says Marcel Marceau , an ex-gambling addict. "Remember what happened last time? People get out of control and lose their life's savings! Just say no to these so-called legitimate businesses! And crack down on the rest of organized crime while you're at it."

3. "There is a solution to this problem," says Native THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLDite chief Dances-With-@@ANIMAL@@s. "You could let us front the casinos as payback for stealing our land, and we'll enforce age limits and pay some tax on the income these casinos generate. Just think of the jobs it could create for us, and the boost to the economy!"

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#109: Karate Kids Cause Controversy [Yarrum; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Free, youth-orientated martial arts programmes have gained popularity in communities where youth crime is a problem.

The Debate
1. "What better way to keep kids off of the streets?" asks Marcel Marceau , a professional judo instructor. "It's fun, good exercise and gives an invaluable insight into our nation's culture! It gives these youngsters something positive to channel their energy into; energy that might have otherwise been used to rob banks or mug people in alleyways. But self-defence programmes like mine will need government funding to really make a difference - surely the public wouldn't mind paying a little more tax to put an end to the gangs of yobs prowling the streets?"

2. "It's a good idea, but it's not taking it far enough!" declares General Marcel Marceau of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's army. "If we could conscript these kids into the army, we'd be able to put their skills to good use! No one would mess with THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD if we had a butt-kickin' karate unit on the battlefield! It may be a little expensive but we can just take money out of the education budget since these kids will be under our tuition. Their families may not be happy about it, but remember this: these young lads will be getting to do something which is the envy of every hot-blooded citizen - fight for their country against blood-sucking foreigners!"

3. "This is ridiculous!" comments police officer, Marcel Marceau . "Teach junior thugs how to fight? Good idea, why don't we teach them how to make bombs out of duct-tape and cheese next? I say we ban this archaic mode of combat which only serves to encourage these punks in their violent ways, and introduce more government funding for the police force! With more cash we could really show the little blighters what discipline's all about."

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#110: Too Low On Laws, Say Citizens [Kandarin; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Various opinions have been brought to your attention over what your closest advisors are referring to as the 'anarchy situation'.

The Debate
1. "We've got to do something about this chaos!" yells General Marcel Marceau , firing a rifle at a band of armed looters. "There's no order in this country! No one is safe! We must rebuild the army and crack down on the militant groups ravaging our fair land! It's the only way we will ever return the cesspit of crime and depravity THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has become to a land of law and order!"

2. Returning fire, both figuratively and literally, is Marcel Marceau , biker gang leader and anarchist: "That there's anyone claiming to be a government is ludicrous. People should be allowed to determine their own fate and survival without fear of breaking these inhibiting laws! All government officials should be removed at once if this country is ever to become well and truly 'equal'!"

3. "I've got a different idea," says Marcel Marceau , your minister of commerce, speaking from his hiding place under a desk. "Television viewers in more developed countries actually like seeing gratuitous violence. We could put up cameras in some of the more dangerous streets and sell the broadcasting rights to foreign networks. It could raise awareness of our situation, or at the very least rake in some @@CURRENCY@@s. The money could be used to fund a more organised police system to enforce the law."

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#112: Put The Phone Down On Cold Calling? [Frigben; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A growing group of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's citizens are battling for an end to unrequested solicitations from salesmen.

The Debate
1. "This has to stop," says mild-mannered parent Marcel Marceau . "My family can't even have dinner without being interrupted at least five times by telemarketers or door-to-door salesmen! My privacy is being invaded! The government ought to ban all forms of unrequested solicitations from salespeople. The sanity of the populace is at stake here!"

2. "This must be a joke," retorts insurance sales solicitor Marcel Marceau , in between cold calls. "Telemarketing and door-to-door sales are some of the most effective methods of increasing revenues. Banning them would be a huge blow to business, and put thousands of workers out of their jobs! Let's face the facts - THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD needs an economy, and banning cold calls isn't the best of ways to improve it! One way you could improve it would be to, say, give us some government funds. For the sake of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, of course."

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#113: Test Results Deemed 'Ungood' After Global Survey [Der Angst; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
In a worldwide survey, it has been revealed that THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's population has been graded 'dim' by international comparison.

The Debate
1. "These results are terrible!" wails Marcel Marceau , a concerned teacher. "Something has to be done, and done quickly, if anyone's going to take today's youth seriously. It's high time we started to promote our gifted children; it is they who are the ones that bring us forward! The rest of today's youth shouldn't worry though, a basic education should be enough for a factory worker."

2. "This is indeed a problem, and I believe it's a result of the social inequality in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD," comments Marcel Marceau , a well-known social reformer. "It is obvious that students from different social classes will score differently in the tests. We can't condemn all these kids to a life of inferiority because of a gifted minority. Instead we should make sure that everyone can follow the lessons! Lower the teaching level, so that even the less intellectually-orientated can keep up with the class. The nerds can always teach themselves; it would be unfair to provide them with extra funds after all."

3. "This is stupid, it would ruin our nation's population of skilled workers!" says Marcel Marceau , a college professor. "There's never enough able-minded citizens for the more specialised careers. We must force our less-intelligent to learn! Get their noses right against the grindstone! Let's raise the bar a bit so even our best students have to sweat whilst learning! The others will of course be forced to learn even more to keep in touch, but that just shows them how real life works. To fund it, well, our defence budget is already too large, if you ask me."

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#114: Wipe Out Graffiti? [Gelvanie; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Citizens all over THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have been petitioning for firmer action on public graffiti.

The Debate
1. "It's a disgrace!" declares Marcel Marceau , middle class and proud of it. "I can't even go downtown without seeing these hideous eyesores debasing the streets! We need to arrest the scumbags at the root of this, lock them up, and teach them a jolly good lesson! More policemen on the beat should do the ticket, even if it does require a slight augmentation in taxes!"

2. "I don't see what's so bad," comments Marcel Marceau , a famous art critic. "This is urban art at its finest. It's vibrant, colourful, and simply reeks of culture! Just look at the form displayed in this string of racist expletives! Wonderful. Simply wonderful. I think we should really be encouraging these budding Rembrandts, not putting them down! I say we legalise it, in the name of culture!"

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#116: Soda Sales Hits New 'High' [Foe Hammer; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After waning sales, the well-established soda company 'Eckie-Ecola' has appealed to the government for the right to use powerful mind-altering drugs in their products.

The Debate
1. "It'll be great," says Marcel Marceau , the CEO of Eckie-Ecola. "Nice 'n' happy floating feelings all in a can, and all for just one @@CURRENCY@@! It's not the healthiest drink I admit, but what people want to do with their bodies is their own business. If you ban this beverage, you're only denying the citizens of their right to be exposed to the true hallucenogenic experience!"

2. "This can't go ahead," argues Marcel Marceau , a nurse at one of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's hospitals. "Drugs are, and always will be, one of the greatest threats to the nation's physical and mental health! My job's hard enough as it is without having the wards overrun by patients who were stupid enough to drink the stuff. The distribution of drugs must be strictly controlled by the government and kept for medicinal uses."

3. "If you ask me," says Marcel Marceau , from behind a cloud of smoke. "We should just let everyone have drugs for free! If the government legalised and subsidised all these 'bad' drugs and gave 'em out to everyone, all our problems would be solved! There'd be no more drug traffickers, or thugs robbing old ladies to feed their addictions! 'Course there'd be a bit of a detrimental effect healthwise and to the drug industries, but the beauty of it all is that everyone will be too doped up to care!"

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#117: Stop The Suits, Say Surgeons [Ravenspire; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Recently, medical insurance premiums across the nation have been skyrocketing following several highly-publicised medical-malpractice lawsuits, making it even costlier than ever to get treatment. Doctors are asking the government to step in.

The Debate
1. "These lawsuits are driving up the price of medical insurance," complains Dr. Marcel Marceau . "I'm losing customers - patients, I mean - and it's becoming increasingly difficult for doctors like me to do our jobs without worrying about being bankrupted by some kid who didn't like the hospital food. Everyone makes mistakes. Look at politicians, they make them all the time and do they get fired? No. We must outlaw the medical-malpractice lawsuits undermining our healthcare system!"

2. "All that these doctors are interested in is saving their own necks," says Marcel Marceau , CEO of 'I Can't Believe It's A Law Firm!'. "They were negligent in the course of their work and are unwilling to pay the price. I mean, how do you perform a heart transplant on the wrong guy unless you're not paying attention? I for one think that our citizens deserve better from the healthcare service, and if doctors cause damage, they should pay for it. It's that simple. If some decent doctors get caught up in it, then it's surely their own fault for not being careful enough?"

3. "The problem is capitalism," insists Marcel Marceau , while trying to burn a @@CURRENCY@@ with a lighter. "The doctors are only trying to help their patients, and those class traitors at the insurance industry are only trying to make a profit out of people's misery on those rare occasions when things go wrong. I say we outlaw the insurance industry and then the good doctors will be safe while the bad ones go out of business. Everyone wins! Apart from the insurance people, I guess."

4. "The problem certainly is capitalism," says Marcel Marceau , a famed socialist. "But outlawing the insurance industry will not solve the main problem: the healthcare system itself! It's disgusting! I've seen paramedics check wallets before injuries! We must introduce a national health service and put some healthy investment into medical colleges, hospitals, and the likes. Then we'll have an over-abundance of competent doctors! The insurance industry won't be able to raise a finger to it and the citizens won't have to pay for treatment. Except through tax, of course."

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#118: Need For Speed? [Atlantic Rim; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After watching the movie 'The Fast and the Belligerent', boyracers from all over THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have been petitioning for the abolition of speed limits.

The Debate
1. "Today's cars are safer at high speeds than ever before," argues Marcel Marceau , editor of Sports Car Monthly. "And long-distance commuters are tired of spending hours on the road just to get to the next city. Abolishing the speed limit would be great for the economy too! People would be more likely to go out and buy cars if they thought they'd be able to use them properly. It seems like such a shame to be puttering along at the speed limit in a magnificent car like the 450HP twin-turbo @@ANIMAL@@ SX/T-7700 you know."

2. "Are you crazy?" cries Marcel Marceau , a road-accident victim. "We need lower speed limits on automobiles, not higher. You might as well enforce mandatory blindfolds on the road too, it'll come to the same conclusion! People's lives are at stake here! If people were made to drive at, say, no faster than fifty kilometres per hour, I would feel a lot happier walking the streets. Besides, if it takes a long time to get places via car then people might begin using mass transit for once."

3. "I think the current speed limits are fine, but we need better enforcement," says Marcel Marceau , the most feared traffic warden in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. "If we required GPS tracking devices in all vehicles, we'd ticket every single speeder, no problem. In addition, we could monitor the movements of criminals and other suspicious individuals, and vastly reduce the risk of crime, terrorism, and other subversive activity. Some say that's an invasion of privacy, but if you've done nothing wrong what's there to fear?"

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#119: Watershed Down? [New Cyprus; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
An anonymous society of 'cinematic aficionados' have brought the debate over the proposed disposal of the watershed, the hour after which adult material is allowed to be shown on television, to your attention.

The Debate
1. "We don't need a watershed!" scoffs 'romantic-movie' buff, Marcel Marceau . "I don't see why I should wait 'til way past midnight to watch my preferred film genre. It's high time that parents stopped treating their children like... well, children! If you sugar-coat these kids' lives, they'll just end up seeing everything through rose-tinted glasses - and we can't have a country filled with spoilt brats now, can we?"

2. "This is an endorsement of bad taste if ever I saw it," says Marcel Marceau , a child-care worker. "It's just wrong to subject children to graphic violence and nudity on afternoon television like this: who knows what it might possess them to do? We've all heard stories of kids who have seen some film where someone jumped off a cliff and then gone off to have a shot themselves. We must ban all violent and salacious material from our TV screens. If only to protect the innocence of our progeny!"

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#120: Two Parties For Too Long? [Ren Yi; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Representatives of several minor political parties have joined their voices to object to stiff ballot access requirements.

The Debate
1. "Two-party politics is squeezing the life out of democracy in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD," laments Marcel Marceau , leader of the Pragmatic Radical Party. "The Liberal Conservatives and Progressive Traditionalists have a monopoly on public policy - or duopoly, whatever you want to call it. The point is that there's hardly any difference between them, and their chokehold on the electoral process lets hacks and crooks stay in office forever. Ballot access rules must be loosened so we can give the voters a truly democratic choice."

2. "People are afraid to support 'third' parties because they're afraid of seeing the 'bad guys' get elected," says Marcel Marceau , a ballot stastician. "But if we changed the system to allow preferential voting, where you can have your votes divvied up among your other candidates if your favourite doesn't recieve a certain number of votes, then that wouldn't be a problem. Then you could let as many parties as you wanted into the game. Deserving candidates wouldn't be harmed - they'd win! Maybe a few radicals would get through, but that just proves what a great system it is!"

3. "What ever happened to 'one man, one vote'?" asks Marcel Marceau , chairperson of the Liberal Conservative National Committee. "Changing the rules will just let all sorts of crackpots clog up the ballot and overwhelm voters with names they don't recognise - this will draw attention and support away from legitimate candidates! How do you expect the nation to function properly if the government doesn't have public support? Oh, and by the way, the Liberal Conservative Party presents a VERY clear alternative to the destructive agenda of the Progressive Traditionalists, and I'll wallop anyone who says otherwise."

4. "Opposition parties are such a bother," muses Marcel Marceau , your chief of staff. "If we allowed as many of them to be politicians as those fools in the Pragmatic Radical Party want, it would be very hard on the tax payers - and our own position in power. If we re-wrote the election rules so that a party had to reapply for recognition every time it failed to win a certain number of votes, we could knock our opposition out of the ring for good! Hey, the voters have spoken, and they asked for us. I think that just about settles it, don't you?"

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#121: A Uniform Plan For THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Students? [Scheelia; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A random PTA meeting has brought the debate over school uniforms to your attention.

The Debate
1. "I think uniforms are great," says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Education during a cabinet meeting. "They instill a sense of community within our schools which lowers crime - and the pupils can go about their daily business without having to worry about being browbeaten by their classmates for not wearing the latest trainers. THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD simply cannot do without them. If the children don't like them, then hard cheese."

2. "Dude, your plan stinks," says Marcel Marceau , leader of The Students Union. "Our clothing is part of who we are; it lets us express ourselves just by passing someone in the corridor. To say we must wear these inhibiting uniforms is an affront to our personal freedom! So back off with the uniforms, dude, students should be allowed to go to school dressed however they like. Or not dressed, if that's their style."

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#122: Pensioners In Protest [Emperor Matthuis; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Falling standards at THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's retirement homes have prompted OAPs to take to the streets and demand better treatment.

The Debate
1. "There needs to be more done for the elderly," says Marcel Marceau , a resident of 'This Old Man' retirement home. "We can't work to support ourselves anymore, and the pensions we get are measly. We need more benefits such as higher standards of living, free bus tickets, and a continuous supply of @@CURRENCY@@s. All it requires is a little more generosity on the part of the tax payers - after all, we fought the war for their sort."

2. "I'm not giving any of my hard-earned wages to a bunch of old fossils," says Marcel Marceau , a devout taxpayer. "If they weren't smart enough to save enough money for their later years, then why should the government pay out for them now? They had their chance and they didn't take it. If they really want money so bad, they can go out and work for it like everyone else."

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#123: Now, Vat's Food For Thought [Tahar Joblis; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After recent leaps and bounds in biomedical research, scientists have revealed 'vat-grown tissue', provoking wild controversy over its possible medical - and culinary - uses.

The Debate
1. "There is absolutely nothing wrong that has been done here," claims one of the researchers, Dr. Marcel Marceau . "Vat-grown cloned tissue is extremely versatile when producing organs for transplantation, and knit my booties if it's not the tastiest and most nutritionally-balanced thing around! Beats me why anyone could be against it."

2. "It's shocking and appalling that we could even consider adding vat-grown meat to the menu," says Marcel Marceau III, the one-armed descendant of a long line of devout vegetarians. "But, on the other hand, we have been waiting for this major medical breakthrough for a long time. Imagine it - no more waiting lists for transplants! This will be of enormous benefit to the healthcare sector. I just think we should draw the line at eating the stuff."

3. "By all means, legalise vat-grown meat!" says Marcel Marceau , a masterchef. "Some people say that it's wrong to grow these creatures just to kill them, but that's ridiculous. Cattle breeders in other countries are doing it all the time! So get rid of this mad compulsory vegetarianism law because eating meat is not wrong. What's wrong is making them for spare bodyparts. Do I want a piece of me to have been grown? In a VAT? No. It's disgustin'. Besides, it'll raise the cost of my insurance."

4. "This is all abhorrent and aberrant!" declares Marcel Marceau , the High H'gradskas of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Unorthodox Church. "You can't just create meat. It's against God's will, and you'll find that pretty much every other religion will back me up on this one. Living things were designed to be born. Or hatched. Or germinated. And then there's mitosis of course, but that's not the point - the point is that there are some things that Men were not meant to meddle with. We should keep well away from the whole cloning business altogether."

5. "That guy has no sense of vision." says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Demographics. "Why waste this invention on healthcare or cookery when so much more could be done! Sterilise everybody and grow new people in vats! Disease will be a thing of the past! When they break, just grow new parts! It adopts the industrial method to population management, something we've needed for a long time. And now that we finally have the right technology, I say we do it!"

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#124: To Paint Or Not To Paint? [Aoifambia; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
An elite group of highly-qualified, well-respected scientists, lawyers, and doctors are campaigning to outlaw the study of the Arts and Humanities in the Universities of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

The Debate
1. "Why should Arts students get to lounge around reading books and watching daytime TV for hours on end, when some of our hard-working youngsters are dedicating themselves to the study of worthwhile and valuable subjects; studies which will benefit the nation as a whole?" asks Marcel Marceau , a student engineer. "We should be grooming our young people to help, not sponge off the system. The Arts should be considered a hobby, not a career."

2. "You can't mean that," gasps Prof. Catherine Gratwick, renowned worldwide for her paintings of trains. "Learning should be done out of love, not duty. The Study of the Arts has been a noble field for many centuries, and learning it is not as easy as you think. I'd rather die than live in a world where creativity is stifled. We should be encouraging young artists, writers, musicians - if only to strengthen THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's cultural reputation."

3. "What's the point in allowing most young people to continue in further education anyway?" enquires Marcel Marceau , a factory manager. "Surely most students would be better employed in manual and factory work? You should handpick a select few to study medicine, the law, science, and business of course, and utilise the majority of youth to increase the country's productivity in industry. Academic freedom just gets in the way of a functioning society, I've always said."

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#125: Bring Back The Ballot? [Centralis; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Angry crowds formed yesterday around government offices in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, demanding the reinstatement of free and fair elections.

The Debate
1. "Give us the vote!" cries protester Marcel Marceau , before hurling another volley of eggs. "It is the right of the many to decide who leads our country, not the few! If we don't get democracy right now, we'll... we'll, uh... we'll throw more eggs, that's what we'll do! Don't say you haven't been warned!"

2. "Elections?! Have they gone quite insane?!" shouts red-faced government hard-liner, Marcel Marceau . "We can't possibly allow that rabble to have such a degree of control over this country! They're never happy! One moment they're demanding democracy, the next they'll be complaining about all the new taxes! If we dropped taxes, you'd find that they'd be much more compliant. And if they're not, we'll get the army to fill 'em full of lead."

Last edited by Ballotonia on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:35 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Nationstates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

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Re: NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Andacantra » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:48 am

#126: Outsourcing An Outrage, Say Demonstrators [Enerica; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
As the nation's unemployment rate skyrockets, citizens have staged a massive protest against corporations outsourcing jobs to poorer nations to take advantage of the lax regulations and cheap labour.

The Debate
1. "This is unacceptable!" decrees Marcel Marceau , outspoken representative of the National Union of Telephone-based Salesmen. "Sixteen call-centres round the country have already closed because they found they could get cheaper workers in some country no-one's ever heard of! If businesses are allowed to pack up shop and ship jobs out to other countries, our own people will be unemployed and out on the streets. The government must ban this evil corporate practice immediately!"

2. "Nonsense!" scoffs Marcel Marceau , manager of human resources at Ekin, a popular sportswear company. "Outsourcing jobs to where the labour is cheap means we can slash costs. That means we can have lower prices for the good consumers - uh - citizens of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. There're plenty of other jobs besides factory-working you know, and with the influx of cheaper products they really shouldn't have anything to complain about."

3. "The only reason that companies are so unwilling to stay here is because of the constricting regulations," says Marcel Marceau , a ridiculously wealthy businessman. "Every time my company tries to make a decision, we run up against about a million laws forbidding us from our ventures. Since when has making money been a crime? Allow more economic freedom and companies will be simply flocking to this country. The workers will suffer a bit from losing minimum wage laws, of course, but that's progress for you."

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#127: Aging Concerns In THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD [Sirocco; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Fears about the aging population in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have been raised after it was discovered that nearly a fifth of the population is over 65 years of age and becoming a serious drain on pension funds everywhere.

The Debate
1. "We're going to run out of working age citizens if we don't act fast!" warns Marcel Marceau , a government statistician. "Birth rates are down, death rates are down, and the amount of budget spent on pensions has doubled in the last twenty years! We need to put an end to this, quickly and without delay: we must get rid of all the people too old to work anymore... well, except for government officials like you and me of course..."

2. "I can't believe I'm hearing this!" yells Marcel Marceau , a wizened octogenerian. "We have our rights! You can't do that to us! What utter rubbish about our pensions! I can hardly survive on the paltry number of @@CURRENCY@@s I get each week! If anything, we should get more money! If you're so worried about low death rates, then just cut the healthcare budget to make up for the loss!"

3. "Woah, woah! Talk about hasty decisions here, man," says Kool Kal, one of your more hip advisors. "Just increase the working age to say... ninety-five years old? Then the number of people eligible for a pension is like, dramatically reduced, man. Why? It's 'cos most of them'll be like, six feet under, dude!" He high-fives you. "Funny, ain't it, man?"

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#129: Tribal Troubles [Olasonph; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A society of primitive natives have been discovered in the rainforests of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Various people have approached you with ideas on how the situation should be dealt with.

The Debate
1. "This society should be protected from us!" says anthropologist and Star Trek nut, Marcel Marceau . "Have you ever heard of the prime directive? We must protect cultures from damaging modern influence! It is not our right to go and change the way these people live. Let them be."

2. "Who says we need to 'preserve' these tribes?" asks Timothy Burre, CEO of 'Loggers & Lumberjacks'. "We should be developing them instead. The local area should be opened up to big business and corporate interests - think of the benefits it will bring to the indigenous people! Medicine, education and modern wonders like the espresso machine! It's time these people were dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world, whether they like it or not."

3. "These savages are disgraceful," says Marcel Marceau , a senior member of the NRA. "I don't see why we should stoop so low as to do business with them. If they're on land we want then we should just take it. It's not even as if it's theirs after all, they just happen to be living there. These people are no better than animals, I say we allow citizens to shoot the lot of them! It'll knock down two birds with one stone!"

4. "The matter is not what we do to this culture, it is whether or not the people who belong to this culture actually want to be a part of that culture!" says Marcel Marceau , a student sociologist. "We must stop knocking down rainforests so that the older members of the tribes can stay, yet allow the younger and more idealistic members leave if they wish and join civilisation! Let us make contact and give them the choice! Everyone wins! Except the wood companies o' course."

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#131: Raise Duel Standards, Say Fencers [The Gaelic Freedmen; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A number of well-dressed gentlemen wearing a varied assortment of swords is insisting that they be allowed to settle their private disputes on the field of honourable battle.

The Debate
1. "We must be permitted our inherent right to defend our honour through feats of arms!" exclaims Marcel Marceau , a bewigged aristocrat sporting a particularly flamboyant swept-hilt rapier. "The right to duel is one found throughout history for the honourable settling of disputes and I must insist that my right to fight be recognised! The world would be so much better - and cheaper too - if conflicts of interest were sorted through trial by combat instead of trial by jury."

2. "Swords? Heavens, what dreadful things. All sharp and pointy - quite dangerous, you know," says Marcel Marceau , an ardent pacifist. "Duelling ought to be banned! The best way to settle these kind of arguments are through trials, we all know that. If we go ahead with what these duelling nutters want then innocent people will die! It will be a sad day when people value money more than justice. Apart from lawyers, obviously."

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#133: When @@ANIMAL@@s Attack! [The Class A Cows; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After several reports of pet @@ANIMAL@@s violently attacking, injuring, and even killing citizens, there has been growing pressure from public safety activists for the government to take action.

The Debate
1. "These creatures are a danger to the public and must be destroyed!" says Marcel Marceau , representative of the Public Institution for Social Safety, Equality, and Direction. "I was attacked by one just on the way here and I nearly lost my life! They're a public menace. We must shoot and burn them!"

2. "Why punish the poor things?" asks animal-lover Marcel Marceau , covered in scars from previous encounters with @@ANIMAL@@s. "All they need is good hands to care and rehabilitate them. We need a government education programme to tame them and turn them into loveable pets. The one I'm holding right now shows that it can be done. They are all good, kind creatures deep d- argh!"

3. "I agree that we shouldn't kill them," says Marcel Marceau , a famous lawyer. "But I don't think the owner should get away with breaking the law! This is clearly a case of 'intent to grievously harm' if I ever saw it. All citizens should be held accountable of their pet's actions as if they had done the act themselves. It's the only way to be fair - after all, they're just dumb animals."

4. "Who cares!?" screams Marcel Marceau as he sends out his pirate radio station broadcast. "Just repeal any laws preventing us from shooting the things when they attack and we'll be able to save ourselves without this stupid, authoritarian, overbearing government and legal system wasting our tax money!"


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#135: A Taxing Dilemma [Claraxia; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Citizens staged a mass protest against 'monolithic' tax rates after the government recently instituted the 'Anything That's Purple' tax.

The Debate
1. "The tax situation in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is ridiculous," says Marcel Marceau at the protest. "The taxes keep getting piled on and yet - I haste to add - the government doesn't seem to realise that they already have practically all our money! We've been reduced to bartering for goodness sake! I haven't seen a decent wad of @@CURRENCY@@ in years! It's bad for THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, but more importantly, it's bad for business. We must take huge cuts out of the government budget. Even if it does mean less education, healthcare, and whatnot."

2. "You can't!" cries Marcel Marceau , the National Treasurer. "They don't seem to realise that if we cut taxes, it will drastically underfund our public services! All our environmental work, our education system, our healthcare system - all will go kaput! THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD depends on these taxes, we need the money! Don't let the people fritter it away on luxuries, 'cos they'll soon be complaining about there not being enough policemen on the beat. We'll tax the shirts off their backs and they'll be  happy about it!"

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#137: Arms Industry Demands Respect [Koternacht; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Representatives of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's arms manufacturing industry have expressed outrage over the lack of public and private support for their sector.

The Debate
1. Interviewed by the industry's trade journal 'Our Weapons, Your Victory', the CEO of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Arms Inc, Marcel Marceau , said: "It is shameful the way we have been treated over the last few years! Shameful! Our workers, and I tell you we have a great many of them, can barely get to work thanks to disruption by protesters and all that hippie nonsense. And as for this dangerous talk of 'Ethical Trade Practices', I say we need full government recognition of our vital contribution to the economy - relaxation of trade barriers, gun laws, and a crackdown on all these long-haired weirdos who try to shut us down!"

2. "We have a right to protest against this evil business!" screams Marcel Marceau through a megaphone. "The arms manufacturing industry is a stain on our nation's character and must be removed. How can we make money from the production of these evil weapons; how can we stand by and profit from the blood spilled by these abominations? The government must take a stand and outlaw the whole sector!"

3. Your Minister of Trade advises taking a middle ground: "We can't ban arms sales without harming the quality of our military and police departments, not to mention the economy. These hippies do have a point though - guns are terrible things in the wrong hands. We should implement additional safety checks on the groups to which the weapons get sold. That way we don't lose too many sales, and the people are persuaded we are making a stand against nations who use the weapons for immoral ends. The arms industry get to sell their guns and the protesters get to protest. Everybody wins!"

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#140: A Grave Problem [Eta Carinae; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
As cemeteries across THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD are beginning to reach their full capacities, citizens are demanding that the government step in to rectify the situation before the bodies start to pile up.

The Debate
1. "The expansion of cemeteries must end if the remaining government land is to benefit the economy," says the Minister of Death, Marcel Marceau . "What I propose is that we declare all graves over, say, ten years old, as vacant. And then dump a new corpse in it. Hey, nobody objects to sharing a university dormitory with another person, why should they object to sharing their grave?"

2. "Burial plots are so expensive these days, few people are opting for them anyway," says Retirement Home owner, Marcel Marceau . "Let's just go for that final push and make cremation compulsory. Some people may not be happy with it, but when you get right down to it, it's only setting fire to their loved ones against their will - you must agree that that's less important than expanding suburban development."

3. "This is horrendous," says Marcel Marceau , whose partner recently passed away. "Whatever happened to choice? When my Henry died, he was promised an eternal resting place; a place where his name would stand and he would be remembered. Having it disturbed by 'newcomers' or enforcing cremation is a slur against him and the rest of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's deceased citizens! If you have any compassion in your soul, then you'll acknowledge a grave as being a sacrosanct area. The dead must be allowed to rest in peace."

4. "Burying and cremating the dead is such a waste..." says Marcel Marceau , head of the Research Department at the McRonald's chain of fast-food restaurants. "They should be recycled for the benefit of the nation! We'll pay the families a little something for their loss, then mince up the bodies and put them in our burgers! I can't see any downsides, can you? It'd save space, recompensate the grieving, and supply everyone with a tasty snack!"

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#141: Police Too Pushy? [Myrth; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A group of 'concerned compatriots' (Citizens Raging Against the Police) have protested against the enormous numbers of policemen enforcing the law on their daily lives.

The Debate
1. "I'm constantly surrounded by over-zealous policemen!" deplores Marcel Marceau , a spokesman for the group. "Just last week I was arrested for letting my baby cry too loudly in public! This is ridiculous! The government needs to cut back the police force and let citizens get on with their lives without interference! If that means allowing muggers, thieves, burglars, pickpockets, murderers and all the rest to not have coppers breathing down the back of their necks constantly then so be it! This really is too much!"

2. "You can't listen to what they're saying!" gasps Police Chief Marcel Marceau , horrified. "These nuts would have us living in utter anarchy! If some robbers suddenly decide to break into a shop and steal everything, what's the owner going to do? What could anyone do without a well-funded police force? There has to be justice and law or we'd be nothing better than a bunch of savages. Stick to your guns, I say, and let me arrest these subversives - people need to be taught to show some respect!"

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#142: Roads Like Roller Coasters, Complain Motorists [Mirkai; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A group of local motorists have assembled outside of City Hall to protest against the shoddy state of roads in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

The Debate
1. "These roads are terrible!" shouts Marcel Marceau , president of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Auto Club. "Every few feet there's a crack, or a pothole, or a gravel patch, or the remains of someone else's car! It's really too much! And just look at this-" he adds, rubbing a nasty bruise on his forehead - "I got that from my rear-view mirror after flying over a bump on Main Street! These roads must be fixed! There really needs to be vast improvements made now, before anyone gets seriously hurt."

2. Marcel Marceau , avowed anti-spending advocate, disagrees: "Road construction? What a waste of @@CURRENCY@@s! If people can still drive on them, then the roads are fine as they are. Spending more to make trivial repairs would just be a waste of the tax payers' money! We should just ignore these whiners and leave the roads as they are and if the drivers don't like that - well... then they can just learn to walk like the rest of us."

3. "Why on Earth is it the government's responsibility to build and maintain roads?" asks bicyclist Marcel Marceau , pausing for breath. "Not all citizens own automobiles, you know. The government should be trying to make life better for all, not just car owners! If people want roads, then let private industry build them, and they can charge tolls to the people who actually drive on them. Leave the government out of it!"

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#143: An Archaeological Altercation [Fiscali; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
During the construction of a new Hyper-Mega-Ultra-Super Mall, construction workers have unearthed what appears to be an ancient temple. A furious debate has arisen between those who wish to preserve it, and those who need their retail therapy.

The Debate
1. "This is the perfect opportunity to learn more of our nation's history!" says Professor Marcel Marceau , head of the archaeological department of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD History Museum. "All building work must be halted immediately so that my team can study this remarkable piece of our nation's past. To bury these ruins under some concrete eyesore would be criminal!"

2. "It's all very nice to get to know some more about our past," argues foreman Marcel Marceau . "But that's just the thing! It's the past! We must think of the future. If you allow those decrepit fossils to take over this place, you put at risk the future of our economy! Today it's archaeological digs, tomorrow it's 'preservation of the environment'. Just let me bulldoze the worthless pile of rubble and bury it under a few hundred tonnes of concrete."

3. "Behold, the hour has arrived! The Holy Temple of Firefury Amahira has been unearthed!" proclaims Yon-Zhauryg v'Klot, leader of the Cult of the Undead @@ANIMAL@@. "This land is sacred, and must not be befouled by these corporations! No-one but the enlightened children of Firefury must be allowed to venture inside our rediscovered sanctuary, where we will perform the required rituals to please the Great Goddess and prevent Her from unleashing Her wrath upon the world."

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#144: Democracy Going To The Dogs? [Libertarian Haven; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After a recent election instated a small dog as member of parliament, the fringe group "Brains for Ballots" has demanded for the government to tighten voting restrictions.

The Debate
1. "The ignorant have taken over THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD," yells Marcel Marceau , from atop a soap box podium. "It is time that the intelligent retake the polls! Mr. 'Scruffy' is a disgrace to democracy and should be taken out of office instantly! I propose we issue mandatory I.Q. tests for every voting citizen and if they are found to have below average reasoning ability - namely lacking the foresight to see that electing an inanimate object to office will cause disaster - then they shall be excused from the responsibility of voting."

2. "Umm... huh?" inquires village idiot, Marcel Marceau . "I voted? When? Oh, yeah. Please don't make me not vote. The ballots are really tasty, and where else would I get my fibre? Everyone should have the right to vote, no matter what their favourite greenhouse is! Then we can all get the government to do what we want! First thing I think we should do is, uh, ban fruit? I hate fruit."

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#145: Hackles Raised Over Fur Clothes Debate [Naturhio; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Several animal rights groups have protested the continuing use of fur as a material for clothing.

The Debate
1. "This is an outrage!" cries Marcel Marceau , president of the Be Nice To Animals society. "The manufacture of fur apparel is unethical, cruel, and disgusting! People just don't seem to realise that millions of animals die each year in fur farms, crammed into tiny cages and suffering the most terrible treatment just so someone can look appealing and rich! This is a sick practice and must be stopped! The same can go for leather shoes and snakeskin belts too."

2. "You can't mean that, surely?" snorts Marcel Marceau , adjusting his hat, made from real @@ANIMAL@@ hide. "It's the people's choice what they wear. I don't think it's fair that the majority of the public should be deprived of fur clothes because some people are a bit queasy. In fact, if the government would allow us to stock rarer animals, we could produce even finer products. In the end, it's up to the consumer, don't you think?"

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#146: Evolution: Truth Or Witchcraft? [Holbrookia; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Religious and scientific leaders have clashed recently over the teaching of evolution in public schools.

The Debate
1. "Ach, good to see you haff made it here in one piece," says evil doctor Marcel Marceau as you wake up strapped to a chair in a secret lab. "As you can see from my brilliant experiments, science has now solved zer problems of zer vorld und ve need nothink else! I propose zat ve do AVAY vith zer teachink of silly thinks like religion und concentrate on zer FACTS! For a start, ve must teach our children where ve came from. Ve shouldn't be teaching anythink that hasn't been scientifically proven - er - accounted for, I mean. Igor, release our guest - I haff a monkey to show him..."

2. "That's a LIE, son, we come from the great meteor of truth!" yells firebrand preacher Pastor Richards, kicking down your door. "We cannot allow their transgressions against the HOLY truth to continue! All the heathens should be thankful we don't burn them at the stake for their devilry! This nation's true and just government must ban the filth and corruption being spread bah these WICKED men!"

3. "What I'm wondering is why we need to take sides on this," says student Marcel Marceau . "After all, it's only a theory. An unproven theory. Technically. It's not like it has any bearing on real life - let's just allow the biologists to teach evolution but emphasise that it's only a theory, but also make them teach other theories such as creationism. Heck, we can tell them that crackpot theory that we're all descended from @@ANIMAL@@s too! Then everyone goes away happy."

4. "Stop bickering already!" says Marcel Marceau , Minister of Education. "I say that you can have your cake and eat it, too. Education should be split if it stops this debate. The parents can send their children to secular schools or religious schools, based on what they want their kids to hear. It's expensive, certainly, but the education budget has been needing boosting for ages anyway."

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#147: Military Budgets Up For Approval [Greater Philadelphia; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The various branches of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's military brought their budget petitions to your attention and, as usual, they are all asking for widespread increases over the rest of the military departments.

The Debate
1. "Clearly the army requires the greatest increase in funds this year," says Field Marshal Marcel Marceau . "After all, wars were never won by air or sea and in this dangerous world we must be able to protect the interests of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Currently our men get hand-me-down weapons, rations I wouldn't feed a pig - the army is increasingly looking like a bad career option and we can't have that. If we're going to get recruits, we need more funding to support our brave lads in their duty."

2. "Hah! It's the Navy who needs the money, mate," says Grand Admiral Marcel Marceau . "The army and the police forces can protect us domestically, but can they protect us from having our foreign trade cut off? Can they protect us from terrorists and pirates? How are the soldiers going to get to the enemy's borders? Swim? I think not. Fund us, the Navy, the true protectors of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!"

3. "Despite the statements of my colleagues," says Marcel Marceau , Marshal of the Air Force. "The Air Force requires more money than these men playing around with boats. We are increasingly seeing terrorists taking to the air, and more ships or guns are not going to stop that. Our people will only be safe when the Air Force has the power it needs to defend us - and for that we need more funding and more government support for industries geared towards the development of new aircraft."

4. "You're all thinking too small!" exclaims Marcel Marceau , an avid Star Wars fan. "What we need is more research into the possibilities of space weapons! Big laser cannon and satellites with complete annihilation power! And cool spaceships! Boom! Rat-a-tata! Bang! Bang! It'll be expensive, sure, but think of the power! THE POWER!"

5. "It's simply not good enough!" wails Marcel Marceau , the Minister of Defence. "It's not about the money - it's the manpower. Not enough people by far are signing up! All we seem to be getting nowadays are drunks and people who volunteered for a dare. The current conscription laws need to be either more strictly enforced or drastically rewritten. What I propose is a universal draft: everyone capable of pulling a trigger should become a part of the Army, Navy or Air Force. Only in this way can we ensure the dominance of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD in the region."

6. "The military is a stain on the peace-loving nature of our nation!" cries Marcel Marceau , while sporting a Rastifarian hat. "People should be allowed to choose what they do for a living! Conscription is wrong and I don't see why our tax @@CURRENCY@@s should go to such a despicable cause! The money should be going to more important places - like our pockets!"

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#148: Spare The Rod, Demand Welfare Activists [Eastern Newfoundland; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD S.P.C.C. has launched a fresh campaign to stop parents from smacking their children. They demand that the government introduce laws to ban this form of 'corporal punishment'.

The Debate
1. Child Psychiatrist, Dr. Marcel Marceau , speaks at a press conference on the matter: "Parents and teachers must realise that smacking children increases aggressiveness, lowers their self-esteem, and can cause long-term emotional trauma! How can anybody think that it is anything but child abuse? Parents who resort to smacking their children are obviously unfit to be parents at all! We must ban this horrible practice at once!"

2. "What are these lunatics on about?!" yells Marcel Marceau , a concerned parent. "Smacking children has been an effective form of punishment since the dawn of mankind! Outlaw it and I guarantee you the next generation will be a disorderly disaster! Children need, nay CRAVE discipline! Sometimes the only language they understand is the cane, and the government has to respect that!"

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#149: With Liberty, Freedom, And Guns For All? [Frigben; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After the banning of firearms in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, the underground THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Handgun Association went public, staging huge protests in an effort to turn over the firearms ban.

The Debate
1. "We need our guns back!" shouts Marcel Marceau , wildly waving a water pistol in the air. "This is an infringement on our personal rights! If someone went and killed a bunch of people with a cricket bat would you ban them too? Sure people will be killed, but that's the price you've gotta pay for freedom! These liberals keep talking about legalising drugs because if we can't control them, we might as well join them. Humbug! I say we should do the same for guns!"

2. "Nonsense!" insists Michelle Mires, while handcuffing herself to your leg. "Guns pose a risk to people's lives! No one should have the freedom to be stupid! Do you realise just how easy it could be for someone to get hold of a gun and just go and kill people? If you allow everyone to have guns, you're going to be condemning people to death! The answer to safety isn't more guns - it's more policemen on the beat, more serious attention brought to gun-smuggling, and banning toy guns and gun-related violence on the television. We've got to get it into people's heads - guns are BAD."

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#150: Bug 'em All, Say Police [Niziania; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD police force have come to you for permission to use phone taps to trace suspected criminals.

The Debate
1. "This is a great idea," says police officer Marcel Marceau . "We can never have too much evidence in a case, and this will be of enormous help to us at reducing crime and seeing that those who deserve punishment get justice! If we could just get those silly privacy laws repealed and some funding we could find out stuff the government wants to know too."

2. "This is an unacceptable intrusion into the personal lives of the population," says Marcel Marceau while checking under your chair for bugs. "Just imagine all of the sensitive personal information that the police will pick up! Would you like someone listening to your calls to your mother or your lover? I think not! Laws should be passed so that the government and police can't stick their big noses where they're not wanted!"

Last edited by Andacantra on Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:53 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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Nationstates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

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Re: NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Andacantra » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:48 am

#151: Build Bigger Bombs, Advise Scientists [Benevolent Nations; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Top military designers in your secret laboratories have proposed projects to create nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and are looking to you for government support and funding.

The Debate
1. "This is a necessary step towards the creation of a safer THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD," claims Marcel Marceau , the leading researcher. "Yes, it will mean a large areas of land will become unusable as a result of the testing, and it will cost billions of @@CURRENCY@@s, but that's the price we must pay for our national security. Just think of the power we will have if we can turn our enemies into plate glass!"

2. "Why stop with making weapons for ourselves?" asks Marcel Marceau , CEO of Wendy's Weapons stores. "We can sell them to all sorts of groups and organisations: other nations, the WA, terror- uh - freedom fighters, anyone! And we produce our own for our protection. Think of the money we can make! I'm sure none of our clients would ever even think of trying to use them to influence our government with threats or anything like that!"

3. "You want to bring NUKES into THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD?!" screams anti-nuclear protestor, Marcel Marceau . "This won't make us safer - it will just give the power to destroy everything to a few people! We must hunt down the people who suggested this evil plan and have them hanged! We must protect nature from the horrible influences of science. I say ban all new weapons research!"

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#152: A Capital Idea [Hestrael; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A crowd of penniless ex-businessmen have amassed in @@CAPITAL@@, demanding that the government return all the nationalised industry to private control.

The Debate
1. "GREED IS GOOD!" bellows Marcel Marceau , a famous advocate of capitalism. "The economy is stagnating terribly under government control. Complete privatisation is the only option here. It's time to give power back to the people! Well, rich people, anyway..."

2. "This is outrageous!" cries armchair revolutionary Marcel Marceau . "The government must maintain the principles of equality and socialism that we fought so hard for, and not sell the country to corrupt and greedy corporations. We must eject these shameful capitalists from our great nation at once!"

3. "Hey, aren't we all being a little extreme about this?" says noted economist, Marcel Marceau . "Surely we could just keep the key industries, such as the electricity and water supplies, under government control and lessen the regulations on the others so they could function more independently? That way, the people can't complain that they are at the mercy of big business, and industries such as retail can function more effectively."

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#153: Protesters Have Gone Too Far, Claim Police [Utopian Gandhism; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A group protesting against the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD government began a riot yesterday which resulted in the death of Mr. Benson, a police officer.

The Debate
1. "This is an outrage!" cries Police Chief Marcel Marceau . "The people of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD just don't know how good they have it! Our nation is a gem compared to many others, but if you give an inch they will take a mile. I had to tell officer Benson's wife yesterday that their child will grow up without a father. Do I think public protests should be outlawed? You're  right I do."

2. "It all happened so fast," says Marcel Marceau , one of the protesters. "The crowd was just chanting, you know... and then they tear gassed us. I saw one cop, this Mr. Benson, club a teenager right in the face! For what? Speaking his mind! That's when the crowd rushed him. I'm sorry he's dead, but the police think they have a right to do whatever they want - things get out of hand sometimes. I think the police department should keep out of the way when we're protesting - even if things do get... excited."

3. "It's because protests get out of hand sometimes that we need a police presence," argues PC Marcel Marceau eventually after singing the national anthem to you. "Even violent protestors have a right to feel safe on the streets. If that means we have to die to protect the innocent, then that means we have to die. I think protests should be restricted to a designated area where police can keep an eye on the protestors. Then everything can go nice and smoothly and no one will have to worry about being beaten to death."

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#154: Ban The 'Boards, Say Pedestrians [HappyFluffyBunnies; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The conservative Northern-based parents group of "Housewives and Convicts for a Safer THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD" has put forward a memorandum to ban skateboarding in public.

The Debate
1. "Skateboarding is a menace to pedestrians and road users," says activist Marcel Marceau . "Not to mention the astronomical number of skateboarding-related injuries - hundreds of children flood the emergency rooms of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD as a result of skateboarding every year, which is costly to the taxpayers. Keep our streets safe and save a little cash at the same time. Hell, you could make even more money by ticketing those who violate this law."

2. "Ticketing children for getting out of the house and exercising?" asks Marcel Marceau , a school teacher, in disbelief. "That's outrageous! It's true that skateboarding can be dangerous but so is walking down the stairs! You want to ban that too?! What we should do is pass laws requiring safety equipment for skaters - if we allocate a little bit of the tax payers' money to the cause, we can build a skate park that will keep our children safe and away from others on the road too."

3. "Yo, dude, I've got a better idea," says Marcel Marceau while executing a complicated 360° spin over your head. "What if skateboarding was the only way to get around? Wouldn't that be cool? Skateboarding is cheap, healthy, and fun! Everyone should do it! You could improve, like, the quality of life for everyone by banning vehicles and making skateboarding the only legal way to travel. People'd love you for it, man. Well, apart from the guys who make cars and the like, I guess."

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#155: Curfew Meets Minor Opposition [Daedor; ed:Melkor Unchained]

The Issue
In order to curb youth-related crime, the police have suggested a national curfew.

The Debate
1. "The youth-related crime statistics in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD are appalling," says police chief Marcel Marceau . "If kids can't go out at night, they won't have any opportunity to roam around in their baggy pants and backwards hats mugging the elderly and causing a general ruckus. Just last night I had to run down some punk who tried to steal a mailbox right off the post! This is getting ridiculous. Sure, it'll require more funding, but think of all the mailboxes we'll save! Our youth need to spend the wee hours sleeping or studying--not out gallivanting with their friends."

2. "I'm not a criminal just because I'm seventeen!" shouts honors student, Marcel Marceau . "Yeah, I like to go out partying, but I'd never hurt anybody! Besides, we've already got enough problems with these pigs breathing down our necks. If anything we need MORE freedom. It's time for the government to step up to the plate and tell these power hungry swine to stop cramping our style!"

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#156: Waste Going To Waste, Says Industry Lobby [DeFranzania; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's industries have an ever-growing amount of toxic wastes to dispose of, and doing so in safe ways is becoming prohibitively expensive, leading a group of lobbyists to try and pressure the government into changing existing disposal laws.

The Debate
1. "These waste dumping laws are destroying our businesses!" rants Marcel Marceau , head of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Bigger Business Bureau. "We need cheaper ways to eliminate industrial by-products, which really aren't as harmful as people think, such as pouring them into rivers or deep ocean ravines where they're harmless to us. Let's remember that the products we manufacture make your life easier and more fun!"

2. "A better way to deal with this problem is to convince the public it isn't a problem at all," whispers Marcel Marceau , head of Scamcorp, an industrial think tank. "Fudge some research, declare that the chemical by-products from industrial processing and production actually make one's teeth and bones healthier. Then, sell them to municipalities to add to their drinking water! Yes! This will not only save us the trouble of disposing of the waste correctly, we'll be able to sell it at a profit! I can taste the money already!"

3. "These corrupt, money-hungry corporations are only looking out for themselves and their bottom line!" says Marcel Marceau , an environmentalist from northern THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. "The government needs to enact stricter laws for how these companies can dump their waste safely, and when they poison THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's people and environment, the government needs the authority and manpower to enforce harsh penalties! These companies make their messes, they should pay to clean them up!"

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#157: Sergeants Are Too Nasty, Say New Recruits [Mirkai; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A haggard group of new recruits in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's army have spoken out against the brutal conditions experienced in their military training.

The Debate
1. "It's atrocious!" wails Private Marcel Marceau , from amidst the cacophony of a parade cadence. "We're forced to sleep in crowded barracks, on hard cots, and do the most inhumane exercises when we wake up! Just today I've had to crawl through a muddy minefield, climb a grease-coated wall, and to top it all off, get mangled by an angry drill sergeant! All we want is a little respect from the officers - maybe to sleep in until noon, and not have to get all sweaty and tired doing stupid things like marching and climbing ropes. Oh, and private bedrooms too - we're risking our lives for the country, after all."

2. "THEY WANT WHAT?!" screams Sgt. Burkz, while pressing back a rising vein on her neck. "This is WAR, not DAYCARE! If anything, the training standards should be tougher! If I want to whip some pasty-faced, beer-gutted greenhorn because he can't climb over a razor-wire fence then I should be be given the permission to do so right away! The cry-babies won't like it, but they can run home back to their rich daddies if that's the way they're having it. War isn't a walk in the park, and training shouldn't be either. For all our sakes."

3. "Training, what a load of old hooey," says renowned spendophobe and radio announcer, Marcel Marceau . "The only thing it teaches our soldiers is how to shine boots and fight plastic dummies. We'd be better off if we just dropped them into the fight so they could learn to shoot for themselves. There might be a few accidents, but it'll be worth it for all the @@CURRENCY@@s we'll save."

4. "There is another way, you know..." whispers Marcel Marceau , the Chief of Secret Projects and Shiny Things in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's military research department. "What if we started taking children and raising them from birth to fight? We'd be able to make them completely immune to propaganda, psychological warfare, and demoralisation. Not only would that stop the crying new recruits, it'd also give us a powerful military edge. People may not like giving up their kids, but that's why we run the country. We know better."

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#158: Regarding Robbers' Rights [Robmuirpoems; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The Household Defence Alliance is lobbying for the right to kill anyone who trespasses on private property.

The Debate
1. "We must take a stand against burglars and looters entering our property," explains HDA President, Catherine Gratwick, while digging a moat around her house. "We should be able to rip their guts out with a machine gun, no questions asked. If they want rights they should have considered the poor sod they were robbing."

2. "Even burglars have human rights," says Marcel Marceau , while thieving a @@CURRENCY@@ from your pocket. "And we don't deserve to be shot for trying to make our way in the world. People are far more important than property, I hope you agree! Why attack a burglar? That's the job of the coppers! I think anyone injuring anyone else should be severely punished with no excuses about trespassers or defending your property. Or yourself."

3. "Hey, let's not be hasty!" cautions Marcel Marceau , an anti-gun protester. "I'm not for riddling burglars with bullets either, but I do want to protect my family! I think it would be a lot more sensible if we allowed homeowners to attack burglars, but not with guns. In fact it would be even better if we just banned guns while we're at it."

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#159: Think Tank Proposes Privatised Prisons [Yejuda and Shomron; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
In response to increasing costs of running state prisons, several government advisors have suggested allowing the private sector to play a greater role in managing THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's correctional facilities.

The Debate
1. "THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's prisons are in a ghastly state," says Marcel Marceau , representative for several large businesses. "The state now pays a fortune in @@CURRENCY@@s each day for every prisoner. My clients will be able to operate the prisons more efficiently and charge the state far less than they're having to pay now. With our help, those in jail will be able to get themselves jobs to do and the government can imprison as many people as they like!"

2. "This is just another scheme by multinational corporations to turn our great nation into a corporate dictatorship!" claims Marcel Marceau , of the Social Justice League of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. "Just say NO to privatised prisons. We should be closing them all down so we can begin focusing on rehabilitation anyway!"

3. "Private prisons?! Rehabilitation?! How utterly ridiculous!" exclaims Marcel Marceau , THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's toughest police officer. "Both of these proposals will simply waste resources on the scum of society. I say that we should summarily execute all violent criminals and give their property to their victims."

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#160: Truancy On The Rise [Nouvelle Quebecshiree; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Parents and teachers alike have expressed concern to the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Board of Education that truancy in schools is reaching alarmingly high levels, claiming that it's to blame for rising vandalism rates.

The Debate
1. "The truancy situation is just getting worse and worse," says Marcel Marceau , the chair of a local PTA group. "We've got children in our schools who turn up for maybe a couple of classes a week. It's getting ridiculous! They can't learn if they don't turn up. The government must introduce some sort of special truancy patrol in the police force. Controlled by us, of course."

2. "WHAT KIND OF WORTHLESS IDEA IS THAT?!" bellows General Marcel Marceau , the Head of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Military Academy, while turning a brilliant beetroot-red. "What these troublesome brats need is a good term in military school. I'll straighten 'em up, alright. NOW DROP AND GIVE ME FIFTY!"

3. "I really don't see what the problem is," says student Marcel Marceau , smoking an odd smelling substance. "I mean, so what if I only go to school three to four days a month? It means I'm able to work full-time, which probably benefits the economy or... yeah, something like that. The government should just back off, man."

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#161: Where There's A Will There's A Tax [Rehochipe; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After the vast fortunes of a recently deceased oil tycoon in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD were left to a small cactus plant, citizens nationwide have been asking the same question: should the inheritance tax laws be changed?

The Debate
1. "Every time I see a stupid rich kid having an easy ride of life with money they did nothing to deserve, I go into a jealous rage and start punching walls," says economically disadvantaged individual Marcel Marceau . "Abolish inheritance entirely! If the government takes the inheritance then we can spend all that cash on things that make ordinary people's lives better, like education, social welfare, and attack helicopters."

2. "This is a disgusting breach of my human rights," says Marcel Marceau , heir to an international widget empire. "Just think of all the poor families who have spent their lives scrimping and saving with the dream of passing on a modest luxury yacht to ensure the security of their children's children. All that sacrifice, all that toil, all those long nights working their fingers to the bone setting up offshore accounts - it brings a tear to my eye. Inheritance tax has got to go!"

3. "Surely we can arrange some sort of compromise here," says comfortable knitwear fan Marcel Marceau . "Yes, it's true that some people exploit the system - but a lot of people rely on inheritance for their basic support! Why don't we just set a sensible ceiling on how much you can inherit? That way you get to keep the family farm, but not the five mansions and the oil refinery."

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#162: Animal Experimentation Laws Under Scrutiny [Voroziniya; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Scientists and animal rights activists have once again brought up the debate over animal experimentation to your attention.

The Debate
1. "What have those poor, defenceless animals ever done to us?" asks Marcel Marceau , owner of the East THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD @@ANIMAL@@ Sanctuary. "Kidnapping these helpless creatures from their habitat simply to stick probes and needles in them is just barbaric! How would you like it if someone caged you in a lab and conducted tests on you just to find out whether a new product was fit for sale? Experimenting on animals ought to be banned!"

2. "It is not unethical," replies Dr. Marcel Marceau , the chief surgeon at THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's largest Cancer Research Clinic. "The unethical thing to do would be to deny the public of the benefit of the great scientific advancements we're making! If we have to sacrifice some animals in the name of science, healthcare, or a commercial venture, then that's just what we've got to do! Think of the lives we could save! All we require is more government support and funding for this worthy cause."

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#163: Referenda: Are they Right For THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [Ideal State; ed:Melkor Unchained]

The Issue
After the Parliament of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD recently passed a controversial law that polls have shown to be very unpopular with the public, a group of concerned citizens has called for mandatory referenda for all laws passed before the state.

The Debate
1. "We want real democracy, and we want it now!" proclaims Marcel Marceau , spokesperson for special interest group 'Direct Democracy Now!' "The fact that this latest law went through has proven that voting for a Parliament every four years is obviously not enough. Laws must be passed by the masses - that is the only way we can be sure that the will of the people is truly being enforced! We must have mandatory referenda for ALL new laws."

2. "Don't listen to these demagogues!" implores one of your top advisors, Marcel Marceau . "This is a ridiculous and dangerous idea! Referenda are costly and inefficient, and a direct threat to the fine institution that is our Parliament. What do you think we have the Parliament for anyway? Our citizenry nowadays don't know what's good for them. They're too busy milling around at the mall and buying sneakers WITH LIGHTS IN THEM. More control needs to be given to our qualified, intelligent--and most of all INFORMED--politicians."

3. "Referenda are a good idea in principle, but to make them mandatory for each and every law is simply impractical," states Political Scientist Marcel Marceau . "Representative democracy exists because direct democracy would never work in practice in a large society such as THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Just think of all the bureaucracy and expense that would go into it! I suggest that referenda be allowed, but only if at least a third of voters sign a petition requesting one. That should be a nice balance between democracy and practicality."

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#165: Wedlock Worries [Ice Hockey Players; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After a recent article in 'Salutations!' magazine highlighted a growing trend in arranged marriages throughout THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, several civil rights protesters have camped outside your parliament demanding changes to the law.

The Debate
1. "This can't go on!" exclaims Marcel Marceau , a long time campaigner for the rights of single young women. "Right now there's nothing to stop my parents marrying me off to anyone they please! Surely it ought to be the sole decision of the individual as to who they spend the rest of their life with? You can't just force two people together and expect it to work! Arranged marriages must be banned!"

2. "I only want what's best for my daughter," argues Cyril Duckworth, father of three. "She's young! Far too young to know what's good for her! Everyday when I look in the newspaper I learn of another unwanted teen pregnancy, of poor, sad adolescents who have gone down the slippery slope of drugs and violence. If parents have the power to arrange marriages with other, respectable, wealthy families, then it helps set the foundations for our children to have a decent life! I propose that all marriages should be arranged by the parents of the families - it's the best way."

3. "That's crazy!" says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Domestic Affairs. "Everyone knows that the people who screw your life up most are your parents! And now you consider letting them to decide who you marry?! I think we, the government, should arrange all marriages by national census. Distribute everyone to a place and person in an economically stimulating way - why, we'd solve the housing problems just like that! Especially if we dismiss outmoded things like divorce and monogamy! This could be a golden opportunity for us."

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#166: Vote For 'None of the Above'? [Kamikachidonia; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
A loose coalition of political activists running the gamut of the political spectrum has started a petition to add 'None of the Above' as an option on every ballot, so that a voter can reject all candidates if he feels none of them represent a viable option. If 'None of the Above' wins the election, a new election with all-new candidates would have to be held.

The Debate
1. "It's a simple matter really," says left-wing activist and former rock star Marcel Marceau . "Sometimes when you're voting, all the options suck. Why then should people be forced to hold their nose and vote for the lesser of two, or even three or four evils? Adding 'None of the Above' to the ballot would ensure that the people have a choice at all times, even if that choice is to reject the choices they have been given!"

2. "Adding 'None of the Above' to the ballot makes absolutely no sense," contributes conservative political pundit Marcel Marceau . "Those who want to run for office have already put their names on the ballot, and if none of those options suits the voter, that's just too bad. Instead, we ought to prevent this sort of problem and limit the number of options. Sure, fewer people can run, but that will eliminate costly runoff elections completely!"

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#167: Fluoride Controversy A Toothy Problem [Enlightened Harmony; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Recent reports revealing that the dental health of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is far below the regional average have ignited a fierce debate over whether to introduce fluoride to the nation's tap water reserves.

The Debate
1. "Fluoride has been shown time and time again to promote dental health," argues Dr. Edwin Namel, Chairman of 'Friends of The Teeth'. "It's not an experimental drug for heaven's sake, it's an accepted method of promoting national good health. A nationwide program for the fluoridation of drinking water should not be seen as optional - it's a no-brainer for any sensible government. We need to implement this now, whether the public want it or not."

2. "I am strongly against this proposal!" rages Marcel Marceau , one of the more vociferous members of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Green Society. "When I turn on the water tap I expect to get just that. Water. Nothing else. We are not lab rats and it is not the government's place to force us into taking these chemicals! In fact I reckon we should put the brakes on all these new chemicals doctors keep pumping into people and give us the right to say no!"

3. "There's no need to go to either extreme," says Marcel Marceau , your personal dentist. "It's all about, um, choice. Here's a nice alternative: why not just have clean non-fluorinated drinking water and give more funds to dentists? If we had enough money, we could make all dental care absolutely free! It will be demanding on the taxpayers I know, but they'll surely be happy when they all have sparkling white teeth!"

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#169: @@ANIMAL@@ Hunting Laws Under Dispute [Vigorithia; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The fierce debate on @@ANIMAL@@ hunting in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has been brought to your attention after vociferous supporters of both sides of the argument stormed your parliament.

The Debate
1. "@@ANIMAL@@ hunting is a cruel and horrible 'sport' for the wealthy," says Marcel Marceau of the 'Protect Anything Cute and Furry Society'. "How can you possibly justify it? Oh, they witter on about 'tradition' and 'pest control' and other such nonsense, but really we all know it's because these sadists love to torture poor, innocent animals! Hunting must be banned!"

2. "Banning @@ANIMAL@@ hunting would be the end for centuries of tradition!" wails esteemed aristocrat Marcel Marceau from atop his steed. "The thrill of the chase, the baying of the hounds, the @@ANIMAL@@ scooting through the undergrowth - it would be a travesty! We provide much needed stimulus to the local tourism, and you can't deny that @@ANIMAL@@s are pests - killing farmers' livestock for example! I propose that @@ANIMAL@@ hunting be encouraged, for the cultural - and economic - benefit of the nation!"

3. "Well, you know what I think?" asks Marcel Marceau , while helping to assemble a small trebuchet. "I reckon that the real issue about this sport is the cruelty aspect, and no-one can deny that sending a pack of dogs to tear apart a poor, innocent @@ANIMAL@@ is cruel. I reckon we should just ban hunting with hounds and only allow kinder and more instantly lethal methods like guns, tranquillisers, and cruise missiles."

4. "I'm firmly against the slaughter of dumb animals," says Marcel Marceau , while feeding an infant @@ANIMAL@@ with a milk bottle. "It would be best if the animals didn't die, and hunters could still do what they love to do - how about instead of shooting them or sending vicious canines after them, the hunter runs up to his quarry and gives it a symbolic 'tap' with his hand? Now isn't that much nicer for everyone?"

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#170: Deserts Devouring THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Countryside [Goobergunchia; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Due to desertification, the transition of habitable land to desert as a result of overcultivation and the increasing degradation of the environment, much of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's once-green rural areas are turning into barren, rocky deserts.

The Debate
1. "This is a disaster," wails Marcel Marceau , your Minister of the Environment. "We've been too lax on letting the agriculture sector overgraze and overcrop our lands and now we're paying the price. There needs to be some serious cutback on what these companies are allowed to do, or before you know it we're going to be scaling sand dunes on the way to work."

2. "'Ey there, you stupid townie, what about us?" shouts Farmer's Union Leader Marcel Marceau , waving a pitchfork from atop a combine harvester parked outside. "We's just goin' t' be tole we're out of a job? Tha' best way t' goes about this is t' promote stuff like that there recyclin', crop rotatin', an' biodiversity, and t' gives us tha' subsidies we needs t' work in 'armony wi' mother nature. Desertification ain't no irreversible thing, an' claimin' tha' land back will be slow and bloody expensive, by thunder. But oi'm sure tha' taxpayers will be more than 'appy t' aid us 'umble farmers in our plight, and maybe gives us a little more say in things in future, so's this can't 'appen again."

3. "Yee-haw, these here deserts are the greatest thang that's happened in YARS!" drawls noted cowboy Hamish McGraw, twirling his shootin' irons. "This is just what THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD needs! Just git a stagecoach out har an tha' foreign types will come a-flockin,' y'all see if ah'm wrong! We don't need no fundin' f' tha' environment! Them's farmers c'n jus' git minin' fer GOLD!"

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#171: Kids And Criminality: Whose Responsibility? [East Stalinia; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Recent studies showing that the sources of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's most common street crimes (vandalism, muggings, joyriding, and witchcraft) are children under the age of criminal responsibility has prompted a national outcry for government action.

The Debate
1. "These  hooligans are running wild on our streets!" splutters hard-nosed Sergeant Marcel Marceau of the police force. "My overworked officers can't cope anymore! Everywhere we look we're being surrounded by mobs of unruly children! I need you to give me and my officers the power to dish out punishment to these little hoodlums. I don't care how young these kids are - they need to learn to behave properly as soon as possible. Even if it requires a short jail sentence of ten years or so."

2. "The last thing we need is a police force that prosecutes, convicts, AND sentences young kids!" yells outraged Child Welfare Officer Marcel Marceau . "These youngsters are merely children being playful! Let them learn from their own mistakes! You can't tell me you weren't ever naughty when you were that young! Experience is the tree from which learning is a fruit, remember, and besides: the taxes needed to round them all up would be murder."

3. "Hah! Yeh're lookin' at this the wrong way!" says Marcel Marceau , an elderly pensioner, hobbling up to you and poking you in the chest with a walking stick. "When I was wee, and if I was caught breakin' the law, me dad would've beaten seven types of bahoola out of me! If a kid's gone maladjusted and started nickin' cars and whatnot, look at the parents and punish them for not bringin' the tiny scions up right! Yeh can't blame a kid for the environment they were raised in an' that's that!"

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#172: Church Attendances Reaching New Low, Warn Priests [Realm of Idiots; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Religious professionals and fanatic hermits across THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have been drawing increasingly animated attention to the decreasing levels of church attendance among the population.

The Debate
1. "The apathy of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's people towards their religious duties to God is abysmal," rumbles a man known only as 'The Hierophant' as he brandishes his holy book at you. "If we don't rectify this problem immediately the ground shalt quake, the sky shalt turn blood-red, and the fields shalt turn to offal. The government must make religious attendance compulsory before all the land is to an eternity in the Netherworld!"

2. "Compulsory church attendance is not the answer to this problem," says swami Marcel Marceau in between spells of meditation. "There are many ways to enlightenment and it would be wrong for the government to enforce any one of them so, instead, we must divert some of the money we spend on meaningless economic pursuits into funding an awareness campaign to help people discover their true religious identity. We must establish temples, mosques, and hermitages so people can find out which path to their spirituality is right for them."

3. "I reckon you could just ignore these zealots and scrap any government funding we still have going into religion," says Marcel Marceau , author of the wildly unpopular book 'Face It, There Is No Afterlife'. "I can't believe that modern thinkers like you and me are still tying ourselves down with outmoded and outdated concepts like the 'soul' or 'God'. Just drop all funding and give everyone a bit of a tax break. At least then we can be a bit richer before the long infinite void of oblivion at the end of our small, feeble, insignificant little lives."

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#173: Women Demand Equal Opportunities [HammerCrusher; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The women of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD are demanding an end to wage discrimination in the workplace.

The Debate
1. "The government must put a stop to businesses discriminating against women when they apply for a job!" chants Marcel Marceau , a ferocious supporter of women's rights. "Did you know that on average men in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD earn four times the amount that women do for doing the same job?! For too long has the female race been discriminated against in our society due to their sex! We demand equal wages, equal opportunities, and equal respect for women and we demand them now!"

2. "Hey, my business is treading a thin enough profit margin as it is," complains Marcel Marceau , CEO of Heavy Lifting Incorporated. "Women just aren't as good as men at certain jobs, it's a probably proven fact! Take firefighting - if you were dying from smoke inhalation and collapsed on the floor unable to move, who would you prefer to attempt to rescue you? A man with superior muscular strength or some weakling female? Go on, you decide. Let the businesses decide what they pay and who they pay it to - after all, the economy depends on us."

3. "Hah! Our society is getting far too soft!" rages Marcel Marceau , a staunch male chauvinist. "Whatever happened to the days when a man could go back home to find his good lady wife with his tea ready and his slippers warm? I've heard that some men even have to cook and clean for themselves! Let us return to the days when it was just the men who went out to bring home the bacon! A brand new golden age!"

4. "Personally I think things went wrong as soon as women got labelled as the 'fairer' sex," interrupts Catherine Gratwick, author of the best-selling novel 'Gynaecocracy For Beginners'. "We're strong, we're willing - and we're just plain better than men. See what a state the world is in when they're in charge? I propose that all the men should stay home and be househusbands whilst the women go out to work and earn the wage packet!"

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#174: Maternity Leave A Must, Say Mothers [Vashaan; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A coalition of expectant mothers (Mothers 4 Justice) has banded together to demand legislation allowing for six months of fully paid maternity leave.

The Debate
1. "Six months?! Six WHOLE months?!" blusters Marcel Marceau , a payroll manager. "Six whole months of being fully paid by our company for doing nothing but looking after a baby?! This will sink the small businesses and lose us an obscene amount of revenue! We cannot allow this to pass!"

2. "I believe that passing this law will be a step in the right direction," says Marcel Marceau , the nation's most outspoken feminist advocate. "These kids need their mothers' love and attention during an important part of their growth development! I don't see why mums should be forced to juggle with the stress of bringing up children and having a job! It's simply too much! Six months maternity leave with full pay is what this country needs - even if it is at the expense of a few avaricious fat cats."

3. "Look, I've got an idea," says Marcel Marceau , an obsessive centrist. "Perhaps we can allow for six months of paid maternity leave, but have the government pay the companies for lost revenue? That way the mothers can bring up their children without financial worries, companies won't lose investors, and everyone will be happy. Apart from the taxpayers, of course, but you can't please everyone."

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#175: Is THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Too Promiscuous? [Masalium; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The highly moral and religious pressure group 'Cuckolds And Cuckqueans Anonymous' has lobbied for the criminalisation of adultery.

The Debate
1. "Whatever happened to the sanctity of marriage?" asks Marcel Marceau while wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan 'Marriage is for life, not just for anniversaries'. "Whatever happened to lifelong companionship? Whatever happened to simple faithfulness because of love?! Adultery seems to be more of a hobby than anything these days! The government must impose the utmost punishments on those who commit this sin. A good old-fashioned stoning should sort it!"

2. "I don't agree with adultery either," says Marcel Marceau , a passer-by. "But, uh... stoning? You don't think that's a little extreme? If we find someone guilty of fornication we can just lock them up in jail. That way no-one gets killed and the sinners get justice. It's more expensive to the tax payers than a stoning of course, but I reckon it's worth it."

3. "With the greatest of respect, this is none of your business!" yells Marcel Marceau who is rumoured to have had more than a thousand lovers and even more children. "The government has no right to go about trying to dictate the laws of love and romance! Marriages break down, people move on - is it really the government's place to make people stay put? You must recognise the fact that the law has no place within the bedroom!"

Last edited by Ballotonia on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:36 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Nationstates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

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Re: NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Andacantra » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:51 am

#176: History A Mystery To Most Of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD [Diet Mug Root Beer; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Historians and educators have campaigned against the skewing of historical facts for artistic purposes following the premiere of the new historical drama titled 'It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Revolution!'

The Debate
1. "It is completely outrageous!" cries media critic Marcel Marceau . "The Captain was our most inspiring war leader and is a national hero! He never had a teen sidekick named Pogo! And he certainly didn't come from outer space! We should protect ourselves from such wanton revisionism and outlaw so-called artistic licence. That way we can be happy that what goes on in these movies is for real!"

2. "Oh, that's nonsense, yeah?" says film director Marcel Marceau , while polishing a small statue of a golden @@ANIMAL@@. "If anything, it helps our nation by familiarising everyone with historical figures and gets them more interested in the subject, yeah? It's not boring like real history; it can be exciting! With car chases and explosions, yeah! Hey, I'm excited already! Besides, what is history? Just memories from a certain viewpoint, yeah? Well, if you make all history classes see it from our viewpoint there'll be no more problem! Oh, yeah!"

3. "I'm sure there's a middle ground," suggests Marcel Marceau , your minister of History. "If we just made history classes mandatory for pupils until they leave school, increased taxes to raise funding for history classes a bit- no, make that a LOT, and encouraged history-related professions, then eventually everyone will realise that these films are simply pale, inaccurate imitations of events that really happened. People will be historically aware, and directors get to make their films. Everything sorted."

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#177: Power To The People? [Whatia; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Several underground organisations in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have recently been spreading discontent throughout the populace about not being able to vote.

The Debate
1. "We demand the power to rule the country the way we want!" cries Marcel Marceau while being dragged before you in chains. "Too long have you and your dictatorial government been allowed to control our lives! The right to vote in a fair and free election is all we crave! You can take our lives, but you'll never take our souls! Elections for THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!"

2. "If you'll take my advice, we should just send these crazies down to the dungeons," murmurs Marcel Marceau , one of your political advisors. "If we let them spread this propaganda we'll soon have a revolution on our hands! We should crack down on these groups, and ban non-governmental political organisations to keep the people from getting too frisky with their pitchforks."

3. "There's no need to be quite so dramatic," assures Marcel Marceau , your minister of Silly Walks as he pinwheels past. "We could let them have their way a little, just to keep them happy, you know? We could give them the right to vote, but not the right to run for office. Then we could just pick out the candidates we wanted and they could choose! We've been doing this for years, we don't want some uppity new bloke trying to tell us what to do."

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#178: Free Press Too Free? [Ice Hockey Players; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Citizens, politicians, and businessmen have been campaigning for the government to keep a tighter rein on the media after several well-respected newspapers printed false articles with contents ranging from claims that the capital city had been stolen by a UFO to erroneous share prices which led to job-losses and a stock market decline.

The Debate
1. "Over a thousand jobs lost!" clamours Marcel Marceau , angry protester and ex-employee of Dreddmax Incorporated. "And why? Because the press isn't concerned about the truth anymore; all it wants is higher sales! We must forbid these rags from lying to the people and dish out heavy fines to those who try! This so-called 'free press' has a dark side, you know. We learnt that ever since we discovered it wasn't cottage cheese they were mining up north!"

2. "This is censorship!" says Marcel Marceau , editor-in-chief of The Hebdomadal Gabfest while carefully noting everything you say in a notepad. "We speak for the people! Admittedly some newspapers didn't check all of their facts before they published, but that doesn't merit such draconian measures at all! If we're only allowed to print the absolute truth then how soon before we're getting constantly sued by politicians for libel? What about our rumour columns? It'll totally destroy the business! The government must have no part in repression of the media!"

3. "You know that no matter what we decide we're going to make people mad," points out Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Public Relations. "But the best way to control public opinion is to tell the public what their opinions are. I suggest nationalising all the newspapers and putting them under government control. Then we can tell them whatever we like! After all, we're much more trustworthy than some profit-driven media moguls, right? At least we won't have to issue ANOTHER public statement to tell everyone you're not a hyper-intelligent aubergine."

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#179: Mad @@ANIMAL@@ Disease Outbreak! [The Stevillian Empire; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Tens of thousands of @@ANIMAL@@s all over THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have been found to have contracted the fatal and highly contagious Mad @@ANIMAL@@ Disease, destroying livestock and causing widespread panic after evidence that the disease is transmissible to your citizens was released.

The Debate
1. "I'm afraid this is terrible news," says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Dreaded Lurgies. "All these animals must be culled at once to prevent contamination of our foodstocks and to stop the disease from spreading to citizens! It'll be a bit of a blow for the food industries, what with all their livelihood being destroyed, but it's the only way!"

2. "We've got to look at this in the long term," says Marcel Marceau , a rustic farmer. "How will we farmers survive when we've got nothin' to sell? I'd suggest puttin' more tax @@CURRENCY@@s into the whatjamacallit... medical research thingy so we can finds a cure, 'cos if we don't it'll just come around again and we'll all be in the same sticky mess. In the meanwhile, we should just hold the fort if you know what I mean. Import some @@ANIMAL@@s from abroad, no-one need know!"

3. "You call that an answer to short-term problems?" asks Marcel Marceau , a likewise rustic farmer. "It can take months and months to find a vaccine you know! The meat industry will still take a hit and I jus' don't have the resources to see me and me kids through this kind of financial upheaval. I reckon the government folks should go ahead with the culling idea and compensate us farmers for our losses! That's a lot cheaper than putting all our money into tests that most likely won't work don't you think?"

4. "Wait a minute!" interrupts Marcel Marceau , a querimonious taxpayer. "Why do I have to pay a burden because of these pointless animals? I suggest we do nothing, let them die off... or just sell them. I mean, it's a bit much when the government starts saying what we can or cannot put in our refridgerators isn't it?"

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#180: Mobile Maladies [Grindleria; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Recently, there has been increased commotion from your citizens about the possible health risks caused by using mobile phones.

The Debate
1. "Have you seen these statistics?!" yells anti-mobile lobbyist Marcel Marceau , gesturing towards a wiggly line on a clipboard. "Mobile phones now kill more people in this country than exploding cupboards, the ironing board, and Godzilla put together! And that's not including the number of people who die every year from car crashes caused by chit-chat while driving! These things fry your brain with microwaves while you speak! We must ban mobile phones now!"

2. "This is utter nonsense," argues Marcel Marceau , CEO of Amber Phones, while nonchalantly slipping a wad of @@CURRENCY@@s into your pocket. "Mobile phones are totally harmless - I'll have you know that not one of our privately-funded studies has found the slightest bit of evidence to the contrary! Have you ever seen anyone drop dead in the street just because they were chatting on one of our new M/A models for sale now at low, low prices? No! It's just blatant scaremongering! I implore the government to dismiss these crackpots' complaints."

3. "I don't believe they're harmful either," says Marcel Marceau , a teacher. "But it's obvious to everyone what a detrimental effect it has on our children! Everywhere I look, I'm seeing children as young as four tapping away at the blasted things! Do you know how many lessons I've had interrupted by the 'Crazy @@ANIMAL@@' ringtone? Do you know how many of my pupils think 'great' is spelled with a number? Too many! Only adults should be allowed to own and use mobile phones!"

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#181: Radio Rebels Ruffle Government [Dupeksland; ed:Myrth]

The Issue
The 'Underground Element', a newly formed resistance force to the governing party in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, has begun broadcasting anti-government messages over a network of public radio stations.

The Debate
1. "These rebels are harmless," says Marcel Marceau , political commentator. "In the interests of free speech and democracy, we should allow them to broadcast their messages. There's nothing wrong with a little criticism of the government - indeed, it could do with some more incentive to perform well."

2. "It'd be one thing if it was genuinely insightful criticism," says Marcel Marceau , your personal advisor. "But this is a disgrace! It's simply fear-mongering and government-bashing. We should shut down these punks before they fill our citizens' heads full of mistruths. And while we're at it, there are a few other radio stations that need to smarten up their attitude to the government, too."

3. "Now now, let's be reasonable about this," muses Marcel Marceau , radio chatshow host. "The government should think very carefully before it gets into the business of telling people what they can and can't say on the air. The solution here is not to ban criticism, but to price radio station licenses at an appropriate level - that is, higher than a rabble of unshaven hippies can afford."

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#182: Younger Voters a Cure for Apathy? [South Westerburg; ed:Myrth]

The Issue
With voter interest in politics plummeting, the idea of lowering the minimum voter age has been suggested.

The Debate
1. "It's their future as well, let the youngsters have their say!" calls Marcel Marceau , a retired history teacher. "By their early-teens, they should know as much about our government and political process as any other voter. It's time we got some young blood infused into the political process and got people interested in politics again."

2. "Are you mad?" cries Marcel Marceau , government treasurer. "Teenagers are way too easily distracted! They'll end up making snap decisions and lumber us with some incompetent fool who reduces our economy to ruin and could even end up giving out tax cuts! If anything, the government needs to be more careful about who we allow to vote. Background checks and strict conditions placed on all voters should help keep our government running smoothly."

3. "All these elections are awfully troublesome," says Marcel Marceau , your senior aide. "I mean, it's obvious you know what's best for the people and for THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, so why don't we cut out the whole voting thing and just appoint the ministers directly? Think of all the money we'd save, and the trees that would be spared from being turned into ballot papers!"

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#183: Buy A Better Baby? [Sci; ed:Myrth]

The Issue
A top fertility clinic has recently announced a new service allowing parents to create so-called 'designer babies'.

The Debate
1. "Embryo selection isn't really genetic engineering in the technical sense," explains Dr. Marcel Marceau , owner of the Babies-2-Go Clinic. "It's more like being able to have a dozen abortions per month until you get the foetus you desire. I can't really see what's wrong with parents who can afford it being able to eliminate foetuses with undesirable genetic traits - like stupidity."

2. "Thou shalt pay for thy sins!" screams Marcel Marceau , waving a crucifix. "This is just meddling with the sanctity of life. If these children are to be born with horrible defects then it's God's will and who are we to question it? This technology must be banned at once!"

3. "This technology shows promise," muses Marcel Marceau , minister of health. "But we can't trust the private sector with the future of our nation's children. We must place it under strict government regulation, so that we only screen out embryos with serious genetic conditions."

4. "This has got me thinkin'," says General Marcel Marceau , thumbing through a big folder marked 'X'. "If this technology lets us reduce genetic defects, then couldn't it work the other way? We could create ourselves an army of genetically superior soldiers! With our army of Super Soldiers, no nation would dare stand in our way!"

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#184: Compulsory Military Service Under Attack [Randino; ed:Myrth]

The Issue
Concerned mothers and nervous school-leavers are petitioning the government to abolish compulsory military service.

The Debate
1. "Our children are forced to be trained to murder!" protests Marcel Marceau , chairman of the Parents Against All Things Violent organisation. "For too long now the government has been snatching away our children and training them to become killing machines. This archaic practice must be banned at once! Sure, some of them could end up breaking into cars or terrorising old people, but hey, kids will be kids, right?"

2. "What a preposterous idea!" scoffs Drill Sergeant Marcel Marceau . "The youth of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has never needed the discipline provided by the armed forces more than it does today, and with all those rogue states out there we need all the recruits we can get! If anything, the government should lengthen the required service and drop the minimum age to something more reasonable."

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#185: "Bring Back Our Booze!" Cry Revellers [Eta Carinae; ed:Myrth]

The Issue
Crowds of angrily sober sports fans and university students have petitioned the government to repeal the prohibition of alcohol.

The Debate
1. "Banning alcohol was the worst government decision ever made," says Marcel Marceau , a former connoisseur of fine wines. "One can only drink grape juice for so long before one gets most awfully tired of it! Our society needs alcohol: it reduces inhibitions, dulls the pains of our modern existence and lets us all have a good time. Yes there are those who abuse it, but that's their choice. The government needs to start re-issuing liquor licences right away!"

2. "It's certainly not the choice of the victims of drink-driving!" retorts police chief Marcel Marceau . "Or the families torn apart by alcoholism! Banning it caused huge drops in violence, vehicle accidents and medical costs. How could any sane person want to re-legalise that poison? What we need is more money for the police so we can crack down on criminals smuggling in and selling alcohol and impose heavier penalties."

3. "In large amounts alcohol is damaging, but moderate amounts can actually be quite beneficial," says Dr. Marcel Marceau . "Like many other potentially harmful drugs, alcohol should be available on prescription. Sure, it'll be more work for the health service, but I'm sure we can manage it... with a little extra funding."

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#186: Carjacking Concerns [Vortengard; ed:Myrth]

The Issue
Terrified motorists are complaining about the increasing number of hijackings that are taking place outside the big city areas.

The Debate
1. Hijacking victim Marcel Marceau wants the government to take action against the road pirates: "Inner-city crime is nothing compared to the brutality these gangs show! They block the roads with trucks or felled trees and hide on the roadside until some poor unsuspecting motorist pulls up. The government must introduce a special police unit to patrol these isolated areas!"

2. "More police isn't the answer," retorts Marcel Marceau , head of research at THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's largest car manufacturer. "This is a job for the private sector! We already have blueprints for cars with bullet-proof armour and mounted machine guns, and, if you'll pass appropriate legislation, we can have these things on sale in weeks. Let the people defend themselves!"

3. "This just proves how cars are more trouble than they're worth." says Marcel Marceau , leader of the Transport Worker's Union. "If the government bans cars and pours more money into public transport, everyone will be much safer and happier! Except from people who live outside major cities, of course - but then, that's their choice."

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#187: THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Underclass Drowning In Debt [Crazahkistan; ed:Myrth]

The Issue
In response to an increasing number of people falling into debt and declaring bankruptcy, activists are arguing that the government should take a stronger role in protecting its citizens from loosely regulated lending firms and in helping its citizens pay off or cancel their debts.

The Debate
1. Marcel Marceau , head of consumer watchdog 'Debt-Busters' urges the government to enact new laws: "We've got middle and lower class families falling victim to predatory financial institutions and plunging into debts they can never hope to repay. The government must pass legislation restricting things like interest rates to stem the tide of people losing their property to these sharks, and take an active role reviewing all loan repayment terms."

2. "That's just not going far enough!" cries newspaper columnist, Marcel Marceau . "The government must eliminate the shackles of debt from our good nation once and for all! What we need are vast reforms of the welfare system then we can provide these poor, downtrodden souls with money and housing, so they don't need to take out such huge loans in the first place!

3. "They're irresponsible with their money and yet they're the victims? Call me crazy but borrowing money and not paying it back isn't debt, it's theft!" scoffs Marcel Marceau , representitive of one of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's largest lending firms. "What we really need is the power to send these parasites to debtor prisons, where they can work off the money they owe through hard manual labour."

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#188: Video Games Too Violent, Say Parents [The Stakanian Isles; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Recently, there has been an enormous commercial success for 'violent' video games such as 'Blood 'n' Guts 2: The Revenge', 'Tremor', and 'Grand Theft Tricycle'. Several parents' groups have been calling for tougher restrictions on these games.

The Debate
1. "We must outlaw these violent games immediately!" shouts Catherine Gratwick, a member of Mothers Ordered Against Nastiness, "These so-called 'games' are desensitising our children to violence and making them more aggressive. Why, just the other day I witnessed my son firing a missile launcher in a videogame and the next day he went out and robbed a bank! He may be thirty-five, but you can't possibly say it's a coincidence!"

2. "Oh noez!" cries DEATMASTER_69, one of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's foremost authorities on video games. "That's stupid! If a child is psychotic, it's not because they played 'Hellstorm of Fireblood 3' or whatever, it's because their parents were stupid enough to not teach little Johnny the difference between right and wrong and don't want to take the blame. Just because I like to n00k countries in games doesn't mean I like to shoot people in real life. That's false data! So just relax and let the kids play their games, hey?"

3. "Why not rate games the same way we rate movies?" asks Marcel Marceau , a spokesperson for the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Censorship Board. "We could give each game a content rating based on age appropriateness, and add descriptors on the box explaining why the game gets a certain rating. A little funding and we can stop children getting violent video games without affecting all the older 'gamers'. Everyone will be happy. Except tax payers, I guess."

4. "The children will manage to get their hands on the games anyway," says Marcel Marceau , a fitness instructor. "Parents can be so ignorant. In my opinion, the only damage these video games are causing is physical: kids are becoming less inclined to exercise, and it doesn't really matter if they are violent; the result is the same either way. The only way to get bums off seats is to ban all video games. Maybe then we'll see a difference in the national waistline!"

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#189: Dangerously Cheesy [Disposablepuppetland; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
The popular daily cartoon strip "Barry the @@ANIMAL@@" has always been highly critical of the political system within THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, but in recent weeks the cartoon has depicted the main characters throwing melted cheese at unpopular politicians. Inspired by this, protestors armed with fondue sets stormed a government building, cheesing off several government officials.

The Debate
1. "It's just a bit of harmless fun!", says Marcel Marceau , creator of Barry the @@ANIMAL@@, while spraying your advisors with melted cheddar. "If the government were doing a better job people wouldn't feel the need to throw cheese at them. We should be free to express our displeasure in any way we choose. Besides, my cartoon books are selling like hot cakes, and that's got to be good for the economy, right?"

2. "This has got to stop!" insists Marcel Marceau , head of the censorship board. "I spent 3 hours this morning scraping wensleydale out of my hair! Arrest these lunatics! The protestors and the people responsible for this vile cartoon, throw them all into jail!"

3. "Arrrrrgh!" screams lactose-intolerant Marcel Marceau , a member of the public safety board, as incoming rounds of mature gouda smash the windows and claim the suits of several nearby advisors. "As I've been saying for many years now, cheese is a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands and should be outlawed. Ban all cheese now, and enforce it!"

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#190: Immigrants Import Homeland Rivalries [Rowaria; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
After a series of bloody wars between the nations of Maxtopia and North Bigtopia, fights have broken out in the streets between immigrants in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD who came from the warring nations.

The Debate
1. "Foreigners are a major cause of civil disturbances," begins Marcel Marceau , whose opinions form the book '101 Arguments FOR Slavery'. "What we should do is make all immigrants, foreigners, and non-native THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD folks slaves! I mean, who in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD wouldn't like a minority slave group to do his bidding? Imagine! People could be bought and sold over the Internet!"

2. "I am shocked and appalled at what my colleague is suggesting!" exclaims Marcel Marceau , President of the Civil Rights Union of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. "Slavery? We should punish these offenders, yes, but send them to rehabilitation centres instead! As for the ethnic squabbles, programs in school should begin to stop these racist attitudes in childhood! All it will take is some slight fortification to the education budget!"

3. A quiet old man stands up to speak. "Now, I may be a quiet old man, but I believe that these ethnic disputes are none of the government's business. It's not our war anyway, so it's not our problem. I'm sure if you leave it alone, it'll work itself out. Just think of the money that would be saved if the police don't have to be paid to deal with this!"

4. "It's not our war? It's not our war?" cries (in)famous THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD-born fascist Marcel Marceau . "Well maybe it's time it became our war! THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD should take a more active, and by 'active' I mean 'hostile', role in international politics! This ethnic squabbling will be over when the war is over, and WE can end that war and purge the impure! @@SLOGAN@@! Sieg THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!"

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#191: Blood Banks Running Dry [Karmanyaka; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A violent and rather messy stampede of @@ANIMAL@@s during a parade in your honour has brought widespread media attention to the shortage of blood, plasma and platelet donors in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

The Debate
1. "Blood donation should be compulsory!" argues Marcel Marceau , a spokesperson for the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Blood Donors' Association. "We can't expect citizens to come flocking to donate blood just out of the goodness of their hearts, so the government should take the matter into its own hands. If we could maybe require healthy citizens to... let's say... donate blood every three months, we wouldn't have such a problem with shortages. It'll require more funding to organise and carry out, yes, but your people are worth it, aren't they?"

2. "Don't listen to that devil worshipper!" preaches Marcel Marceau , a Jehovah's Witness. "It isn't up to us to decide what should be done, it is God, and only God, who decides what someone should do with their blood. I'd rather die clean and go to Heaven, thank you very much! We must heed this Gospel and ban blood donations now! Of course some people will die, but they will be rewarded in the afterlife for obeying His word."

3. "You're kidding, right?" burbles anaemic patient Marcel Marceau from a hospital bed. "I'm not going to let some closed-minded priest tell me what I can and can't do with my blood! But I don't think people should be forced to give blood; they just need incentive, that's all. Like money. Trust me, any kind of '@@CURRENCY@@s For Blood' scheme will have them almost begging to donate. It's the only humane way to ensure that people like me are getting the care we need. If you're worried about funding just get it from those religious nuts... they're not helping anyone with it."

4. "I have an even better idea," says Marcel Marceau , a prison officer. "How about we force every healthy prisoner to donate blood? It's about time they gave back to society what they've taken away in the first place. If we do this we won't have to beg the law-abiding citizens of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to take time out of their day to give blood. It's not like these thugs are really doing anything for us, so missing a pint or three won't matter, am I right?"

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#192: Coup d'Etat In THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! [Miravesel; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
During a state visit to a foreign nation, revolutionaries took advantage of your absence to seize government buildings, take workers hostage, and demand an end to your 'tyrannical' regime.

The Debate
1. "We call on our great leader to renounce this corrupt regime and join the revolution!" shouts revolutionary leader Marcel Marceau , while holding a knife to the throat of a terrified government minister. "For far too long have we toiled under the corruption and mendacity of the borgwa... bushawzee... rich people! It is time for a reckoning! Dissolve the government! Let us tear off the shackles of oppression and put an end to this dictatorship of our souls!"

2. "Our soldiers are ready to storm the building and gun down these interlopers at once," says your Minister of Defence at an emergency meeting in a secret bunker. "We must demonstrate strength in the face of these traitors and quickly. If we give any leeway to these people they'll just try to push for more and more power and overthrow us totally. We've got to nip this in the bud and direct much more funding toward the military in the future so they never try this again! If we press down hard enough, they'll never dare to even ask for more freedoms."

3. "That's too dangerous," says your Commissioner of Police, who also happens to be your brother. "We could lose hostages that way. We've just got to stand proud as the honorable citizens of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and negotiate with these people for the safe release of our workers. Don't take this the wrong way, I think you're a great leader, but maybe we could give the nation some freedoms in return. They may be asking for total control, but I think you'll find they'll make do with a lot less."

4. "Hey, that's just silly," says Marcel Marceau , your personally appointed Minister of the Free Press. "I know a way which means we won't have to give these hippies their freedoms and also allows us to get our workers back, which is good for your image I might add. Money can't buy you love, but it can buy you peace. If you paid several million @@CURRENCY@@s to the rebels, I'm sure you'll find them much more co-operative. Remember, it's better to spend money than spend lives. From a publicity point of view anyway."

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#193: Robots Leaving Workers Jobless [The Ethics Union; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Amidst a growing level of unemployment, thousands of workers have been fired and then replaced by automatic systems. They have petitioned you to intervene.

The Debate
1. "It's just sickening! Do you know how long it took most of us to get a decent, 'stable' job?" shouts Marcel Marceau , president of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Labour Alliance, before dramatically sweeping your personal belongings off your desk. "And now we're losing our livelihoods to robots so that while our families starve, the corporations get even richer! Don't let the capitalist pigs blind you! This practice must be banned!"

2. "Hey, I've got a job to keep up too, you know," says Marcel Marceau , a factory manager. "If I don't think of new ways of keeping costs down, the investors will go elsewhere. It's my neck on the line as much as anyone else's, even if I do have much more money. Besides, it's business, and no-one ought to be able to say who - or what - I can hire."

3. "This could be resolved if instead of replacing workers with machines, we added machines to workers!" enthuses Marcel Marceau , CEO of Mondas Ltd. "By replacing the body parts with stronger, better, metal prostheses, we can make the best industrial workers - literally - in the world! Imagine a shelver who can shift whole crates with just one arm! One finger! So let's hear no more of this deplorable 'replacing workers with machines' idea and look to the future!"

4. "You can't allow that!" gasps Marcel Marceau , a manual labourer. "If that happens, only the people with cyber limbs will get jobs! And the corporations will contract you into having the surgery if you want to have one! No thank you! We should go back to the grass roots of industry when all the machines weren't computerised and workers were the salt of the earth! Then maybe we'd see a bit more appreciation! And cash!"

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#194: A Request For Military Aid [The Rogue Soldiers; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A small nameless nation within your sphere of influence has gone on a genocidal rampage within its own borders, ridding itself of what their Supreme Ruler For All Eternity, Emperor Marcel Marceau , refers to as 'those pesky Bigtopians'. Some escaped refugees are requesting that your government do something to end the slaughter of millions.

The Debate
1. "They're killing everyone!" gasps Marcel Marceau , one of the refugees. "I implore you to please intervene and stop this murder of my people! If THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has any compassion at all then it must help us! With these madmen out of power we can finally go about rebuilding our nation as a land of justice and freedom!"

2. "Woah, woah, we can't just go around being a knight in shining armour for every random hell-hole on this planet," says Marcel Marceau , your minister of Foreign Relations. "Should we send citizens of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD into war just so we can save a bunch of foreigners? I don't think so! Now, I'm no xenophobe, but I've gotta ask: what's in it for us? Nothing but the death of our soldiers and criticism from the rest of the region, that's what. Trouble is we're getting too much of a reputation for having a big army. So drop some of our military funding and let them fight their own wars. It's got nothing to do with us."

3. "Well, maybe this nation does have something we need, sir," says Marcel Marceau , your Military Advisor, while perusing a giant map of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. "We're fast running out of land and resources here, so why not invade this place, kick out whoever's in power there, and take over? We've got the military power, so why wait? If any of those hippies in the region have somethin' to say about it, they can say hello to our missile programmes, haha!"

4. "They have as much right to their own internal politics as we do," says activist and peacenik Marcel Marceau . "While their actions may be deplorable by our standards, we can't intervene unless the legitimate government requests it. It's just an invitation to anarchy on an international scale, and nobody but a few crackpots want that."

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#195: Right Of Way Or Wrong Of Way? [Teaberry; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
An increasing number of land owners have been fencing off footpaths which run through or near their property and as a result you have been petitioned by The Rambler's and Hiker's Association to allow the 'right to roam'.

The Debate
1. Marcel Marceau , a famous hiker of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's countryside, storms into your office, arms waving dangerously. "These pompous land owners are fencing off hundreds of years of tradition! The public should have right of way by law! It is every man's right to be able to enjoy the scenic beauty of our native lands and I don't see why some toffee-nosed prat should be the only person allowed to walk around his hundreds of acres of land when most of us don't even have one! It's simply unforgivable! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going for a walk! Wherever I ruddy well like!"

2. "It's trespass, plain and simple," says Marcel Marceau , wealthy owner of six mansions. "My home is my castle! If these smelly ramblers think they can abuse and defile my land, they should start thinking again! You've got to look at this reasonably: where people go, pollution follows. Before I know it I'm going to have litter in my fields, drunken parties in my woods, and more eroded footpaths than I can count! Will they be the ones paying to have it all maintained? Not likely! I say no to this 'right to roam' rubbish! This land is mine, and I intend to keep it that way."

3. "There's an opportunity in every problem," says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Rural Affairs. "And there's always some sort of compromise. We could simply allocate some government funding to teams of environmental workers to maintain and promote our network of footpaths that anyone may use... for a price. Think of the money we could get from all those hikers and ramblers! Not to mention the tourists, birdwatchers, and hippies! Everybody wins! Except for those who can't afford the fees, I guess, but you can't please everyone."

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#196: Violent Violetists Protest Artists [SalusaSecondus; ed:SalusaSecondus]

The Issue
Several musicians have recently produced songs in which "Violet" sings silly and offensive things, causing outcries of horror from the Order of Violet.

The Debate
1. "THIS IS BLASPHEMY!" shouts Marcel Marceau , Grand High Poobah of the Order of Violet. "Our holy scriptures specifically forbid any portrayal of our prophet's most holy voice. We cannot permit people to slander and mock our prophet and insult all of us. These people are simply doing this to see if we are extremists. Death to the blasphemers!"

2. Speaking anonymously and from hiding, one of the musicians says, "It was just meant to be a joke! I never thought that they'd take it so seriously. I just wanted to give them a little ribbing like I do the other major religions of Pastafarianism and Frisbeetarianism." Marcel Marceau glances over their shoulder to see if anyone is watching, "Please don't try to figure out who I am. I'm scared for my safety. The government should protect my freedom to insult whomever I want. Freedom of speech should hold nothing sacred, not even God."

3. "Freedom of speech is important, but so is freedom of religion. Surely we can strike some sort of balance?" says Marcel Marceau , chief spokesperson for the @@NAMEINITIALS@@SOC (the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Society of Compromisers). "Freedom of speech comes with a responsibility. People must avoid anything that insults another's religion, and if they aren't willing to do it themselves, the government must enforce it."

4. "His Holiness, the Grand High Poobah of Violet, has the right idea, but the wrong religion," says Marcel Marceau , the Prelate of Primary Public Relations for the fanatical organization THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Concerned Citizens for Our God. "This nation needs an official religion, and not support the Godless heathens who worship the idolotrous Violet. Appoint me as your spiritual adviser an I'll ensure that all people worship God in the correct way."

5. "They've got it all wrong. Freedom of speech isn't the problem, religion is!" shouts Marcel Marceau , at a local AA (Atheists Anonymous) meeting. "If religion were outlawed, this problem would solve itself. Just send them in for medical treatment. After all, anyone who believes in some big invisible dude who can do anything is clearly nuts."

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#197: Breastfeeding In Public: Innocent Or Indecent? [Bronteland; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A young mother was recently thrown out of a restaurant in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD for publicly breastfeeding her baby and 'upsetting the customers'. There are now demands for the government to state their position on the issue.

The Debate
1. "We should have a perfect right to feed our babies where we want and when we want without fear of harassment from anyone," declares Catherine Gratwick, a likewise young mother. "Why should women hide themselves away just to assuage the silly attitudes of these narrow-minded fogies? It's totally natural, and much healthier than bottle-feeding for both mother and child so why the fuss? Today, women are afraid to breastfeed in public and the law should be on their side - if not for their benefit, then for that of the children."

2. "I think it's just wrong, wrong, wrong," says Marcel Marceau , in reply to an online survey. "These women should cover themselves up and feed their kids away from sight like respectable folk. It's not like bottles don't exist! I don't want to have to look at that sort of thing when I'm having a romantic dinner or going on a nice leisurely walk down the street, you know. It should be a private thing, like other bodily functions that I rather care not to mention."

3. "I'm not against mothers breastfeeding in public," says Marcel Marceau , a manager of human resources. "But what I find objectionable is that women could be allowed to breastfeed at the workplace when they should be doing more productive things like, well, working. They can't do that if they want to entertain and feed their baby at the same time can they? Can you imagine policewomen doing this on the job? Doctors? Politicians? Mark my words, this is a bad path to take and will ultimately be disruptive to the national economy. And my bonus."

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#198: Gypsies In A Field [CR Oscilloscopes; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After a much-publicised incident involving a farmer's attempts to drive a family of travellers off private property, there has been a call for you to review the laws governing gypsies.

The Debate
1. "These pikies just rolled onto my field in those caravans of theirs and camped out," says Marcel Marceau , the enraged farmer. "And when I tries to run 'em over with my tractor, it's me who gets stuck in the cells overnight! I've tried getting the government to evict them but they take too long over it. How would these people have reacted if I'd set up a tent in their back garden? There should be a law so I can get rid of them any way I choose. Gypsies should not be allowed to go wherever they like. It's just not fair to landowners."

2. "All we wanted was a place to stay the night," says Marcel Marceau , a traveller and parent of fourteen children. "Or maybe for a week or so. Or a month. Perhaps through winter; it's pretty mild around here, I don't know. But is that such a crime? We weren't stealing anything, or harming anyone. All we ask is to be allowed to continue our travels without harassment."

3. "I don't think that's a good idea," says Marcel Marceau , one of your advisors who happens to own an extensive greenfield site. "We can't just let people go living wherever they like just because they've been doing it for hundreds of years. It's very untidy! What I suggest is that we dip into the coffers and buy plots of land, all over the country, and turn them into nice safe areas where these folks can stay for as long as they want for a weekly rent before they decide to move on. See? Problem solved."

4. "I have the best solution," says Marcel Marceau , in response to a street survey. "These gypsies should be chucked in jail, their caravans sold for scrap, and, and... told not to do it again! I think we've all had enough with the government pussy-footing their way around these criminals! The way they just swan in and disrupt communities any way they please! And think of what their presence would do to the value of my property! People ought to live in bricks and mortar, not tins on wheels!"

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#199: More Jails Needed [Deleuze; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Since prisons were banned, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's crime rate has skyrocketed and calls have been made for the creation of a new prison system.

The Debate
1. "I don't think we can bear it any longer," says Marcel Marceau , victim of three robberies and one attempted stabbing. "The criminals have taken over THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. I'd say it's not safe to leave the front door unlocked but there aren't any left! We have GOT to reintroduce prisons and dramatically increase police funding if this nation's going to be restored to the way it once was, you know? A place where you don't need a mantrap on the doormat or seven sets of keys. If that money has to come from silly things like social welfare and education, that's fine with me."

2. "Jails? What are they good for?" asks Marcel Marceau , a shifty-looking advisor of yours. Eyes too close together. "All they do is create a drain on the public purse and for what? Keeping society's malcontents alive and in places of luxurious comfort? It's not worth it. Just forget this jail business and while we're at it, cut the police budget. If there's ever a worse criminal organisation out there, it's THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's boys in orangey-pink. Trust me."

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Re: NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Andacantra » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:52 am

#201: Jolly Roger Sighted Off The Port Bow! [I V Stalin; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's merchant navy has seen increasing attacks from swashbuckling pirates in recent months, devastating THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's foreign trade.

The Debate
1. "We should blow them out of the water!" says First Lord Admiral Marcel Marceau . "These waterlogged vagabonds have been plundering our ships for far too long! All our exports from the @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ industry are going straight into their hands! It's downright dangerous for us to let this continue! All we require is some funding for coastal patrol boats, fleet carriers, and nuclear submarines and a free hand to show these freebooters what's what."

2. "Hello," says a grog-swilling, peg-legged scurvy dog entering your office. "I'm Marcel Marceau , a mighty pirate. I'd like to suggest that instead of wasting all that money on attacking pirates you simply buy them off with barrels of bullion, jewels and Maxtopian gold! There'll still be pirates around, sure, but as long as everyone's paid off, they won't hinder your trade. Not much anyway."

3. "That's the second biggest load of bilge I've ever seen!" says Captain Grapnel, CFO of Hispaniola Shipping Insurance, LLC. "Shiver me timbers, if these scurvy dogs don't be cutting into me profit margin! Me comprehensive coverage has to pay out for victims o' illegality, and of course theft be illegal in this country, bu' that be giving me an idea - what if we were to have privateers? That is to say, if ye were to make piracy legal but with a quotar o' sorts, like huntin'? That way me and mine can stay in business and ye can get a fine cut o' th' booty from licence fees! Savvy?"

4. "Come now, that's hardly fair," argues 'gentleman pirate' Taupebeard de Gauche with a bow and flourish. "There is an ancient tradition of actively redistributing wealth on the high seas, and we active redistributors serve an important role in the global economy. You would not keep a family-run bookstore from handing down its business from generation to generation, would you? We simply ask, nay, demand the same right! And get rid of the word 'pirate'. It's a slur. We are corsairs - not common sea-faring thugs."

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#202: Guns Or Butter? [Roman Republics; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After years of costly military build-up, the military now has a state of readiness capable of responding to all threats, both foreign and domestic. There is extensive debate among government officials, the military, and the average citizen over what, if anything, should be done with this powerful asset.

The Debate
1. "No one even thinks to look at us funny now," says Field Marshall Lionel Mandrake as he taps a swagger stick against his hip. "So think about how they'd act when the military is in proper charge of the country? We'd say jump, and they'd jump, by jingo. Oh, and if you don't agree with me, consider this a coup."

2. "There's no point in having a military this size when our closest adversary has a water pistol strapped to a scooter and calls it an armoured brigade," says noted economist Marcel Marceau . "Besides, the military's been getting uppity with all its funding anyway. Slash its budget, sell off its surplus, and put the money into tax relief and... of course... maintaining all those contractors. Sure, they won't make tanks anymore but they can sure make plenty of commemorative plates with all that money!"

3. "The military is too powerful!" cries famous peacenik Elvis Gandhi, smelling of petrol and holding a Zippo in one hand. "All those tanks and bombs threaten us and the environment - we're number one, and someone's gonna try and take us down because of it! The people are tired of eating grass soup so the army can get another stealth ICBM launching flamethrower tank. Cut military funding and rebuild our schools, hospitals, welfare, and environment... or else!" Upon which he flips open the lid of the lighter threateningly.

4. "Everyone's got it all wrong," says Marcel Marceau , leader of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Libertarian Party. "We need the military now to support our economy but we can't let it get out of control. I say we privatise it and divvy it up between several corporations, and make it self funding... it sounds radical but taxes will drop, the people will be happy, and we get to keep our military strength to show Johnny Foreigner what's what! Everyone wins! As long it's in the corporations' best interests to protect the country though, I suppose..."

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#203: Suffer The Starving Children? [Eta Carinae; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The nation is poor. A report from Médecins Sans Frontières has revealed that over a third of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's children are either stunted, wasted or both stunted and wasted due to abject poverty.

The Debate
1. "Children like this are in desperate need of food," says Professor Marcel Marceau gesturing to a twelve-year-old starveling who is four foot tall and weighs twenty kilograms. "Yet every day I see big, fat tourists with their spoilt, asthmatic children. I'm sick of living on the wrong side of global capitalism. We must decentralise and localise the national economy by dismantling all cash-crop farms and give them to subsistence farmers to grow food crops. Everything must be nationalised so profits will flow into THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and not foreign shareholders. This will revitalise our economy on a subsistence level and bring everyone to an equal standing. Extreme, some might say, but who cares about these things when our children are going to bed, if they have a bed, hungry?"

2. "What? No! You can't! If we kick out foreign investors and corporations, then trade with other countries will grind to a halt," splutters Treasurer Marcel Marceau . "What I propose are Free Trade Agreements with richer countries. We can give rich countries complete access to our entire infrastructure sectors and natural and mineral resources in return for a reliable supply of food aid and other cheap imports. Hunger will end, probably, though not poverty; and the tax rate will drop. What sane government wouldn't make a dash for this goldmine?"

3. "The reason that so many families in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD are living in poverty is because they have too many children," claims controversial eugenecist Marcel Marceau . "What's the point of giving them aid if they continue to breed? All social, welfare and food aid benefits are a total waste of money. Let nature takes its course then maybe poor people will learn not to have so many children."

4. "Are you all completely money-obsessed?" asks Marcel Marceau , an advocate of national welfare programmes. "There is a way to deal with this problem without giving foreigners complete control over our economy! Simply give more funding to welfare and healthcare to help the citizens most in need and maybe we'll get through this! Yes, taxes will rise, but that money could easily come from less deserving causes - let's say the military and the environment? What happened to this country that we put @@CURRENCY@@s before lives? I can remember when '@@SLOGAN@@' actually used to mean something! I think you should dwell on that thought."

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#204: Lack Of Doctors Needs Cure [Emperor Matthuis; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A newspaper article revealed that patients are waiting months for the most urgent operations. Hospitals have blamed it on a lack of qualified doctors and nurses.

The Debate
1. "The problem is that there just aren't enough incentives to enter the medical profession," says Doctor Marcel Marceau . "We need to advertise government grants for medical students, give more funding to educational centres of medicine. If you don't act quickly then THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD will have a full-blown healthcare crisis!"

2. "Nah, it's just that we don't have the numbers of graduates or young doctors needed to fill the gap before we have a 'crisis'," says Marcel Marceau , leafing through pages of statistics. "The best solution is to recruit doctors from abroad. If we snag 'em from the poorer countries then we won't have to spend half as much as grants would cost us."

3. "Or we could NOT waste money on bringing foreigners into the country," grumbles Marcel Marceau , a wealthy businessman. "And giving money to the students? How many of them do you think will stay the whole course, hmm? How many @@CURRENCY@@s are we going to burn on this? Our healthcare system is great, there are thousands upon thousands of nations that would give their right province for what we have. I think we can afford to let go of some of that funding and give the good people of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD a tax break, don't you?"

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#205: No More Broccoli, Beg Meat-Eaters [Eta Carinae; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
As more people succumb to nutrient-deficiency ailments such as anaemia and kwashiorkor there are increasing calls to have compulsory vegetarianism repealed.

The Debate
1. "Humans are omnivores; we need meat!" says Marcel Marceau , nutritionist and former butcher. "Every day I come across malnourished children; an entire generation stunted in both body and mind by an idiotic government policy. We need to stop crying about animal cruelty and environmental degradation and start thinking about human welfare. Life is cruel. Get over it."

2. "They're not malnourished, they're just ignorant idiots!" rants Marcel Marceau , nutritionist and former animal liberationist. "Do you really expect the average joe to know anything about vitamins and nutrition? You don't just get protein or iron in red meat and if we could make this clearer to everyone with a nationwide 'Getting to Terms with Vegetarianism' programme so the populace learns how to eat healthily we would see a difference. Besides, meat-eating is a waste of resources, cruel to animals, and a drain on the environment. We must maintain our ban on meat-eating, and, moreover, outlaw all other animal-derivative products such as eggs, milk and honey."

3. "That's it, I've had enough with these smug leaf-eaters!" says Marcel Marceau , while tucking into an illegally imported steak. "I bet it'd really wipe the grins of self-satisfaction off their faces if we made meat-eating compulsory and banned vegetarianism! How'd you like that, eh? The thing these rabbits can't get into their head is that people LIKE meat. Who're you or anybody to say we shouldn't enjoy what we can while we can? Life is too short to worry about the feelings or rights of dumb animals! Down with veggies!"

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#206: THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Narrowly Misses Nuclear Accident [Takuma; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
When everyone in a city of northern THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD coincidentally flushed their toilets at the same time, it nearly caused a meltdown at the local nuclear power plant. Now, protesters have taken to the streets over the possible safety hazards of such structures.

The Debate
1. "These plants are a constant danger to our environment and our way of life! They must be banned!" shouts Marcel Marceau , pointing dramatically at the sky. "Day by day they churn radiation into our air and into our water! They dump toxic waste in our soil and do, ooh, terrible things! Yes, miners, nuclear engineers, scientists, et cetera will lose their jobs and electrical power prices will soar, but it's worth it to know my town isn't going to suddenly become a glowing crater."

2. "This is being blown way, way out of proportion," says Marcel Marceau , the power plant's supervisor. "Nuclear power is one of, if not the, safest sources of electrical power. This was an isolated incident; the fact that it DID happen is enough to make me believe pigs are going to start sprouting wings! All these over-the-top safety rules are just eating away at the budget anyway. Give us some slack, eh? I can promise you that this will never, ever, ever happen again. Probably."

3. "I agree that this isn't likely to ever happen again," says Catherine Gratwick, the leader of a neighbouring nation. "But cutting down on safety is just a bad idea. If your government is in need of the cash then how about you let my nation outsource our power plants to you? It's simple: we pay you money to run power plants under our supervision in your nation that will power my country. It'll lower your unemployment rates, it'll boost your economy, it will truly show that your nation is part of modern times. Think about it for a moment."

4. "Uh... you do realise she's just saying this because she doesn't want a nuclear disaster happening on her turf, right?" says Marcel Marceau , one of your elite circle of international spies. "What I suggest is that we do the same thing - pay some poorer country to take on our nuclear power plants. It's great! We get all the benefits of nuclear power with none of the risks! The only problem is the cost, but we can take that out of the education budget, it's bloated enough as it is."

5. "I think we simply need to be more careful," says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Safety. "There may be an issue with these plants, which can only be solved by upgrading to the latest state-of-the-art safety systems. There may be an issue with the employees which can only be solved by stringent training and only hiring the best of the best. I'm not going to lie to you, it will be very expensive, but the people need a stable supply of electricity, not worries of mutated radioactive monsters eating people's brains. Seriously."

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#207: Secret Police In THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [GX-Land; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Anarchists have been covertly putting up anti-government posters all over THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Some of your closest advisors have suggested the implementation of a secret police force to deal with the more... difficult members of society.

The Debate
1. "Sometimes a government has got to deal with something without having to go through the 'proper channels'," says Marcel Marceau , who does not exist within any of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's records. "It happens sometimes and we have to deal with it. It's not just anarchists either - it's the terrorists, the criminals, the traitors, and the hippies. With a secret police we can arrest the troublemakers and torture them to find other dissenters without having to worry about fiddly matters like human rights."

2. "Don't listen to that idiot!" whispers Marcel Marceau , one of your more guilt-ridden henchpersons. "I don't know how you feel about this but I think this would be a bad path for our government to go down. THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD shouldn't resort to deceit and off-the-record brutality to put away people. A secret police force would ruin our fine nation. It's time our government was candid with its people and let them say what they want!"

3. "Or how about we be candid AND have a secret police force," says Marcel Marceau your head spy from behind a newspaper with eyeholes cut out. "We could just reassign all the normal police into secret police. The beauty of it is that we won't have to bother solving crimes if it doesn't benefit the government! It's what we've always wanted! Not what the people want of course, but if they complain we can just make them... disappear."

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#208: Mine Collapse Rocks THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD [Emperor Matthuis; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A mine has collapsed in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD burying hundreds of workers. Calls have been made by the families to tighten up mining safety laws.

The Debate
1. "We need tighter laws to protect vulnerable miners!" moans Marcel Marceau , a family member of one of the victims. "The mines are being propped up by twigs, the hard hats might as well be made of polystyrene, and the inspectors are all bribed! New laws must be made and the people responsible for allowing this to happen brought to justice."

2. "These allegations are ludicrous and unfounded," says Marcel Marceau , CEO of the South THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Mining Company. "We use the finest twigs to build our mines and the last thing we need is the government tying us down with yet more rules. More safety laws means more expense means less profit and less profit means companies will look elsewhere to get their goods. You should leave us alone before you destroy thousands of jobs - do you really want that on your conscience?"

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#209: Students Demand Financial Aid [Rajlworld; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Students from many universities in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD are protesting about the rising financial cost of studying at university and are demanding that the government provide more financial aid to students.

The Debate
1. "We need money now," screams Marcel Marceau a student from one of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's top achieving universities. "All these tuition fees are just too much! I need that money to spend on books, study materials, accomodation, and alco- well, uh, you get the gist of it. All these fees are doing is preventing people from poorer backgrounds achieving their potential. The government ought to pay for all university expenses. After all if nobody went to university where would all the doctors and teachers come from?"

2. "OH GOD NO THE EXPENSE!" screeches Marcel Marceau , your minister of Education before eventually calming down. "No, no. This is not a good idea. Do you know how high the tax rate is already without introducing something like this? We should be making tuition fees higher if anything. University is a privilege, not a right, and only the elite should be allowed within those walls. And by elite, of course, I mean rich."

3. "These young people are the greatest resource our nation has," says Marcel Marceau , a famous demographer. "If you're going to discourage them from going to university then you're cheating our nation out of its potential. What I suggest is government-funded loans to students from poor families. That way we can have the best of both worlds without the expense. Admittedly, some may still not be able to afford it but there's no pleasing some people."

4. "Why bother with universities anyway," says refuse collector Marcel Marceau . "These students could be working and earning a living instead of wasting time and money learning things with no point whatsoever. Who needs to know about ancient Maxtopian poetry, huh? Who would hire you for that? There are plenty of jobs out there, so why don't they go and get one? I'll tell you why: it's because they are lazy. I propose the government close all universities in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and make people get a job after they leave school. With all the money saved from closing down universities we can have a well-deserved tax cut too."

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#210: Going Postal [Emperor Matthuis; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
It has come to your attention that there is some serious debate over whether THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's postal service should be either privatised or nationalised.

The Debate
1. "The postal system ought to be privatised," says Marcel Marceau , Director of PostHaste, a small package delivery company. "All the government is doing is putting the tax @@CURRENCY@@s of hard-working citizens into an outmoded and wasteful system. Private businesses can offer a much more efficient system with less junk mail. A little more expense on stamps is worth that right?"

2. "Uh huh? And what about those in rural or remote areas?" asks Marcel Marceau , the CEO of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Mail, the government-owned postal service. "If you privatise this business then they'll get marginalised and ignored. With a nationalised service everyone can use the system and cheaply too. We provide a good service for our customers and have been doing so for a very long time! The postal service should be nationalised and all competition banned!"

3. "There's plenty of room for compromise," says Marcel Marceau , a stamp collector. "How about we just privatise the mail system and allow other competitors to move in but continue with government funding to THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Mail? That way everyone can get their post and the companies can have their own slice of the pie. It'll require an increase in tax to cope with losses to competition but not too much. I think. To be frank, I just want more stamps."

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#211: Unconventional Weapons Under Fire [Hellenic Glory; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A collection of citizens, civil rights workers, and concerned mothers have signed a petition to stop the manufacturing of the 'BFG-69' (AKA 'the Organ Grinder'), a new rifle planned to be used in the military which works by shredding people's internal organs.

The Debate
1. "If we don't produce these weapons we will be left behind in the arms race," says Marcel Marceau , director of the Alliance of Rifles, Grenades, and Handguns. "These weapons are the future and it won't just stop with the BFG-69. We're planning on introducing the Bone-Breaker @@POPULATION_VALUE@@-DX Sonic Rocket Launcher next year along with our anthrax grenade line. If THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is going to stay ahead of the game then it'll just have to accept that highly destructive weaponry is part of life. We'd also like to sell it commercially to your police force and citizens if you'd just sign here...?"

2. "This rifle is completely inhumane," says Dr Marcel Marceau , leaning on a cane. "These weapons are unnecessarily violent - how can anyone condone something that rips apart your innards like this? How long do you think it will be before these new inventions get into the wrong hands? Shootings are bad enough but at least most people are just wounded. The BFG-69 and those of its ilk are lethal in the extreme and are completely unacceptable! We need some moral decency here and get rid of these unconventional weapons along with all the other shameful armaments like mustard gas."

3. "Excuse me, but whenever has anyone ever heard of a weapon that WAS humane?" asks Marcel Marceau , ballistics expert. "These are devices for firing slugs of metal at people. It's not nice, but it IS necessary. People are always so squeamish. They've already accepted the standard ripping through the body of the standard bullet but the moment something a little more effective is made they kick up a fuss. Typical. These nonstandard weapons should only be put into trained military hands anyway. We're not making rocking horses here, we're protecting THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD against her enemies! Just this once, let's try to stay ahead of them."

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#212: Police Wanting Help With Their Inquiries [Prasland; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After delayed DNA evidence put a notorious rapist behind bars the police have demanded that it be mandatory for those accused of a crime to surrender blood and tissue samples to aid the elimination process.

The Debate
1. "I'm surprised this hasn't been brought up sooner," says Chief Constable Marcel Marceau . "If we have DNA samples of all the accused it will make solving crimes like rape and murder that much faster! Sure, some people will think it's a tad invasive, but in my experience if you're worried by something like giving up a few drops of the red stuff then you've probably got something to hide."

2. "This is a breach of privacy in every meaning of the word!" criminal defence attorney Marcel Marceau exclaims. "Or three words, but this is an outrage! It's these peoples' bodies, not the government's nor the police's. If they want to give a DNA sample it should be THEIR decision! Now I'll admit there have been times when DNA sampling has helped solve a case or two but shouldn't we be upholding the inherent right of every man and woman to have their body remain unmolested unless they should so choose it? Undoubtedly! DNA sampling should only take place with the person's informed consent."

3. "What about the victims of these crimes?" asks DI Marcel Marceau , ever gruff and stalwart in the face of adversity. "Do they not have rights? Their right to privacy's been violated so it ought to be the responsibility of the criminal to give up his own. What I propose is the collection of DNA samples from every citizen in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD so we can track down the culprit if none of our suspects come up with anything. It'll be expensive, sure, there's @@POPULATION@@ people to go through... but it's just a small blood sample. Don't you think it's worth it?"

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#213: Bus Drivers Say No To Double-Decked Deathtraps [Angels World; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After several tragic bus accidents across THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, bus drivers have started a strike until safety standards have been raised.

The Debate
1. "Every morning I step into that thing I wonder when it's finally going to fall to bits," grumbles Marcel Marceau , a bus driver. "The lights don't work, half of the seats are either vandalised or missing, the top deck smells like something died there, and something HAS died right at the back. We need more money to improve our buses. It's that simple. If you don't do it then more people will die."

2. "People always want money," whines Marcel Marceau , one of your financial advisors. "And they always want guarantees. I'm willing to bet every single @@CURRENCY@@ on me that they're making a big fuss about nothing. The strike's no big deal, we can always find plenty of other people willing to take the job. Public transport is a financial black hole anyway, there's no profit in it for us. If someone really wants to go somewhere they drive. Withdraw some of our public transport funding out and let them have enough money to buy themselves a car."

3. "That sounds to me," says another of your financial advisors who just so happened to be walking past. "Like a stellar reason to do away with the public transport system altogether. The only people who really lose out are the poor and the disabled, but there's no profit in them either so it's win-win."

4. "Now now now, there's no need to be quite so gung-ho," says Marcel Marceau . a city planner. "The public transport system is vital for cutting down congestion and pollution within urban areas. Less vehicles on the road, less fumes, you with me so far? What we need to do is put a tax on car-use within the cities and promote our mass transit. That way everyone gets what they want, and cleaner air to boot."

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#214: Voting For More Money [Not Quite Dead Peoples; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
It has long been traditional in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD for Members of Parliament to set their own salary. This has, however, led to a recent vote in which members unanimously tripled their pay. Watchdog groups have spoken out against this.

The Debate
1. "Oh, wouldn't the world be a happier place if we could all decide our wages," shouts Marcel Marceau , leader of the World Of Watchdog, an anti-corruption foundation. "Who in their right minds would vote against getting more money with no strings attached? This quite obviously cannot be allowed to continue or where will it end? That money should be being used to fund hospitals, not personal luxuries! Well enough is enough! Politicians' salaries should be set by public vote! Maybe then we'll see something more reasonable!"

2. "I couldn't agree less," says Marcel Marceau , a Member of Parliament. "Sure, some people might think that having eight cars and three secretaries is excessive, but I'm doing our country a valuable service. Probably one of the most important services there is: representing the people and deciding what course our country should take. It's an incredibly stressful job and there's no way we could do it with lower pay. Members of Parliament ought to be allowed anything they want in return for all they do for THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. If we have what we want we're less likely to take bribes too."

3. "Perhaps there's a way to compromise," says Marcel Marceau , an amateur economist, philosopher and lepidopterist. "The problem here is that politicians could either be paid too little or too much. What if we paid them just right by paying them according to how well they do their job? Keep a close monitor on the needs of their constituencies and give bonuses for resolving problems and coming under budget. It gives them a proper monetary incentive to do their jobs. Some will have a harder time than others and the whole idea may be costly but if it cracks down on corruption I'm all for it."

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#215: Easter Egg: What's Your Favourite Colour? [Antioch and the East; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
During a national press conference, a little girl with ribbons in her hair asks you what your favourite colour is. Your panicked advisors have frantically called an emergency conference to come up with possible answers.

The Debate
1. "Tell her it's red," says Marcel Marceau , sharing out the meeting's doughnut tray. "It'll show them that our nation has nowt to do with money grabbing capitalists."

2. "Tell her it's blue," says Marcel Marceau , who inexplicably appears to be sitting in a tin bath and playing with a rubber duck. "Blue like the open ocean - it will show our devotion to all things marine. Quack."

3. "Tell her it's yellow," says Marcel Marceau , embracing you warmly and giving you a soppy kiss. "It is such a shining, bright, happy colour. It will fill your citizens with such joy to hear it is your favourite."

4. "Tell her it's green," advises Marcel Marceau , while caressing what appears to be a cabbage. "It'll draw attention to your benevolent environmental policy!"

5. "Tell her it's orange," advises Marcel Marceau , running a lap around the conference room. "Such a vibrant colour I've always felt! I'm sure if officially approved it will put some vim and vigour in the people!"

6. "Tell her it's purple," advises Roger Jefferson, relishing his own gourmet doughnut sprinkled with shredded truffles. "It speaks of the finer things in life, of luxury, and shows you as a man of distinction. Not like the riff-raff you see around these days..."

7. "Tell her it's pink," advises Marcel Marceau , your premier expert on all things gay. "It will send a message that we here in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD are not prejudiced against homosexuals and accept them with open arms."

8. "Tell her it's gold," advises Marcel Marceau , hands rubbing together in avaricious delight. "Give the people a hint that you'll be focusing on the economy!"

9. "Tell her it's black," says Marcel Marceau , ripping up pictures of kittens and scowling. "Black like the eternal emptiness of our withered, stilted, and twisted souls."

10. "Tell her it's white," advises Marcel Marceau , reclining in the lotus position. "It is a pure, peaceful colour, befitting the moral stance your government should embrace!"

11. "Tell her it's grey," advises Marcel Marceau , who is decidedly nondescript. "It's nice and neutral, won't upset anyone. Speaks of proper military bearing and protocol. People will like that."

12. "Tell her you don't have a favourite colour," says Marcel Marceau , the president of Open Our Perimeters Straightaway, on walking in. "THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is a modern country that does not discriminate between colours. We should allow everyone whether they be Bigtopian, Lilliputian, or Maxtopian into our bountiful nation."

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#216: Eminent Domain: Inherent Right Or Daylight Robbery? [British Londinium; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A furious debate over eminent domain, or compulsory purchase, the government's right to take a citizen's private property without permission, has erupted after the government evicted hundreds of people from their homes to make way for a new shopping complex and a bypass.

The Debate
1. "Eminent Domain? More like outright theft!" cries Marcel Marceau , whose house was bulldozed. "They took away my home! I have to move everything in my life somewhere else because of the whims of some fruitcake city planner? It's lunacy! This blatant power abuse mustn't be allowed to continue. The government should require explicit permission before taking private property!"

2. "You can't be serious," objects Marcel Marceau , a city planner. "You've got to have bypasses. Eminent domain's essential! Without it we'd actually have to pay for the property we were steali- ah- expropriating and that would mean lots of boring paperwork and be much more expensive. If we really need to build something, say a bypass to ease congestion, do you really want that to be stopped because one person says no? We need eminent domain to let THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD make progress. In fact we could cut costs even more if we didn't have to pay compensation..."

3. "I do believe we should retain our right to eminent domain," says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Miscellaneous Amenities. "But to use it for private industry is just immoral and corrupting. We really ought to only use eminent domain for the purpose of building public utilities like hospitals, schools, and carparks."

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#217: Healthcare Services Underfunded, Claim Patients [Lunar Village; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The @@NAMEINITIALS@@NHS (THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD National Health Service) is struggling to pay for the medicinal and surgical treatments required for your citizens.

The Debate
1. "The NHS was an ill thought-out idea to begin with!" exclaims conservative aristocrat Marcel Marceau IV. "We were much better off in a time when the medical profession was geared towards those who could pay for their treatment. Nowadays the waiting lists are choked with riff-raff of all kinds. I don't see why I should pay for someone else's healthcare. Those of us who can afford to pay for a private doctor ought to be allowed to opt out of the NHS tax and if that means lower quality of service for the masses then tough!"

2. "A sickeningly predictable view from the toffs there", retorts senior nurse Marcel Marceau . "Being diagnosed with an illness is stressful enough without adding a huge financial burden to the equation. Do you honestly believe people should be denied treatment just because they're poor? The NHS works; people are living longer and fuller lives. I don't have any problem with contributing to the health of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's citizens. We should increase NHS tax."

3. "Naaaah," says Marcel Marceau , your personal fitness instructor. "The problem is that we are trying to treat all citizens equally. There is no incentive to live a healthy lifestyle. If people had to pay a rate of NHS tax based on such factors as nicotine and alcohol intake, exercise routine and diet then the sensible thing to do would be to take responsibility for one's own health. The more unhealthy you are, the more you must contribute in tax. We'd have national surveys to make sure no one cheats which would be expensive - but fair. Now give me twenty push-ups."

4. "A nice idea but unworkable", muses Marcel Marceau , another of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's seemingly ubiquitous economists. "How many people do you expect not to lie through their teeth so they don't have to pay so much tax? I would suggest that the problem is that drug companies can develop a drug secure in the knowledge that they can charge what they like and the NHS will be pressured to pay for it. We should force drug companies to surrender their drug to competition after, say, five years and the NHS should then only be allowed to buy drugs which are five years old. This will cut down on the costs considerably while still providing excellent service. Patients may die from technically curable diseases but hey... that's economic reality for you."

5. "The National Health Service was doomed to failure before it even started," says Marcel Marceau , a right-wing political commentator. "Anything powered by the 'goodness of people's hearts' is. I don't give a flying monkey's about people I've never met yet I have to pay money that I earned so they can fix their broken legs or runny noses. What about my broken legs, huh? I call on the government to disband the National Health Service and bring back private health insurance. Those unable to pay should work harder and if they can't work... well screw 'em."

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#219: Nobody Expects The THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Inquisition! [Habardia; ed:The Most Glorious Hack]

The Issue
Some key figures of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's major religious groups have requested government sponsorship for the institution of an inquisition to try heretics and blasphemers.

The Debate
1. Cardinal Mortimer Gratwick, Archbishop of @@CAPITAL@@, demands you kiss his ring before telling you, "the Church encourages the formation of an Inquisition. However, it will only be to try those in error and put them on the right track to holiness; you needn't worry about those nasty thumb-screws and we haven't had a rack in ages, so we won't be torturing people. Of course, in order to bring this noble plan into effect, the Holy Office must have jurisdiction over the civil courts."

2. "This is bloody outrageous!" screams Marcel Marceau , head of the nation's most important civil liberties movement, People for the Ethical Treatment of Everything, while jumping up and down in front of a television camera. "Theseultra-conservatives will plunge us all into chaos! THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD can never have an Inquisition! Everyone should have the right to think, say, believe, etc, whatever they please. When was the last time you released a dove on a monthly basis? Huh? HUH?! That's what I thought! It's time to move beyond these primitive beliefs!"

3. "The people of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD need more than an Inquisition," pronounces Marcel Marceau , known fundamentalist tele-preacher, who pauses hawking the complete DVD collection to make some demands. "We must persecute all those who do not live according to the Book! The Lord has told me that the time has arrived to bring back the good old days! Back when we didn't have all these touchy-feely, fuzzy-headed punishments. Prison? Ha! Like that's a punishment! Stick those heathens in the stocks, or even better: bring back stonings! It'll bring us into a new golden age!"

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#220: Voter Apathy Rising But No One Cares [Clorse Ivy; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Statistics have shown a steady decline in voter turnout in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's latest elections. After numerous requests and finally a cash prize, some individuals have come forward with suggestions as to what should be done.

The Debate
1. "No one cares about voting anymore," sighs Marcel Marceau , chief of a Watchdog organisation overseeing fair ballots. "Even I only got to my position because my mum's a member. This is supposed to be a democracy, yet less than a quarter of our population voted for your government! I believe that if we free up methods such as internet and phone voting then the people might actually feel inclined to give their opinions. It beats having to stand for hours in the rain to give a vote they privately feel will make no difference..."

2. "The easier you make something the less anyone will care about it," says Catriona Wood, a political scientist with nothing to do. "The only real way to increase voter turnout is to force people to vote. Make it compulsory with executions for those who don't comply and then we'll have a true democracy! Sort of."

3. "The reason people aren't voting is because they're quite happy with how things are," says Marcel Marceau , lounging in a deck chair. "If people can't be bothered to vote then why not just do away with the whole thing altogether? Come the next election, just set yourself up as dictator for life and everyone can get back to whatever they'd rather be doing. Now please go away, you're standing in my rays."

4. "I think you're approaching this the wrong way," says Andrew Lavelle, the proprietor of UltraCorp-SmithMax Chemicals Inc. "If people can't get out and about, it's clearly due to a lack of energy. Our product range includes an ideal solution; we could add POWERTHIRST [TM] to the national water supply! And better yet, it only has a very slight risk of causing zombification or exploding cattle!"

5. "I, ah..., I think... ah, just do whatever," says Marcel Marceau , checking the time again. "I don't have time for this. Bye!"

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#221: Outdated Tax Code Crushing THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [Padosistan; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
Over the years, the government's tax code has become a headache-inducing tangle. Recently a prominent tax official was crushed to death under the weight of a complete copy of the tax code falling on his head. As a result, taxes are higher than ever and an unlikely alliance of taxpayers, businesses, and government officials are demanding something be done to fix the situation.

The Debate
1. "We've got to put a stop to this before more lives are lost, like mine!" says Marcel Marceau , the new head of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Revenue Agency, indicating the search and rescue crew armed with paper shredders. "We need to abandon all our tax codes and protocols and begin anew! It's drastic, I know, and it will mean chaos in the bureaucracy, but at least the people could enjoy a tax break!"

2. "It's true that something has got to be done about the tax code, but it doesn't need to be an all-or-nothing decision!" proclaims Marcel Marceau , spokesperson of the Alliance of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Businesses and Industry. "Just cut bloated government programs like welfare and health and education, and give everybody a tax break. Just make sure you leave those business subsidies alone, alright? After all, we need all the help we can get to remain competitive without sacrificing people's jobs!"

3. "If anything is bloated about the taxes and how our money is spent, it's those business subsidies!" rages Marcel Marceau , a concerned and rather irate citizen. "If you ask me, the government needs to cut the corporate welfare for these rich bigwigs! Cut the average guy a tax break, and keep the programs that benefit the people, not big business!"

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#222: Terrorists Strike City Centre [Silicar; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
All of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has been in an uproar since yesterday when a car exploded in the middle of @@CAPITAL@@, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. This terrorist act was traced back to a violent minority group known as the Lilliputian Freedom Fighters. A group allegedly supported by an unfriendly regime, despising THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD for its heathenish ways and political bent, but more particularly for supporting the recent occupation of their homeland by an ally.

The Debate
1. "They simply crossed the line!" shouts General Marcel Marceau . "Far too long have we tolerated these terrorist threats, it's time that they realise they can't mess with us. Send the order to prepare an invasion, and we will show them who is boss! Our brave soldiers are prepared to die for their country, all we need is your signature and a lot of money. But what is the cost of freedom and safety for THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's peoples?"

2. "Attacking another country isn't the answer," says Marcel Marceau , director of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Intelligence Agency. "The problem doesn't lie abroad, but within THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD itself! We should have more freedom to do our work. Protecting our nation from these cowardly scaremongerers would be much easier if we had an inherent right to tap phones and other communications, get search warrants whenever we need, and detain suspects indefinitely. Remember, to prevent is better than to cure."

3. "No, that's what those terrorists want us to do!" speculates chairman Marcel Marceau of the Patriots' Tea and Biscuits Club. "We don't want to give the Agency any more responsibility, they're the ones who messed up in the first place. What we need is to purge THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD of these rats who don't respect the laws and traditions of our way of life. We know who they are and where they come from, so the solution is obvious: we just won't let those sorts of people cross our borders and kick out those who are already here. It might seem a bit harsh, but hey, we were here first. Long live THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!"

4. "I think it's clear to anyone with half a brain in their head that this will just not work," says Marcel Marceau , a noted professor of social studies. "The people who perpetrate these terrible crimes do so because they feel they have no other recourse to demonstrate their political opinions. They'll do anything and I'm sure they're not above hiring mercenaries. You must understand why terrorists act as they do and fix it! What we should do is to reach out to the ethnic and religious minorities and seek common ground! Negotiation is the key! Violence solves nothing."

5. "We spit on THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!" expectorates Marcel Marceau , leader of the Lilliputian Freedom Fighters. "You disrespect our people and our country and everything we are! You spread your sickening influence where it is not wanted! You must change your ways and cease to oppose us or else there will be more bloodshed. You have been warned!"

6. "Is terrorism such a terrible thing? Really?" asks Marcel Marceau , avant garde journalist, discreetly sliding a pipe bomb under your desk. "These people are simply expressing their political opinion the best way they know how. I think we should legalise terrorism as a legitimate form of political commentary. It'll certainly get people interested, don't you think?"

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#223: Easter Egg: Zombie Attack! [Naliitr; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The dead are rising from their graves to feast on the flesh of the living! Currently, only @@ANIMAL@@ City has been affected. An immediate quarantine has been placed on the city, but with time running out for the survivors an emergency meeting has been called to decide what to do.

The Debate
1. "You have to destroy the city!" gasps Marcel Marceau , one of the few who escaped before the quarantine. "It's hell in there! If those things manage to escape then the whole country, nay the whole WORLD is doomed! We must send our biggest bombs into those streets and wipe them out!"

2. "No, there are people in there who need our help," says Marcel Marceau , armed with a Winchester rifle. "We can't leave them to the mercy of the undead hordes. I say before we blow anything up we call in the army and anyone else willing to help, go in, track down any survivors we can find, and get them out. It's dangerous, but it's got to be done."

3. "I think we should study these creatures," muses Professor Marcel Marceau , expert in biological warfare. "Zombiism? Reanimated dead tissue? Fascinating! This is a golden opportunity for our nation... why, we could unleash these on our enemies! Everyone would shake in terror of our undead army!"

4. "Wow, these unholy terrors are really scary," notes Marcel Marceau , selling sausages in buns to bystanders. "They would make a great honeypot. I mean, how often do you see the living dead?! We could really turn a profit if we turn this place into a first-class thrill ride for visiting tourists. Want mustard?"

5. "I think we're forgetting that these 'zombies' are people just like you and me!" objects Marcel Marceau , head of the newly-formed Undead Protection Alliance. "They deserve the respect that any deceased person should, if not more! Leave them alone, and let them have the city. It will be a victory for oppressed minorities everywhere!"

6. "Braaains... braaains...?" asks ardent anti-quarantine activist Marcel Marceau . "Braaains... braaains... braaains!"

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#224: Minimum Wage War [Vincon; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Workers all over THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have gone on a general strike demanding you create a minimum wage to alleviate poverty conditions.

The Debate
1. "We will not accept this exploitation any longer," says Marcel Marceau , through a megaphone. "Without a minimum wage law in place we're forced to work for a pittance! How can I feed myself and my family if I can't earn enough money? This corrupt government favours a system where the rich get richer at the expense of the working class. No longer! We demand a reasonable minimum wage!"

2. "'Reasonable?' Since when have companies ever been 'reasonable' when it comes to money?" questions Marcel Marceau , president of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Socialist Alliance. "The government should increase taxes and guarantee a living wage so everybody, no matter what job they have, can have access to food, water, and other basic needs. If everyone has the money needed to survive then things like the economy should take care of themselves. Stands to reason. But what you should be asking yourself is this: what's more important, individuals or corporations?"

3. "We don't need any of these stupid communistic welfare policies," says Marcel Marceau , CEO of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's largest @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ company. "Living wages are unworkable! if you make workers expensive then employers are just going to use fewer or lose profits. And as for minimum wage laws, I think it's a detriment to this nation's businesses that we even have to PAY them wages. If slavery was legal I think we'd find the nation's economy improving somewhat."

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#225: Prayer In Public Schools? [Vincon; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
In order to save the souls of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's children from eternal torment, it has been suggested that a daily prayer be made mandatory in schools nationwide.

The Debate
1. "Kids are such punks these days," grumbles Father Marcel Marceau , a local minister. "By making sure kids pray to their god at least once a day we instill the religious values that are integral to THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. It'll make them better, humbler people."

2. "Hey now, if there's going to be compulsory school prayer then there ought to be an opt-out system," says Marcel Marceau , a concerned parent. "I don't want my boy to be an part of this collective worship nonsense."

3. "I agree that we shouldn't force them to pray," says Marcel Marceau , a teacher. "Such difficult concepts shouldn't be thrust upon such impressionable minds. But instead of a praying session, these children should be taught about religion in an educative way. School's supposed to be about learning, not brainwashing."

4. "That's a lily-livered compromise," says Marcel Marceau , chairman of the Atheist Activist Association. "Religion should have no place in our schools. We should pass laws enforcing secularity on all educational establishments."

Last edited by Andacantra on Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:49 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Andacantra » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:53 am

#226: Expats Plea For Help In War-Torn Country [The Mones Islands; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Thousands of migrant citizens and expatriated citizens of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have asked the government to take them home from Marche Noir, a faraway country on the brink of a terrible and violent civil war.

The Debate
1. "We must co-ordinate with the government of Marche Noir in order to secure our absentee voters- ahem- citizens who are in their country," says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Foreign Affairs. "We must also create an emergency fund to assist our expats and help bring them back to THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. No matter where any of our people are, they're still ours and our responsibility."

2. "That's rubbish," objects Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Finance. "Why waste hundreds of thousands of @@CURRENCY@@s in bringing those expatriated citizens back to THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? They chose to leave our great country; they are no longer our concern! They could have stayed here and been an asset to our workforce! Helped us grow strong! No, they've had their chance. You reap what you sow. We should cut any financial assistance we give to those traitors."

3. "That's a good point," says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Civics. "Our people are the generators of the economy. The expats should be allowed to come back, but only if they stay. If we keep letting our citizens emigrate, then we're losing our doctors, our teachers, our skilled and unskilled workforce to bad foreigners! Close the borders to those wanting to leave our nation. If they can't see how wonderful THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is then we'll make them!"

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#227: Underage Drinkers: Social Menace Or Misunderstood? [Amisdar; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
With the advent of alcopops and other cheap liquors marketed at younger drinkers there has been public outcry at the sharp increase in underage drinking.

The Debate
1. "I never wanted my poor babies to grow up to be alcoholics!" wails Marcel Marceau , a parent of three, striding into your office. "And now I'm worried they'll drink themselves into being no-good slobs before they've even grown up! The only way to stop this madness is to really crack down on under-age drinking. Stricter identification laws and severe punishments should do the trick! The present laws are much too soft!"

2. "What is it with parents making society discipline their children because they don't want to?" asks Marcel Marceau , a schoolteacher. "These wishy-washy parents are to blame for their kids' misdemeanours! It is the parents who should be held responsible and be fined- no, even better, arrested and jailed!"

3. "Keep your hands off my Spinning Mermaid, Mac," says ten-year-old Marcel Marceau , an all-round unruly youth while downing some sort of shocking pink beverage. "Why shouldn't us kids be allowed to drink? We're reshponshible enou- HIC- enough. Don't oppress us like this, we're jusht havin' some fun."

4. "To be honest, this doesn't surprise me," says Marcel Marceau , a cultural attaché from East Lebuckte. "Back in my country it is customary for children to have a glass of wine with their main meal of the day. If you make alcohol an everyday mundanity then they're not going to go overboard with it later. Educate them in culture and sophistication so that they truly appreciate their senses instead of trashing them on low-grade hooch."

5. "I agree that we should educate them about alcohol rather than simply hope punishments will get through to them," says Dr Marcel Marceau , an expert on alcoholism. "But teaching those hoodlums culture? It just won't work. If we're going to get them to drink less then we must impress on them the DANGERS of alcohol, not the benefits! We'll scare them into drinking sensibly!"

6. "This wouldn't be a problem at all if alcohol was banned altogether," says Marcel Marceau , enjoying a fine ginger beer. "It's not just kids who break the law when under the influence you know."

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#228: Mice In The Walls [Esarchia Marksista; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After a police raid discovered an entire load of smuggled peripheral devices and computer components hidden in the plasterboard walls of an abandoned warehouse, various groups have demanded to repeal the ban of computers.

The Debate
1. "When you outlawed computers you didn't realise what you were doing!" argues Marcel Marceau , hugging an illegal laptop protectively. "These are essential machines for business! For communication! For culture! For posterity! If you've got any sense you'll repeal this ridiculous ban."

2. "Pfft, citizens with computers indeed," says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Records, while riffling through a cetacean-sized pile of paperwork and ringing phones. "What a preposterous idea. But as THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD grows, so do our problems. There is too much data to record, too many records to keep, and too many keeps to earn. We need to allow the government - and only the government - access to computers."

3. "Well, I suppose we could allow some leeway," says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Proper Thinking. "Computers are handy for some things after all. But we should ban the internet outright - it'll only give them ideas."

4. "Don't you remember why we got rid of those devil machines in the first place?!" growls Marcel Marceau , flicking beads on an abacus. "First it's all fun and games with things like 'pixels' and 'folders' but eventually they'll rise up against their masters and reduce us to slaves! Banning computers was a good start, but it's time we focused on eradicating all automated technology and focus on the handcrafts like basket weaving and carpentry."

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#229: Government Saturated In Corruption [Kordothistan; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The government is rife with embezzlement and fraud as bribes and graft are accepted both blatantly and frequently by politicians and other government officials.

The Debate
1. "This is a systematic problem endemic of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD’s state of life," says Marcel Marceau , the president of a government watchdog organisation. "The other day I asked a police officer the directions to a restaurant and he demanded fifty @@CURRENCY@@s on the spot! Even the road sweepers have to be paid not to dump rubbish in your garden! We need to inflict severe penalties on anyone abusing the system. Maybe the threat of a hanging will teach them to respect the responsibility of their positions."

2. "The problem is transparency," says Marcel Marceau , member of the National Whistleblower Association. "They can do whatever they want because they have absolutely no obligation to provide the public with the details of what they're doing. We should make all the details of any gifts or money available to the public, and make politicians accountable to the law."

3. "It's really not THAT bad, is it?" asks Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Commerce, whilst fiddling with a large gold ring. He reaches into his pocket and places a thick envelope on your desk. "Maybe it’s all just a prank. Maybe it will all just... go away..."

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#230: Extremists On The Ballot Sheet [Omigodtheykilledkenny; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
As elections near for governmental positions all over THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, polls predict near-certain victories for candidates from an ultra-nationalist party promising reactionary policies on immigration, crime, civil liberties and military spending.

The Debate
1. "Victory for these nutjobs would be a travesty for the people of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and the democracy they cherish!" declares Marcel Marceau , leader of the left-wing People's Democratic Party. "We must ban these dangerous extremists from running for office. If they want to espouse their ignorant views, let them do so in the private sector. Our democracy belongs to the people, not the wackos."

2. "Pfft, it's the people who voted them in in the first place," says Marcel Marceau , an international observer of your elections. "If it's the people's will to turn power over to the extremists, then you should do all you can to work with the new parliament. Truly listening and acting upon what your citizens want? THAT is what makes a democracy."

3. "Don't say I didn't warn you: this experiment in mob-ocracy was doomed from the start!" claims political adviser Marcel Marceau . "Now any idiot with a loyal army of fringe-voters can come in here and tell you what's what! You are the only leader our citizens can truly respect and for the sake of national unity we should put an end to these popularity contests once and for all!"

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#231: Jungle Fever [Luxtizeria; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Malaria, an infectious and often deadly disease spread by mosquitoes, is ravaging cities and other settlements near THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's swamps and wetlands.

The Debate
1. "Malaria is a highly dangerous disease with no cure," says Dr Marcel Marceau , one of the world's leading epidemiologists. "If we're going to control it then we've got to put money into researching a vaccine and new antimalarial drugs. We should also set out to provide prevention and awareness programmes, the whole caboodle. With a targeted and well-financed approach we can make an attempt to eradicate malaria from the face of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! But we're going to need @@CURRENCY@@s. Lots of them."

2. "Scientific research is all very well and good," says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Health. "But doing that AND everything else? It's just too expensive! There are other diseases we're fighting you know! Putting all our eggs in one basket is just asking for trouble. Instead of setting our sights on the parasite, I think we should kill off the mosquitoes by draining their breeding grounds, namely the swamps, bogs, and other stagnant waters."

3. "Don't drain our swamps!" growls Marcel Marceau , waving a picture of a Will O' the Wisp with the caption: 'Don't let their lights die out'. "These are incredibly diverse ecosystems, hosts to hundreds of different species, both plant and animal! Don't let something like the current malaria epidemic cloud your judgement! I suggest we move everyone away from affected areas and just let nature be. If there's no one to infect then there's no problem right?"

4. "There will be absolutely no need," interrupts Marcel Marceau , CEO of Normack Pharmaceuticals. "I've got the solution for you right here, it's called DDT which stands for Death, Destruction, and Total for those pesky flying fiends! Our product may have some alleged 'bad' impact on the environment and, uh, human health, but come on: it's cheap and highly effective against mosquitoes. Eradication's never been so easy!"

5. "DDT is also banned in several countries," remarks Marcel Marceau , one of your dourer advisers. "Do you really think we can destroy this disease? I don't. Whether we try to cure the disease or kill the mosquitoes it will just come back in an adapted form. What we should be doing is educating our citizens on preventative measures like mosquito nets and less environmentally dangerous insecticides. If anything, it's way cheaper."

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#232: Suffragette City [Night Island; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
An outraged collection of female political activists and feminists are protesting loudly in the streets demanding suffrage, the right to vote.

The Debate
1. "We are fed up with being viewed as second-class citizens," says Catherine Gratwick, a suffragette. "Enough is enough! We cook, clean, and work for the men of this country! We bear and raise their children! But do we get to have any say on what goes on? No we do not! We deserve, and demand, the right to vote!"

2. "That's not enough," objects Emmeline de Gouges, another suffragette. "The system is inherently oppressive towards women. If we're going to be considered truly equal then we must have the right to stand for election too!"

3. "Years of inequality cannot be erased with a simple place on the ballot," shrieks Ida B. A. Goodwon, yet another suffragette. "We must restore the balance by assuring a permanent role on THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's government. Men have had their go and they messed it up! Now it's our turn."

4. "That's insane!" gasps Otto Schopenhauer, author of the popular autobiography 'Misogyny And Me'. "Giving women the vote is a really, really bad idea. Seriously now, they can barely decide what to wear never mind what's best for the country! If only women were more obedient to their husbands we wouldn't have these kind of problems. Throw the lot of them suffra-wotsits in the clink, I say. That'll teach them for causing a fuss."

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#233: I Spy A Diplomatic Crisis [Good old Communism; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Members of your intelligence service have captured a spy gathering information in the civil service. Your interrogators have learned that the man known only as 'Solo' is acting on behalf of the government of Outer Bigtopia, which denies all knowledge and involvement.

The Debate
1. "Shpies! There are shpies everywhere!" says Agent Marcel Marceau , checking the fruit bowl for bugs. "You can't trusht these foreigners! They act all nice and local and then BAM! They're away over the hill with military shecretsh. We should be keeping track of all of them with ankle braceletsh and wiretapsh to be sure they won't betray ush!"

2. "I don't think we need to go quite that far," says Secret Agent Marcel Marceau . "Our security is fine. We did catch him after all. The real question is how much did he tell the Outer Bigtopian government. If we send our own spies to gather intelligence and, in light of recent events, bolster the funding of the intelligence agency, then we can learn for sure the intentions of our enemies."

3. "And where will that get us?" asks Marcel Marceau , one of your older, more bitter spies. "Spying them back won't help us. If we send someone out there and THEY get caught what are we going to do? We should call those Bigtopians out on their scam and hit them were it hurts! Diplomatic sanctions will do for starters; we can throw those smug envoys out on their rear ends! Anyway, it's almost certainly not just Outer Bigtopia up to these kind of shenanigans, we ought to keep all embassies under police surveillance. We risk all sorts of trade sanctions, true, but it pays to be careful."

4. "Do you realise what kind of havoc we would cause on an international level if we confront them about this?" asks Marcel Marceau , an ambassador to Outer Bigtopia over a secure satellite link. "No one need ever know this happened; officially that man doesn't exist. Most nations have some sort of espionage programme; it's nothing to raise a fuss about. We should just quietly execute Mr 'Solo' and move on."

5. "But what if he discovered the plans I've been assembling for the moon cannon project?!" asks Brigadier Marcel Marceau , one of your more insane military officers in a hushed whisper. "It's nothing official, something I've been doing in my spare time... but what if they've got wind of it?! We could all be in mortal danger! We've got to commence construction right now! Our esteemed leader, do I have permission to get Project Lunar Apocalypse underway?"

6. "Moon... cannon? Mortal danger? You're off your rocker," says General Flowers, scowling as he leafs through the budgets folder. "The reason we're being spied on is because we've become so aggressive and militant! It's only natural that other governments are going to check up on us. If we don't want to get spied on then there should be nothing worth looking for. All we need to do is massively reduce military expenditure. If nothing else, it at least puts more money into people's pockets than into the construction of glorified death machines."

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#234: Corruption In The Lobby [The Seniors of Zion; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After the passage of a bill giving billions of @@CURRENCY@@s to "any oil company with two 'x's in its name", there was much discussion over the influence that corporate lobbies have over the government and whether it was getting out of hand - until an all-waves radio and TV broadcast suggested citizens go have a coffee at Starbucks instead.

The Debate
1. "It disgusts me how much this government is eating out of the hands of corporations," says Kasie Wilk, an anti-corporate activist. "A government's first priority is supposed to be its people! THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! Not some faceless company interested in nothing but money! The right to petition is for individual citizens, not for multinational companies that answer to no one."

2. "There's no need to get excited, we've got everyone's best interests at heart," replies Marcel Marceau , a corporate lobbyist. "Yes, individuals have the right to make their opinions known to the government, but so too do groups of individuals. And that's all a corporation is: a group of individuals wanting to contribute. By helping corporations, the government helps the country. Unemployment goes down, the economy goes up, and everyone's favourite products become more readily available. In fact, if corporations were already part of the political process we could do so much more! I propose that companies be allowed to run for office."

3. "Over my dead body they will," says Marcel Marceau , a civil servant. "The problem with lobbying is that it's so easily abused. There are too many opinionated idiots out there prepared to rally around some obnoxious or silly cause. Last week the parliament reviewed a petition from thousands of citizens complaining about birds being too noisy! I mean, really! We'd be better off ignoring lobbyists altogether and trusting in your own sagacity, esteemed leader."

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#235: From Green Pastures To Grey Wastelands [Airstrip thirteen; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
In the quest for high yields and low prices, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's thriving agricultural industry has all but destroyed the fertility of the soils it ploughs, turning arable farmlands into barren deserts. Food prices have risen dramatically and the general population are calling foul. A coalition of concerned citizens, farmers, and major unions have called for the government to act quickly and decisively.

The Debate
1. "These people make me want to scream," says Marcel Marceau , a distinguished eremologist. "For so long, the supermarkets have indoctrinated the belief that we deserved those low prices, as if it was a birthright. But it's not. We've plundered nature for too long and now we're suffering the consequences. The government needs to lay down some strict laws over how we farm so we can do it in a sustainable way. By the time the industry has destroyed our farmlands, those corporations will have moved on elsewhere and we'll be left starving in the streets."

2. "Yeah, right. And while the government is destroying half of the agricultural market, the customers- ah- the people will be paying through the nose for loaves of bread," counters Marcel Marceau , CEO of Corporal Foods Corporation, a multinational farming conglomerate. "Do you honestly think the people will accept such an outrageous solution? Not having to worry about where your next meal's coming from is what makes this such a great country! Forget this environmental nonsense and give us the money as subsidies - then we can buy more land and drive prices down again."

3. "We're all to blame for this mess, ayup," says Mr Rubeus Gubbins, an independent farmer who only sells locally. "But I don't see why we should do anything to help the biggest contributors to this disaster, and that's them blasted corporations with their market projections and their shareholders. Parasites the lot of 'em! They should all be kicked out of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and be forced to give the farmlands back to folk like m'self who'll grow enough to feed locally but not so much that I might as well be sowing salt in the ground."

4. "How are you still afloat?!" asks Marcel Marceau , another farmer. "Don't listen to him. He's from a time when economies only existed as far as you could walk steer a horse carriage for a day. It's a global economy we have now, and sub-standard produce for high prices is not, and should not, be the norm. Helping the environment with regulation will kill the industry stone dead and still leave us with high prices. The government should be promoting and funding scientific research into making the status quo sustainable - not punishing hard-working citizens for wanting to eat more than potatoes and rice."

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#236: Quickie Marriages Under Scrutiny [Plutocycloptika; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The late-night, alcohol-fuelled marriage and subsequent annulment of pop starlet Dipsy Bubbleyum has been thoroughly condemned by tabloid presses across the country. There is now a growing call for some restraints to be put on THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's liberal marriage laws.

The Debate
1. "This could all be solved quite easily," says Marcel Marceau , a tee-totaler. "With a little common sense. These marriages happen because the bride and groom are inebriated, right? So obviously we should make applicants pass a sobriety test before they can be issued a marriage licence. If you're too drunk to drive, you're too drunk to get hitched."

2. "I think everyone's being very unfair and mean!" says self-described party girl, Bertina Chaswick, writing in to Alright! Magazine. "I mean, like, Dipsy was just havin' fun, yeah? So she made a mistake, but we all do when we've had a few! If someone wants an annulment they should be able to get it for any reason. Divorces are long, messy and SO yesterday!"

3. "Marriage is the sacred and immortal union of two souls," declares conservative commentator, Cornelius Prodnose. "It is the ultimate gesture of love! To get married out of sheer whimsy and then change your mind later... it's obscene! People need to face up to the consequences they bring on themselves! Once you're married, that's it. No annulments, no divorces. Just eternal love and decency."

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#237: Tourists On Death Row [The New Inquisitors; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A group of holidaymakers from THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have been arrested while visiting the scenic, yet corrupt and totalitarian, nation of Maxtopia on charges of drug trafficking - an offence which carries the maximum sentence of the death penalty. The story has provoked outrage from citizens, many believing the government should intervene to bring the tourists back home.

The Debate
1. "Everyone knows what barbarians those Maxtopians are!" says Marcel Marceau , parent to one of the arrestees. "They've not even allowed my son and his friends access to lawyers! That government is as corrupt as they are cruel, my boy would never have anything to do with drugs! You need to do something to save them, I'm begging you! I'm sure the Maxtopian officials will back down if you threaten trade sanctions or something. Right?"

2. "You've got to see it from the other side," argues Marcel Marceau , a customs official. "While it's unfortunate that the sentence is so stiff, they really shouldn't have been smuggling drugs. I'm sure we wouldn't be happy if Maxtopians came over here with banned goods. I just can't sympathise: they were greedy, they broke the law, they got caught. What makes them so special that they should be bailed out? At the taxpayers' expense I might add. Let them be - it'll show we respect the judicial rights of other countries."

3. "I agree," chimes in Marcel Marceau , an anti-drug campaigner, waving a banner which reads 'Don't Be a Fool, Drugs Aren't Cool'. "Did you ever stop to think that our foreign neighbours might have the right idea? A zero-tolerance attitude to the drugs issue is what this country needs! Death to the dealers!"

4. "You people are so quick to lay the finger of blame," says Marcel Marceau , an ambassador at THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's embassy in Maxtopia. "My motto has always been 'If you want something, give something away'. It is the government's duty to protect its citizens from harm! We don't want to cause too much international friction by making a mockery of their laws so we've got to settle things more diplomatically: they scratch our backs now and we'll scratch theirs later."

5. "That's what they want! Leverage!" hollers Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Defence, storming into your office. "Advances in our markets, political favours - they'll do anything to undermine us! They've always hated us, those rats! If you ask me, this brouhaha isn't about drugs - it's a spit in our eye, that's what it is! What kind of people execute kids for having a few ounces on them? We ought to give them a good bombing, then they'll know how a proper country behaves!"

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#239: We Who Are About To Die Would Rather Go Home [The Lost Romans; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
An old supporter of yours has recently passed on, leaving a quite sizeable plot of land to you in his will - but only under a rather unusual condition: that the site be developed into a colosseum for hosting gladiatorial fights and other bloody spectacles.

The Debate
1. "Yes, yes!" cries Marcel Marceau , waving a wooden sword enthusiastically. "You've gotta do this, man! Gladiator fights are like the ultimate in spectator sports! And it doesn't just have to be people! We could pit man against @@ANIMAL@@! Blade against claw! Nothing to their names but their wits and their stamina! You'd have to pay people a lot to risk their lives doing this but I bet you'd earn a whole lot more from merchandise and wagers and stuff!"

2. "That's just sick," says Marcel Marceau , president of the Kill Violence Now Association. "I don't believe you'd find anyone willing to watch actual people tearing each other apart. It's savage and horrible! It's even worse than boxing! Violent sports should be outlawed for the sake of this country's moral integrity. I'm sorry, I've got to go - I'm ashamed you're even considering this."

3. "Actually, we could use this to our advantage," whispers Chief of Police, Marcel Marceau . "Why not just force convicted criminals to fight for the amusement of the public? They'll be paying for their crimes, contributing to society, and totally freeing us of having to build jails to throw their useless hides in!"

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#240: Plea Bargains: Tipping The Scales Of Justice? [Jacobaea; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
The high-profile case of Damon 'The Butcher of @@CAPITAL@@' White, a serial murderer and rapist, has been the subject of outrage and derision by THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's news providers. In exchange for a guilty verdict, no trial by jury, and testimony in another trial, White pled guilty to third-degree manslaughter, reducing his sentence to a paltry three months' imprisonment. The justness of plea bargaining is now being called into question.

The Debate
1. "Plea bargains degrade the fairness of our justice system," argues Marcel Marceau , a recently graduated lawyer. "Prosecutors are only interested in getting their guilty verdict and plea bargaining is the easiest way to get it! The recent trial of that psychopath mass-murderer is a disgrace! If it had gone before a jury he'd be behind bars by now! He won't though, because the prosecutors and police are too lazy to do their jobs properly. Putting that man back on the streets is not justice. Plea bargaining must be banned."

2. "What that moral elitist is neglecting to tell you," sneers Marcel Marceau , a prosecutor. "Is that plea bargaining has made our judicial system MORE effective, not less! There needs to be give and take so we can get to the truth and that's what plea bargains allow us. We were able to catch the worst criminal kingpin THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has ever seen because of Mr White's testimony. Also, do you realise how clogged up and expensive the court system would be if every trial went before jury? Very, my friend. Very. Plea bargaining must be allowed to continue."

3. "You know, we wouldn't have to worry about any of this nonsense and controversy if we just stopped giving our criminals so many rights," sighs Marcel Marceau , your fifth cousin, five times removed. "Double jeopardy, cruel and unusual punishment, the writ of habeas corpus... there are just so many inconvenient clauses in our constitution that are getting in the way of keeping our streets clean of crooks. I say we abolish the right to a fair trial, and just lock people up if the judge thinks they've done something wrong. I mean, they're pretty smart guys aren't they?"

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#241: A Capital City For THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [Sirocco]

The Issue
As THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD continues to grow, so too does its government. The number of politicians needed to administrate and legislate the country is rapidly surpassing the Houses of Parliament's capacity with ministers often requiring periscopes to see the House Speaker. Some are suggesting a new building be built in another city - a city which would then be designated as the capital city of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

The Debate
1. "I would like to make a humble recommendation for my own proud jurisdiction," says Marcel Marceau , mayor of one of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's major cities. "It would be an honour for our city to be host to the seat of power! If it will seal the deal, you can change the name if you like..."

2. "Hah! Capital city indeed!" shouts Marcel Marceau , a fervent anarchist, spilling leaflets all over the floor. "What's wrong with being free as the wind? Do you really think one city could possibly represent a whole country? Its people? I've had enough of the man trying to screw us down all the time! Say NO to a national capital!"

3. "I can accept and even approve of having a capital city," says Marcel Marceau , a military strategist. "But we'd be putting all our eggs in one basket if we choose somewhere too vulnerable! Believe me, capitals always get the brunt of the enemy attack because of their political and economic importance. We should put aside a few billion @@CURRENCY@@s and build our capital city underground. They'll never bomb us there!"

4. "I've got an idea," says theme park tycoon, Lindsay Tew. "My company will happily sponsor the new establishment and cover all costs - as long as it's made to our specifications. We've already got plans drawn up to put a roller coaster straight through the House of Commons! A cafe, some kiosks for ice cream... maybe even a water slide or two in the lobby! It'll be one part legislative seat of government, one part family-fun theme park! Tourists will flock from around the globe!"

5. "What's wrong with the old building?" asks Marcel Marceau , a noted disestablishmentarian. "We don't need some kind of fancy capital city just to make the bigwig ministers feel important! If there's no room, then fire politicians until there IS room. Have you never heard of doing more with less?"

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#242: Follow The Leader [Sirocco]

The Issue
A lowly bureaucrat riffling through some old paperwork has happened across a rather alarming and disturbing fact: the documentation affirming yourself as THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's head of state was filled out improperly and now, at least for the moment, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has no official leader!

The Debate
1. "There is no need to panic," says Marcel Marceau , a senior archivist. "I've prepared a new document. All you need to do is sign across the dotted line and you will be our esteemed leader once again. Here! I've even brought a pen."

2. "Give me that!" interrupts your brother, incorrigible as always. "I've got an idea, bear with me for a moment... a few penstrokes here... a few clauses there... finished. Now you can set yourself up as Supreme Evil Overlord For Life! If you don't have complete control then where's the fun? That's what I say. I've taken the liberty of cutting some of the more boring departments, we only really need the police and military in my opinion. Oh! You get a free space hopper too."

3. "Hold on! Don't sign it yet! Have you ever heard the saying 'two heads are better than one'?" asks Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Complicating Things. "Well, what if we had SEVERAL? I propose we gather the most senior ministers of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to act together as a collective head of state! That's a little more democratic than one person bossing everyone else around. Besides, even if you're not THE leader, your opinions are still deeply respected so it shouldn't be too much of a step down right?"

4. "As if ONE leader isn't oppressive enough!" says Marcel Marceau , a little known representative from one of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's more obscure counties. "Suddenly we need even more? This is a great opportunity for THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD to lose elitist concepts like 'leaders'. My ma taught me that all men are born equal and yet even in a modern country like this one person can be named Lord and King of everything. One person should not have that much power! Government policy should be the equal responsibility of all THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's elected politicians."

5. "If we did that, even some crackpot quango would have the same power as the Minister of Defence," argues Marcel Marceau , who happens to be the Minister of Defence. "That's insane. We need strong leadership' to get things accomplished! Have you ever been in a meeting where everyone's opinion is, ugh, 'equal'? They go on for HOURS. HOURS! Believe me, trying to run a government that way will be a massive, fruitless headache. The leader's word is law, and if people don't get that then maybe a little show of strength courtesy of the military wouldn't go amiss."

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#244: Foreign Invasion Force Takes On Small Farming Community [Altlands; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Taking advantage of your limited military capacity, the remote nation of Wezeltonia has invaded one of your distant overseas territories, the @@ANIMAL@@ Isles. They claim sovereignty over the islands, despite THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's colonialists having lived there for generations. An emergency meeting has been convened to discuss the matter.

The Debate
1. "We should never have allowed our military to become this pathetic," sighs Marcel Marceau , your only Military Advisor. "It's an open invitation for invasions. If we're going to protect our shores against this enemy we need a show of strength - gather what resources we have and send them to protect the @@ANIMAL@@ Isles. Time is of the essence!"

2. "I was never trained for this!" wails Private Marcel Marceau , knock-kneed and rosy-cheeked. "If we go to full scale war with Wezeltonia we're sure to lose, I just know it! Couldn't we try, uh, 'dip-low-mah-tic relations'? A little talk over tea and biscuits goes a long way! Then no one will need to go to w-w-war. Ahem. War."

3. "Let's not let national pride blind us to the facts," argues Marcel Marceau , an amateur historian. "I mean, those islands are practically next door to Wezeltonia, it's not unreasonable to assume they might want to claim them. Where's the benefit in wasting billions of @@CURRENCY@@s on protecting a handful of colonials anyway? There's nothing there but grass, mud, and @@ANIMAL@@ farms."

4. "Those 'colonials' are proud, legal citizens of the @@TYPE@@ of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, moron," says Marcel Marceau , fully bedecked in a suit fashioned after the national flag. "And they deserve to be protected! A slight against one of us is a slight against all of us! We've gotta show those Wezeltonians we mean business! If you take over the factories, institute an emergency draft, and get as many battleships and fighter jets out there as possible then we might stand a chance! No expense is too costly for the lives of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's sons and daughters!"

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#245: Clash Of Cultures [Drunk Cowboy Junkies; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Conservative commentators have remarked that many foreign immigrants in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD are failing to take part in, or even acknowledge, the country's rich and varied culture, traditions, and social mores. This has caused some interethnic strife, and reports of violence in minority-dominated neighbourhoods have been increasing every day.

The Debate
1. "It's disrespectful," says Marcel Marceau , serving traditional @@ANIMAL@@-shaped cookies on a tray. "These people talk funny, dress funny, pray to bizarre gods, and cook their smelly food. Food I've never seen on any LOCAL menu. Some of them don't even speak our language very well! If at all! If immigrants want the privilege of living in this country then they should be made to adopt our own traditions! Otherwise our culture will slowly but surely disappear! If they refuse... well, then they can go back to their own country since they love it so much."

2. "I have a right to lead my life the way I want," says Marcel Marceau , an immigrant, with the help of a translator. "I will not forsake my heritage for your people and I will not dirty my tongue with your heathen language. And if you have a problem with that then tell me this: what have I done wrong? I pay my taxes, I break no laws- and yet you think I should change? Those who don't wish to 'integrate' shouldn't have to."

3. "Oh, there's no need to be like that!" says Marcel Marceau , president of the Multiculturalism Society in a cheery tone. "THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD should be a more accepting country, open to new experiences! Embrace difference, people, don't reject it! These folk aren't hurting us or our traditions, they are showing us different ways of life and making us wiser and richer beings in the process! It's our responsibility to take the first step towards reparations and remove any ethnic bias from the names of our public holidays - how does Winter Day sound to you? I like it."

4. "We need to stop thinking of 'them' as a problem that needs to be fixed," insists Marcel Marceau , an undergraduate in anthropology. "Integration in society is a two-way street, @@LEADER@@. We can't shun people for not following @@FAITH@@ or drinking their tea with the wrong hand. That's just silly! No, if we want immigrants to pick up our ways then we should be more willing to learn about theirs! Mandatory education courses should encourage citizens to learn more about other cultures in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD."

5. "That's stupid," says Marcel Marceau , flatly. "I'm not going to 'bond' with immigrants by learning about their beliefs! For multiculturalism to actually function, everyone needs to actually meet these people and deal with them on a day-to-day basis. Then maybe they'll realise that yeah, they're people too. The only way to do this is to put an end to segregated neighbourhoods - even if it means forcing families to move elsewhere."

6. "Everyone shut up, I have the perfect solution," says Marcel Marceau , shouting into a megaphone. "How about we kick these ungrateful foreigners out of the nation and never let them come back?! We've all heard what those ethnics are like, I wouldn't be surprised if they ate their own young! Immigration shouldn't be allowed! I won't abide it!"

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#246: THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD To Hold The Olympic Torch? [Yenen; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Enthusiastic sports fans have been petitioning the government all week to apply for the much-coveted honour of hosting the next Regional Olympics. While most citizens are excited at the prospect of a @@REGION@@-wide competition in their own country, some have expressed reservations about the enormous expense hosting would incur.

The Debate
1. "WAHAAAAY!" screams Marcel Marceau , captain of @@CAPITAL@@'s premier division ballroom dancing team. "Finally, a chance to show the world exactly how great I am! Everybody's always complaining that THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD never does well in sports and you know why? It's because we're never in front of the home crowd, that's why! We're going to need a great big stadium! No! TWO stadiums! WHOOP! OL-YM-PICS! OL-YM-PICS!"

2. "Oh great," mutters Marcel Marceau , spokesperson for the Angry Taxpayer Society. "That's all we need, more things to pour money into for no obvious reason. Surely it would be easier to just let another country host the Olympics and keep the cash? Then maybe it could go to something useful, like, I don't know... my wallet?"

3. "We'd be missing an amazing opportunity if we pass this up," says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Sports. "But we've got to be in it to win! Simply building new stadia won't be enough, we need to be funding new sports centres and hiring the best coaches for our entrants! You could put more money into public facilities too, like gyms or something. Then no one can accuse you of wasting everyone's tax @@CURRENCY@@s, ha ha. Ha."

4. "There's nothing like a feat of strength to please the dull-witted masses, is there?" sighs Marcel Marceau , flipping through 'One Hundred Gambits for Advanced Go Players'. "It's so boring. Why can't more intellectual pursuits be given the spotlight, like chess or debating matches? Ban organised sports and make our dreams come true! I think you'll find it comes at a far lower price than the populist Olympics ever will."

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#248: The Sky Is Falling [Freedomstaki; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A particularly bad spate of bombings, hijackings and snake attacks aboard airline flights has crippled the air travel industry in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. The government has convened to discuss possible ways of improving airport security.

The Debate
1. "It's a no-brainer," says Marcel Marceau , frisking you as you enter the meeting. "Put police officers on every flight, armed and ready to deal with those blasted sky pirates! It's deterrence and protection wrapped up in one. If anyone so much as says the word 'bomb' they'd better watch out!"

2. "You want to put people with GUNS on aeroplanes?!" asks Marcel Marceau , a security guard at Marcel Marceau International Airport. "And at the taxpayers' expense to boot? For the love of Violet, keep the police out of this! Airport security should remain in private hands! Think realistically for a moment: government priorities change all the time but companies are in it for profit. Bombings are BAD for business! We don't LET them happen! So just... butt out will you? I'm not losing my job to a flatfoot!"

3. "We don't need no copper protectin' us! We can look after our own hides!" laughs Marcel Marceau , president of the @@CAPITAL@@ Rifle and Revolver Association. "Air flight passengers should be allowed to carry concealed weapons. If one of them terrorists thinks he's gonna walk all over THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD like he owns the place then he's got another thing coming, ha!"

4. "I only wanted to tour @@REGION@@ for a few w-weeks," wails Marcel Marceau , recovering from a particularly vigorous strip search. "I have a right not to be probed and prodded at the whim of some wand-waving monkey with a high school education! For a whole HOUR I might add! They treat us like cattle! In the name of DECENCY, I request, nay DEMAND an end to the disgrace that is airport security! I mean, really, it's like they don't trust me or something!"

5. "Let's just ban all planes!" shouts Marcel Marceau , prodding you angrily in the chest. "Bombings and terrorist attacks aren't the only problems these things cause! The aeroplane is one of the worst pollutants mankind has ever created! They're loud, they're ugly, and they burn fuel like there's no tomorrow! There are more environment-friendly ways to travel than by plane even if they are slower! Much slower. But cleaner!"

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#249: Particle Accelerator Sparks High Energy Debate [Milostein; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Some of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's most distinguished physicists have approached you asking for a government grant funding for the Really Big Hadron Collider: the world's largest - and most expensive - particle accelerator.

The Debate
1. "There's only so much you can do with limited equipment and computer simulations," explains Higgs Boughson, professor of Engineering at @@CAPITAL@@ University. "There are things out there just waiting to be discovered. A few billion @@CURRENCY@@s to find them and the fruits of this research will benefit mankind for generations. Kinda. Ish. It'll shut Steven up about his ridiculous electron phasing hypothesis anyway."

2. "Did you know that this experiment has a one in ten million chance of creating a microscopic black hole that will gobble up the whole planet in an apocalyptic chain reaction?" asks Marcel Marceau , sporting a magnificent tin foil bicorne. "I read it on the internet so it must be true! Scientists may CLAIM it's safe, but they can't even design a soda that doesn't go flat when you shake it! They have NO RIGHT to gamble with our lives. You've got to end this mad research at once! If God had wanted us to study atoms he wouldn't have made them so small!"

3. "You know what also has a one in ten million chance?" asks blue collar worker Marcel Marceau . "This project actually discovering something useful! Why should we, the suffering taxpayers, fork over all that money so they can discover... what? You can't eat subatomic particles, you know. I'm sure they'll learn lots of interesting things about protons and quarks but on the other hand... I don't give a flying @@ANIMAL@@. Scientists that aren't studying something practical and for the good of the common man shouldn't be given government funding."

Last edited by Ballotonia on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:38 am, edited 17 times in total.

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Nationstates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

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Re: NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Andacantra » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:53 am

#250: Recession, Depression, And Deficit [The Realist Polities; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD faces one of its most serious financial crises in history. @@CAPITAL@@'s stock market has been steadily falling for months, the markets are now divesting and a general sell out spree is feared by analysts.

The Debate
1. "We've got to act decisively, and quickly," says Marcel Marceau , a columnist for the Financial Times. "Only a rush of public investment can save us from a depression. We need dams, roads, and absurdly large ships to inject new capital into the economy and put a bit of wind in the private sector's sails."

2. "To spend government money saving unprofitable companies is ludicrous and in denial of the facts," objects Marcel Marceau , CFO of Chairs 'n' Stuff PLC. "They screwed up! They don't deserve to survive! What we need is a new round of tax breaks for the most effective enterprises, like good old Chairs 'n' Stuff - if you ever need your upholstery repaired, let us know won't you? Anyway, tax breaks will attract new investors and businesses. Trust me, large-scale investment in the middle of a recession is madness. We need to stop the deficit, not increase it."

3. "Yes, let's just ignore the fact that thousands of people would lose their jobs while the remaining companies glorify in their newfound monopolies," snipes Marcel Marceau , owner of an independent business. "The stock market's failing because it's abused and manipulated by greedy investors only out to make an easy profit. Who cares if you're lying and cheating to get it, right? Hmph! The financial market of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's been riddled with insider trading and who knows what else for years! if the government doesn't put an end to it now then the economy will never bounce back."

4. "It's not the corporations who are to blame! It's YOU," declares trade unionist Marcel Marceau , pointing at you dramatically. "It's all of us. We've been indulging in a self-destructive economic system for too long, always taking and never giving back. Capitalism has failed. What we must do as concerned citizens is nationalise the entire economic infrastructure and control the inflation by giving the government authority to set commodity prices."

5. "Deregulation isn't the problem - quite the opposite," suggests Marcel Marceau , representative of a consortium of banks and major corporations. "Government checks and balances and competition laws have been the grasping stranglehold on the economy's throat for far too long. Do you really think corporations would allow the economy to suffer like this if it had full control? No, it would not. It is bad for business and what's bad for business needs to be removed. If you want this nation to survive, the market must be freed from these shackles."

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#251: The Trouble With Hobos [Responsible; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After several complaints of the tripping hazards presented by sleeping bags on the doorsteps of public buildings, the citizens of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have brought the problem of homelessness to your attention.

The Debate
1. "To be honest, I'd just like a place to stay," says a scruffy man who's been living under your desk. "Somewhere I don't have some landlord breathing down my neck all the time. If the government could see fit to build some kind of free hostel where people could go if they've fallen on hard times, well, that'd be just great."

2. "You can't possibly think that's a good permanent solution!" cries Marcel Marceau , co-ordinator of the local soup kitchen. "What these people need is help to get their lives back on track. Yes, they have the right to a place to live, but they also need an honest job to pay for it. They need to be encouraged to work to become integrated into society again! Force our major businesses to create some basic jobs for these poor souls, and soon they will become pillars of the community!"

3. "And who do you suppose pays for all this?" snaps Marcel Marceau , one of your advisors. "Your loyal taxpayers, that's who! People who actually work for the things they have! And let's face it: these vagrants bring it on themselves - frittering their money away on rubbish and rollicking in unemployment while the rest of the world slaves away to make ends meet. They're worthless scum and they gave up their 'rights' a long time ago. I say we leave them to their misery until they become a nuisance, then have them dealt with like any other criminal."

4. "As far as I can see, homeless people are already a nuisance," says Marcel Marceau , a proud citizen. "They're mostly thieves and drug addicts, they make the streets a dangerous place for our children, they make honest people feel guilty for turfing them off their doorsteps and, frankly, they smell bad. They're vermin, plain and simple, and as such I suggest they be destroyed before the infestation gets even more out of hand."

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#252: Great Balls Of Fire! [Unibot; ed:Responsible]

The Issue
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is abuzz with news of a huge meteorite - dubbed 'Big Max' by the media - which smashed into a large town on the outskirts of @@CAPITAL@@ yesterday, killing thousands and leaving behind nothing but a smouldering crater.

The Debate
1. "We can't let a little old boulder get the best of us!" bellows Marcel Marceau , a burly military official. "We have to fight back! Show 'em what we're made of! With a little funding, we could develop some terrific new weapons for the next bit of flying rock that dares to threaten us! Blow it to smithereens! If ever there was a time to prepare for space warfare, it is now!"

2. "That's all well and good," interjects Professor Marcel Marceau , leading scientist at the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Meteorological Office. "Except that the chances of a fall of this magnitude occurring twice in the same area are miniscule at worst. I propose you direct your funding to the real issue here - rebuilding the homes and properties that have been lost, and tending to the injured and traumatised. As soon as we've removed what's left of Big Max for studying, you can make a start."

3. "Remove the greatest phenomenon THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has ever seen?!" cries Marcel Marceau , the famous museum tycoon. "Surely you can envisage the profit that could be had here? We should be opening the site for tourists! Think of the possibilities - guided tours, gift shops, theme parks! You don't want to build on top of all that potential, do you? Besides, the old residents are all dead now anyway! I'm sure this is what they would have wanted."

4. "All of these ideas are either costly, ridiculous or both!" snorts your Spiritual Advisor, leaning over your desk. "Your people are frightened and vulnerable right now. They don't want you to take action; they want you to tell them it'll all be okay. We could use this! Tell them Big Max was a warning from the Heavens! Strike the fear of the Mighty One into their hearts and they'll do whatever you tell them!"

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#253: How Much Democracy Is Too Much? [Kandarin; ed:Kandarin]

The Issue
Government bureaucrats have called for an end to the mandatory referenda of new laws, citing the difficulty of processing so many votes on a regular basis.

The Debate
1. "The madness has gone on for long enough," says Voting Registry Clerk Marcel Marceau , visibly suffering from sleep deprivation. "We've been working around the clock processing all these referendums! Every day we receive millions of votes for the most inconsequential of by-laws! They all have to be counted, recounted, checked for errors, and it's driving me up the wall! You need to leave the responsibility of voting to Parliament. After all, representing the people is what they get paid for."

2. "Don't stop the referendums! We need more democracy, not less!" cries Marcel Marceau , a prominent voting rights advocate. "Giving the law back to the people was a good first step, but where’s the democracy in the courts? Court verdicts are still forced down the people's throats by mean, spiteful judges with no one to answer to! It's time to abolish the judicial system once and for all and give justice back to the people!"

3. "Excuse us, but aren't you missing the point?" asks the unidentified spokesman of some citizens gathered around your office door. "We, the people of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, know what is in our best interests. We can make our OWN decisions. Why don’t you leave this matter to us? We'll hold a referendum to decide what needs to be done, should only be a week or two. We'll get back to you once we’re finished."

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#254: Freedom Comes At A Price [Responsible; ed:Responsible]

The Issue
A recent boom in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's slave trade has uncovered the work of slave liberation group, Friends of Spartacus, who are purchasing slaves by the hundred in order to set them free. As a result of this huge increase in demand, slavers have had to resort to raiding the poorer regions of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD for more 'stock'.

The Debate
1. "This has gone too far!" yells Patrick Griswold, a supermarket cashier and father of seven. "Slave liberation indeed! Thanks to the efforts of the so-called 'Friends' of Spartacus, decent, hardworking people are being dragged kicking and screaming from their homes to be used for profit against their will! The government has to do something about these ignorant activists before they cause any more harm!"

2. "I can't believe what I'm hearing!" cries Friends of Spartacus founder, Marcel Marceau . "I think we all know the real issue here is that the despicable trade of human beings is actually legal in this country! It's unethical, barbaric, and just plain wrong. Are we not above this kind of thing? I propose we abolish the slave trade altogether!"

3. "Abolish the what, now?" asks Marcel Marceau , a wealthy slaveholder. "Have you any idea how important our sla- er… merchandise, is to THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD’s economy? Without all this free labour, dozens of major industries would fall apart, and fine upstanding tradesmen such as myself would be sent straight to the poorhouse! If the government would see fit to invest in this highly lucrative business, we could import our product from abroad to meet demands instead of trading in the dregs of our own populace. Problem solved!"

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#255: Welfare Programs Not Faring Well [Glen-Rhodes; ed:Glen-Rhodes]

The Issue
A recent lull in legislation has sparked the fires of some bored politicians. After reviewing the back-log of constituent complaints, they've come to your desk demanding welfare reform.

The Debate
1. "The process ought to be made easier," says Inga Matthews, picking the grime out of her dirty fingernails. "It's so difficult convincing welfare administrators that I am actually a poor, helpless vagrant on the brink of homelessness! When you finally do, you get tangled up in all the red tape, and you're lucky to see a dime. The government should just trust my word and fork over the @@CURRENCY@@s I need to survive."

2. "The current system is not very efficient, I'll admit," says Marcel Marceau , a local welfare administrator and esteemed bureaucrat. "But we can't trust these bums to manage their welfare aid. How are we supposed to help them help themselves if they waste their benefits on things like trashy clothes and cheap alcohol? We need more authority over how the aid is spent, it's the only way we can be assured that it is used responsibly."

3. "Get the free-loaders off the government teat!" shouts conservative activist, Marcel Marceau . "The free-market system says that those who work hard will succeed. If these so-called 'needy people' would roll their sleeves up, lift a finger, and earn an honest living, we wouldn't be bankrupting our country helping them! The only sensible solution is to abolish all welfare programs, and let the natural, capitalist process take place."

4. "He has a point," says popular political pundit Marcel Marceau . "There are a lot of people in the system, and some of them don't really need to be there. The government should be finding these people jobs, so that our welfare system can survive and meet the needs of the truly impoverished. Of course, we're going to have to spend a few @@CURRENCY@@s to achieve this goal. But, what's a little tax hike if it means saving our dying welfare programs and the people who depend on them?"

5. "Capitalism is the very reason why we need welfare in the first place. Laissez-faire policies would only make the problem worse," argues political activist Marcel Marceau . "If the government would ensure that all employers pay their employees the amount they need to live – no more, no less – then the problem of providing for the poor would disappear."

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#256: Easter Egg: Suburbs Are Out Of This World [Scolopendra; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
High crime rates have made the inner cities of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's largest conurbations increasingly dangerous and undesirable places to live. The mass exodus of the middle class from city centers has escalated to the extent that the suburbs and exurbs of major cities are beginning to collide, leaving no land for expansion. In response, a group of well-to-do soccer moms are petitioning the government for funds to establish white-collar living space... on the Moon.

The Debate
1. "Crime is perpetually increasing," says Chastity Elizabeth Prescott as she adjusts the sweater tied like a cape over her shoulders. "Just yesterday my little John Alexander Stuart's after-school Bigtopianese tutor was attacked by a gang of hoodlums! Our children deserve safe housing and exactly manicured lawns no greater than two inches in grass blade height! With a sufficient colonization effort, we can commute from communities on the Moon to the industries in our big cities. You must support this--think of the children!"

2. "Rockets?!" shrieks noted bleeding heart Sunflower Earthchild Starbeam, pulling her knit cap more closely over her ears. "Think of the pollution, and the danger! What if there's an accident? This cockamamie scheme must clearly be banned! And you thought cars were bad- wait! Cars ARE bad!"

3. "Everyone knows urban blight is caused by the flight of capital to the suburbs and exurbs," notes the prominent left-wing economist Engelbert Pinquo. "Running away to the Moon will solve nothing. Capital, and those who have it, must be brought back to the inner city... by force if need be."

4. "Stone the crows! We're trapped between hippies, communists and soccer moms," grumbles Vice Admiral Marcel Marceau . "We need breathing room, and everyone knows there ain't no air on the Moon! So let's get it the old-fashioned way - by invading our neighbors! @@REGION@@ will fall to the might of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!"

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#258: What's In A Name? [Zombitosis; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
A man by the name of &%*\@# Smith hit the headlines yesterday when he had his first name legally changed to 'John', citing the ridicule and stress he suffered because of his given name. Mr Smith publicly commented afterwards that there should be more restrictions on what parents can name their children.

The Debate
1. "People do so love to be different," says Insert Name Here, with a heavy sigh. "I don't know what my folks were thinking when they named me. Probably about how 'novel' and 'with it' they were being, but I didn't get a say in it did I? Growing up in my neighbourhood with the first name 'Insert' wasn't fun at all I can tell you! The government should set up a registry of recognised names that are clean, sensible, and non-teasable. Kids deserve better."

2. "It's none of the government's business what I name my daughter," says Follicle Rainbow Gooseknob, cradling [expletive deleted] in her arms. "Are you going to tell us what to think next? Where to go? Who to love? I don't want some grey-faced bureaucrat deciding what name is appropriate for my child! What kind of country hates personal freedom so much you can't even choose your own name?"

3. "Names? Names are so inefficient!" Says Five-Oh-Three McGoohan, counting beads. "Who can honestly tell one Marcel Marceau from another? That name's so popular now, I met three people at the mall with it just last week! Face it! Names are old-hat! Everyone ought to go by a government-allocated ID number instead, much more practical. Who could make fun of a child named Six-Eight-Four?"

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#
#260: Taxpayers On Strike! [Makinsanity; ed:Kandarin]

The Issue
The latest budget reports have marked a steady decline in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's monthly income. A study initiated by your treasurers has revealed that many of your nation's citizens are not paying their taxes.

The Debate
1. " Right we're not!" exclaims Marcel Marceau , one of many citizens protesting in front of your office. "Your oppressively high taxes are picking our pockets and robbing us of our livelihood. No more, we say! The government may call us tax cheats, but that's just because it's afraid to call us the PATRIOTS that we are! Cut the tax rate, and we'll think about paying again."

2. "THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD can't survive when people don't pay their taxes!" retorts Marcel Marceau , the head of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Revenue Bureau. "Citizens may feel that they need to keep all of their @@CURRENCY@@s, but the government needs it too! Without taxation, how can we build roads, schools and hospitals? How can we protect the people from themselves? We need to give the police broad powers to lay down the law on these tax-evading scum until they pay up."

3. "Scum is such a harsh word. Everyone has something worthwhile to contribute, as my mother always said." says Marcel Marceau , controversial social theorist and fountain of homespun folk wisdom. "Even if they won't pay their taxes, folks ought to have other ways to pay back into society. They could spend some time with the civil service or military reserve, for example. And goodness knows, blood and organ donation rates aren't as high as they could be. A pint of blood or a good kidney ought to pay a tax bill right proper."

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#261: Plastic, Plastic Everywhere [Nation of Quebec; ed:Kandarin]

The Issue
An unusual alliance of environmental activists and garbagemen have brought to your attention the increasing glut of plastic bags that have been found littering the streets of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's cities.

The Debate
1. "These bags are everywhere!" shouts angry garbageman Marcel Marceau . "They're in our trees, in our rivers, in our streets, and in our sewer system! Do you know how much extra work we have to do to clean up after slobs who are too lazy to put their trash in a can? Ban these bags completely and fine those stores who refuse to comply! Sure, people may have to remember to bring their own bags, but think about the back-breaking labor my fellow garbagemen will avoid! And the environment, of course."

2. "If you can't get rid of the bags, you must change the bags!" exclaims Marcel Marceau , an environmentalist spokesperson wearing a lab coat and a huge grin. "Scientists have developed plastics that break down over time, so it doesn't matter where they're dumped. Require that only biodegradable plastic bags can be sold in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, and the problem will go away."

3. "You're not really going to listen to this nonsense, are you?" says Marcel Marceau , CEO of PlastiCorp Industries. "Do you know how much this will hurt the plastic industry? How many people I will need to lay off? How many @@CURRENCY@@s I - I mean, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD - will lose? Our economy needs less environmental regulation, not more! Just say no to limits on our plastic bags, and while you're at it loosen up environmental laws for corporations in general. We can't afford to let hippie ideas get in the way of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's bottom line."

4. "Why should consumers have to worry about bags at all?" asks Marcel Marceau , owner of an online grocery store. "E-commerce is the way of the future. We need to take the next step and put the entire retail industry online. Think about it! No more bags, no more waiting in line, no more wasted time going to the store for food when your food can come to you. Sure, it'll cause some unemployment in the short run, but there'll be plenty of jobs at our warehouses. Everyone who matters should have an internet connection by now and it's high time we embraced the future."

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#262: Sticks And Stones [Zwangzug; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Nicholas Condor, a prominent Bigtopian activist and soapbox orator, caused quite a stir last week when he publicly called for the complete extermination of the people of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, accusing fellow citizens of being 'sub-human', 'immoral', and 'really ugly too'. Citizens Against Intolerance, a pressure group aiming to reduce social inequality, has demanded that the government put more resources into combating hate speech. Coincidentally, another society, also called Citizens Against Intolerance, has stood up for Mr Condor, claiming that inhibiting his speeches would be a violation of his right to free speech.

The Debate
1. "I can't believe we're even debating this," says Marcel Marceau , who was present at the infamous speech. "Doesn't it worry you that a man, who would obviously be happier if we all died horrible, painful deaths, is allowed to walk around in public? Let him continue and he'll cause a riot! Free speech is supposed to protect people! But talking about genocide and killing, well... that doesn't help anyone. It breaks society. It drives us apart. Hate speech is a very serious crime, @@LEADER@@. You can't just ignore it."

2. "Words by themselves can't hurt anyone," counters Marcel Marceau , a free speech advocate. "We don't need to be 'protected' from hearing different opinions for goodness' sake! Oh, what a boring place the world would be if we all had the same thoughts! You can't punish people for disagreeing with you! That's crazy! I hate my mother-in-law, but if I told her so and she then tried to stab me with a kitchen knife then the problem is obviously hers - not mine."

3. "I agree to an extent," ventures Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Domestic Security. "But insulting one person is not the same as insulting an entire social grouping. The wrong word in the wrong place and you WILL have violence on the streets: that's the reality we live in, whether you like it or not. If we want to make any real difference then we need to nudge cultural values in the right direction with government awareness programmes and the like. Educate the masses! Laying down a reactionary law will just fuel resentment in the long run."

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#263: Wind Farms Blowing Up A Storm [Alathaea; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
Wind farms have been set up across the country, generating enormous amounts of renewable energy for the citizens of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. However, there are some who feel that they cause more problems than they solve.

The Debate
1. "Hideous eyesores!" roars Marcel Marceau , founder of the 'Not Within Eyesight Of My Backyard!' pressure group. "All I wanted when I retired was a little cottage in the country; somewhere to pursue my hobby in watercolours - but no, the hippies just had to spoil it for everyone didn't they?! This place was beautiful! Green fields and perfect blue skies! Not anymore, though! These unnatural monstrosities are ruining my view! They should be taken down and scrapped!"

2. "Oh, cry me a river," grumbles Marcel Marceau , senior maintenance engineer of the local wind farm. "Just one of these wind turbines can power over a thousand homes each year and with only a minute fraction of the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels! These people are literally in favour of doing more harm to the environment they're supposedly 'protecting' from wind farms! It's beyond hypocrisy and very, very selfish. These ignorant villagers should be ashamed of themselves!"

3. "Perhaps we're just putting them in the wrong place?" asks Marcel Marceau , another engineer. "We should be building wind farms out at sea! Strong uninterrupted winds and no local residents to disturb! Sounds like the perfect solution, if you ask me. Setting them up and maintaining them's going to cost a bomb of course but... well, it's worth it right?"

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#264: Not A Drop To Drink [Vincon; ed:Kandarin]

The Issue
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has been hit with the worst drought in a hundred years; as a result thirsty citizens and a growing number of brown lawns are pleading for a government response.

The Debate
1. "We have no choice but to ration water," says Marcel Marceau , Chief of the @@CAPITAL@@ Department of Public Works. "We can't afford to let what little water we have slip through our fingers. We must clamp down on how much water each person is allowed to use. If our more wasteful citizens complain because they'll have to actually think about how much water they pour down the drain, all the better for the rest of us."

2. "You think too small," sighs Foreign Secretary Marcel Marceau , between sips from a sparkling bottle of gourmet dihydrogen monoxide. "THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD may be short on water, but the rest of @@REGION@@ has water to spare! Why not just import the water from abroad? Sure, it'll cost money, but what's worth more to the people of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, a little tax money or their most basic physical needs? Our neighbors wouldn't dream of cutting off the water, right?"

3. "This drought is a warning sign sent by our Creator!" shouts a strangely familiar-looking man who has just walked in from the desert clad in camel hair and sandals. "If this nation will only turn from its wicked ways and hearken unto our God, surely He shall grace us with water once more!"

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#265: To Bail or Not to Bail? [Niryuugoku; ed:Glen-Rhodes]

The Issue
A recent severe crash in the stock market of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and a plummet of the value of the @@CURRENCY@@ has brought the issue of government bailouts to the forefront of the national agenda.

The Debate
1. "We need to do something now! The people's welfare -- not to mention all my side businesses -- are in serious danger!" screams your finance minister Marcel Marceau . "We need an extensive support program for the businesses that make our country great, otherwise we might as well join ranks with those... third-world countries," he shudders. "Never mind that all the businesses on this list are owned by my relatives!"

2. "You're talking about doing what!?" screams Marcel Marceau , a noted fiscal conservative and libertarian scholar. "Government bailouts won't solve anything. They'll only redistribute wealth to those the government happens to favor at that particular moment, while placing a crushing burden onto everybody else. The government must instead cut taxes across the board and axe all unnecessary social programs, particularly our welfare system."

3. "This brings up an interesting point," remarks socialist author Marcel Marceau . "Why do we allow businesses to become "too big to fail?" The solution, surely, is to break up businesses before they reach such a size that they threaten our economy. Imagine it: community-based businesses, run for the benefit of the little people, not faceless, money-grubbing investment banks! Is there really a reason corporations need to be big?"

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#266: Breaching the Great Fourth Wall of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD [Reploid Productions; ed:Reploid Productions] {Easter Egg}

The Issue
After the recent eXtra-Kinetocam Cartographic Digital satellite survey revealed that THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is a surprisingly tiny section of land on a peninsula of a much larger continent, expeditions sent to explore these new lands have found a wide assortment other landmasses- all with new cultures and foreign civilizations. Of course, now people are wondering what to do with... or about... their newly-discovered neighbors.

The Debate
1. "Isn't it obvious? We must establish contact and trade with these other countries!" the CEO of one of the major mining companies notes happily, gesturing toward the XKCD survey map with a laser pointer. "The land claimed by Stalclaft is noted to contain a particular gaseous resource that could prove profitable for us! Never mind the report also says that the place is a war zone!"

2. "Are you insane? We're completely and totally vulnerable to attack!" declares General Marcel Marceau while flailing at the new world map in a dramatic fashion. "We know nothing about these civilizations, what their intentions are, what they're capable of! Look at how massive that Cea-Dicee is, just to the south of us! What little we do know about them implies that they have SPACESHIPS! We need to strengthen our military to protect against these threats at all costs!"

3. "Don't mind the paranoid ravings of the General there." Noted scholar Marcel Marceau states calmly, while tapping a spot on the map just offshore to the northeast of the peninsula. "We're simply expanding our understanding of the world and where we fit in it. The report says that the ancient ruins of Subspais are on the seafloor here, and I think it would be a most worthy endeavor to study them. It won't be cheap, but knowledge is the greatest resource we can have! As the saying goes, knowledge is power!"

4. "This hippie professor doesn't get it." Admiral Marcel Marceau scoffs. "We have an opportunity here! For instance, this island of Uoeq to the west of us. They'd never see us coming; after establishing forward bases there, we could easily begin a campaign against Cea-Dicee and take their land and technology for ourselves! With that turned into a colony of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, the island of Sekonlif would fall easily, and we could seize Stalclaft's precious gas. Just imagine, eventually the entire continent could be under our control... or rather, YOUR control."

5. "Don't believe these lies for a minute!" Notorious and arguably very crazy conspiracy theorist Marcel Marceau quickly unrolls a chart over the XKCD survey map before giving you what looks like a hat made of tinfoil. "These 'new lands' are all part of a conspiracy by the evil alien Bunny-Knights of Violet! I have evidence here that proves that these bunnies from space want us to THINK there are lands beyond what we already know. It's quite clear that this map is completely phony and that if we fall for it, we feed them our delicious mind-carrots! Forget this map of lies @@LEADER@@, for the sake of our mind-carrots!

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#267: Controversial Coup Causes Commotion [Sedgistan; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
A coup in a neighbouring country has seen a mercenary force led by retired THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLDian general Marcel Marceau take charge of the peaceful backwater, purging the opposition, and suppressing freedoms. Despite the new leader making a dubious promise to hold elections, the government in exile is demanding that THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD takes action.

The Debate
1. "THIS IS A DISGRACE", bellows Brigadier General Marcel Marceau , scattering plastic soldiers over the floor. "This traitor must be overthrown! Gather together our forces and sweep the tyrant from power. While we're at it, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD could do with some more tanks - you never know when the next coup might be."

2. Marcel Marceau , a junior official, puts down "Diplomacy for Dummies" and pipes up. "The best method of solving problems is talking. Send the new regime a strongly worded letter of protest and encourage them to negotiate. On a similar note, perhaps you could take your spouse out for a meal tonight. You've been spending far too much time sorting out this nation's issues lately."

3. Noted realist and tabloid columnist Marcel Marceau disagrees. "We should give this new regime a chance. After all, they now control a sizeable economy, and they need weapons - we could offer to recognise the new government if they agreed to buy arms from us. Also, I couldn't help but notice some protesters outside your office. We wouldn't want a coup happening here - everyone would feel safer if they were moved on."

4. "I don't see what the problem is", a voice strangely like your own whispers in your ear. Your twin, standing far too close for comfort, continues, "this has given me a great idea - why not just declare yourself supreme leader of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? After all, the people do love you so very much."

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#268: Don't Want Your Kid Anymore? Good News! [Aligeretha; ed:Glen-Rhodes]

The Issue
A recent "accidental" change in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's child abandonment law has made it easier to drop unwanted children off at hospitals, orphanages, and even military bases. The deluge of abandoned babies has begun to ravage THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's welfare personnel, and consequently the welfare budget. Overworked social workers, understaffed military branches, and a group of angry women are at your door, demanding that action be taken.

The Debate
1. "This is insane!" says social worker Marcel Marceau , struggling to hold three babies in her lap. "Whose smart idea was it to allow mothers to simply drop off their newborns like last night's stale pizza? These guys over at the capitol don't know how much work it takes to get these kids into the system and to take care of them, let alone how difficult it is to actually get them adopted! We simply can't do it. If this keeps up, don't be surprised if those babies sit in drop-boxes for days or forever." After handing over a baby to you, the social worker gives one final piece of advice, "Parents needs to accept their responsibilities.  It's not the state's job to raise children. At least, it shouldn't be. Until these types of laws are repealed, enjoy the baby!"

2. "A woman ought to have the right to choose if she wants to be a mother!" asserts Norma Roe, a long-time women's rights activist. "It's all a matter of privacy. The government shouldn't have a say in our life, shouldn't be telling us that we have to live like this, raise children like that, or devote our entire life to something we never wanted in the first place. Has anybody stopped to think that maybe it's better for the child that they aren't raised by unprepared, unwilling mothers? Give that a thought and get back to me, why don't you?"

3. "This is great!" says General Marcel Marceau . "These abandoned kids are just what the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Armed Forces need. Our current personnel level is pitiful. I doubt we could defend a supermarket! If we take these unwanted rug-rats, teach them the ways of warfare, we could be spittin' out super-soldiers in no time! Just imagine. Our military would be the envy of the world!"

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#269: Stop The Presses! [Lenyo; ed:Sanctaria]

The Issue
It has been revealed that many of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD’s newspapers are deep in red ink. Opinions are divided on whether or not the government should intervene.

The Debate
1. "There is no real problem here," says noted economist Marcel Marceau . "If newspapers are no longer selling, they shouldn’t exist in a free market economy; let capitalism take its course. Who cares if a few newspapers go under? Besides, it’s probably good for the digital industry, right?"

2. "You can’t just allow the newspaper industry to die!" panics newspaper editor Marcel Marceau . "We are the core of our nation’s news media! Where will the talk shows, internet news sites, and other media outlets get their stories from? We're their sources after all! THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD needs newspapers to inform the populace! Just allow us to be exempt from taxation and I’m sure we will recover. After all, quality news is worth the price!"

3. "Why bother subsidising when we can go all out and take back control of the media!" muses one of your innumerable advisors. "Newspapers are full of sensationalised, makey-uppy events designed to sell more papers and they ignore what really matters - like what we the Government are doing for the people! As a bonus, there'd be no need for newspapers and stations to compete with each other, and job losses would be at a minimum, so everyone'll be happy."

4. "Yu’r not attacking the problem," states elderly gentleman Woody Cane. "Newspapers will never be able t’ compete with them internets. All you’ve got t’do is shut them newfangled things down. Problem solved!"

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#270: Space Spectacular Sours Small Stargazers [Luna Amore; ed:Frisbeeteria]

The Issue
After the recent, well publicized collision of the comet Maxima with Mars, the National Association of Adolescent Astronomers has demanded a meeting with you over the national curfew requiring all minors to be in their houses by sundown.

The Debate
1. "It's outrageous!" screams NAAA President Marcel Marceau , "How are we supposed to study the night sky if our own government won't let us stay out past six? Do you know how many other astronomical wonders we've missed because we aren't old enough? This curfew is suffocating our sense of wonder and stifling our curiosity. Is that what you want, @@LEADER@@, a nation of un-inquisitive drones? You must see reason and repeal this curfew."

2. "You aren't seriously considering this, are you?" asks @@CAPITAL@@'s Chief of Police Marcel Marceau , "Since we implemented this curfew, youth-related crime has dropped 70%! What other government intervention has that kind of success rate? The elderly can once again take evening strolls without fear of being mugged by teenage hooligans. Mailboxes stand majestically unmolested. Look, I'm sorry these rapscallions can't look at supernovas and what not, but the numbers don't lie. If a few extra-curricular activities have to suffer to make THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's streets safer, then so be it."

3. "Now, now, surely the two sides can strike some sort of compromise," says noted radio talk show host Marcel Marceau , "Considering the statistics, you can't repeal the curfew altogether, but these kids raise a good point: the current curfew is far too draconian. What you should do is establish an official channel for minors to request permission to stay out after dark. That way teenagers – who have legitimate reasons – can be out after dark, and THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's crime rate won't suffer. Quite an elegant solution if I do say so myself. True, it will require a slight tax increase, but you can't please everyone."

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#271: Vigilantes: Heroes Or Hoodlums? [Nation of Quebec; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Your evening supper was disrupted recently when a spandex-clad man wearing a mask left a hitherto untouchable mob boss on the High Court's doorstep before disappearing once more into the night. While some have welcomed the assistance of 'the Dogman', others are fearful of what consequences supporting vigilantism could bring.

The Debate
1. "He did WHAT?" shouts over-zealous police officer Marcel Marceau . "The Dogman is a menace to society and an insult to the police. Vigilantism should not be tolerated, and the police should have the right to track these people down and throw them in jail. We'll show others like him that the law cannot be taken into their own hands."

2. "I agree, but we're forgetting the bigger issue," says Police Chief Marcel Marceau . "It's embarrassing really. This guy who's probably had no police training managed to catch a criminal that some of us in the force have spent ten years trying to bring down. This whole incident clearly shows us that the police force needs new training and equipment. I'm sure that our citizens wouldn't mind paying a little more to feel safer on the streets."

3. Marcel Marceau , avid contributor to the magazine Anarchist Monthly, presents a different opinion. "The last thing we need is more police. In fact, I think the people would be better off with more heroes like the Dogman. Let's face it. The police are known for corruption and brutality. Let the people take the law into their own hands, and we'll have a utopia where issues are settled without fascist pigs telling us what we can and can't do! It'll be perfect, trust me."

4. "You all have the wrong idea," says Graphite Lad, wearing a slender yellow spandex suit and eraser helmet. "We can't dismiss the fact that the Dogman did us and our city a great service. That's not something we should put him in jail for. In fact, I think the government should pay vigilante heroes for their noble deeds."

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#272: Slow Down, You’re Going Too Fast [Frisbeeteria; ed:Frisbeeteria]

The Issue
Following fatality reports from several high-speed, multi-car accidents, concerned safety advocates are asking that national speed limits be reinstated.

The Debate
1. "Lives are being lost, and for what?" shouts author of "The Road Worrier" Marcel Marceau at a rally in front of Police Headquarters. "So that juveniles-at-heart can satisfy their need for speed? Enough already! The rest of us want our children safe. Reinstate the speed limits, and while we’re at it, raise the license age to 25. There’s no need for adolescents to foul our highways. They can ride the bus."

2. "The problem isn’t cars, it’s drivers", states Marcel Marceau , founder and spokesperson of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Automation Industries. "Remove the human being from the equation, and modern vehicles can be driven at high speed entirely by computer! All we need is some research and retooling money, and a bit of infrastructure assistance to add drive-by-wire nodes to the highways. Not only will we make our own highways safer, we’ll boost THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD’s automotive exports through the roof!"

3. "Cars are only a part of the problem," argues transit advocate Marcel Marceau , assembling a toy train set on your desktop. "Trucks and busses are just as deadly. We need to shift entirely to railroads and get rid of cars AND trucks – hi-speed trains between cities, light rail to the suburbs, monorails and trolleys in town. We can dump those old speed limit laws - people won’t get run over if they stay off the tracks! So what if a few industrial complexes have to relocate or close? It’s for the greater good!"

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#273: Is our children learning? [Panageadom; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
When a relatively minor official in your government vowed to increase the standard of education in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, the press came knocking on your door to ask how this might actually be done.

The Debate
1. "It's all a question of money," says veteran teacher Marcel Marceau , "If we really care about education, we'll make it our number one priority. Double the education budget, halve the teacher-student ratio, and make sure every teacher has a master's degree in education. After all, the children are our future."

2. "As much as I'd like to have more money, it's really a question of most of the faculty belonging to one of the most powerful unions in the whole of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD that stops this school from being great," says Headmaster Marcel Marceau , "I can't discover which teachers are good and reward them for their excellent work, nor fire the useless ones. Destroying teachers' unions is perhaps the most important thing we could do. "

3. "I think specialization is the way to go," says your defense minister, standing arm in arm with a bishop of @@FAITH@@ and THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's top CEO, "Specialization lets each focus on what they're truly good at, and I'm sure that religious institutions, the military, and private companies would fork out a bit to train up the next generation, so we could save on taxes too."

4. "As we've proven in the past, the free market can manage this far better than the public sector," says market-analyst Marcel Marceau , "Now, I'm not saying that the state shouldn't help people go to school - far from it. Still, schools need greater freedom to maximize learnedness: to set their own tuition, salaries, curricula, etc. Give private schools a small government subsidy, and let the free market take its course. So what if a few poor kids drop out earlier? You can't make omelets without breaking a few eggs."

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#274: Brotherly Love - A Bit Too Close to Home? [Afforess; ed:Sanctaria]

The Issue
A brother and sister, Jack and Jill, went to apply for a marriage license today, causing a stir among the populace and many media outlets.

The Debate
1. "We just want to get married!" Jill yells to a nearby reporter. "What exactly is wrong with a brother and a sister getting married? Who are we hurting?!" adds Jack, defensively. "The government should just butt out of marriage. It's not their business who or what we marry."

2. "M-m-married?!" stammers Marcel Marceau , head of @@FAITH@@. "You want to desecrate the most holy and sacred union of marriage by allowing SIBLINGS to marry each other? Are you mad?! Those who are related must be forbidden from even loving each other, let alone marriage - it's shameful! They should be punished for this abomination! Oh, and while we're at it, we should ensure that every marriage is regulated by @@FAITH@@. Just in case something this sinful should ever come up again, of course."

3. Dr. Marcel Marceau , a fertility expert chimes in. "No, no, definitely not! Marriage leads to kids and d'you know what happens when inbreeding is allowed?! The children are born with five heads! Yes, five heads, always! We should encourage people, maybe with a monetary incentive, to marry those who are as distantly related as possible!"

4. "Duuude, marriage is like totally outdated", says a hippie, wearing a multi-colored robe and in need of a wash. "They're like, restrictive and they bring down the vibe, man. Why put people in a box; let us roam free and we can all be brothers and sisters! It's what's nature wanted!"

5. "This was bound to happen sometime", sighs an advisor from behind your chair. "We give these people a huge amount of freedom and they do this. It just shows that you can't trust them with their own lives, they'll just muck it up! I think it's time that we take such trivial matters out of their hands as they obviously can't deal with it. Maybe from now on the government should tell you who to marry?"

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#275: Wiki Worries [Maurepas; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
State department officials are in an uproar over the leaking of key government cables by the website WikiSpills. The site's owner, under the nom de plume "El Denunciante," is operating from an anonymous location in neighboring Bigtopia, where the government can't reach him. THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's leaders are sharply divided on how to respond.

The Debate
1. "This man has done no wrong!" says Marcel Marceau , who also happens to be the head writer of The @@CAPITAL@@ Times Magazine. "The people have a right to transparency of government. El Denunciante is a hero who has revolutionized my magazine sale-er-Freedom of Speech for this country. No state action must be committed that would infringe upon our right to disclose government information, regardless of the effects on diplomatic relations. Besides, it isn't as though you've got anything to hide…do you?"

2. "El Denunciante is a terrorist and has committed treason," argues reactionary talk radio host Marcel Marceau . "The fact is, he has consistently presented an anti-THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD agenda, and people like him need to be stopped from propagandizing their filth. What we need is to block this website and any others which threaten the security of this great nation. Like those opposition party blogs that keep popping up! I mean, what use is personal freedom if you don't have security and peace of mind?"

3. "This seems like a lot of needless work, if you ask me," says Marcel Marceau , your brother-in-law, while enjoying a foul-smelling beverage in your office. "Why should the people get to discuss you and your government anyway? Seems to me things would be much easier if you just told them what their opinion was and blocked out all others. After all, who knows what's best for them better than you, am I right? Cheers!"

Last edited by Ballotonia on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:39 am, edited 35 times in total.

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Nationstates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

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Re: NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Andacantra » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:54 am

#276: Circus Clowns Cause Chaos! [Sanctaria; ed:Maurepas]

The Issue
Rather than finding them funny, a recent survey shows that most children are actually afraid of clowns. The public is demanding that you do something to stop these terrifying menaces.

The Debate
1. "Kill them! Kill them all! Or… you know, just ban them", opines noted sociologist Marcel Marceau . "Better yet, why not ban all circuses from THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! Think about it, they're distracting children from what's important in life; namely, doing well in school, getting a job and contributing to the economy. That's what's important here!"

2. "Banning clowns is a little extreme, if you ask me", inputs your Minister for Culture, Marcel Marceau . "I think what we need to do is educate children about what clowns actually do. Tell them they aren't scary and that what they do is actually beneficial! After all, happy kids are less likely to go down the path of crime, which means less spending goes to the police and more funds can be diverted to somewhere important – like my Department!"

3. "It's not always about the kids", mumbles a red-nosed man in the corner. "Think of us clowns! We have to put up with the kids screaming, and shouting and hurling things at us. How would you feel if you were dressed up like a fool and paraded in front of 8 year olds! The Government needs to create a program to treat us clowns for depression – you don't know what it's like, man. You weren't there!"

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#277: Say Cheese! [Crazy girl; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
After a tabloid newspaper printed a photograph of you picking your nose in a restaurant, the government is considering introducing guidelines for journalists wishing to take pictures of you.

The Debate
1. "Whatever happened to freedom of press?" asks paparazzo Marcel Marceau , indignantly. "Why aren't you allowing honest, hardworking people like myself to do our jobs? If our beloved leader slips on a banana peel, that's big news on the level of national security! We must be allowed to take pictures of you whenever we want, wherever we want! Oh, and any comment on the rumors you had a one-night stand with your nei..." The question is cut off as a horde of journalists crowd in to ask questions.

2. The Minister of Press Relations, who is coincidentally your neighbor, agrees that your privacy needs to be protected. "That photograph was clearly an intrusion on your right to privacy. However, we can compromise and give the media 'authorized photo moments'. It's perfect. You get to keep your privacy, and on special occasions, photographers are allowed to take pictures and ask questions. Of course, anyone who disrespects this media code will have their privileges revoked."

3. Marcel Marceau , your overly-attentive aide, grins. "I like that idea, but it doesn't go nearly far enough. How about we control exactly what the media can and cannot publish? That way, we can make the citizens adore you and your skeletons stay hidden in the closet."

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#278: Relief is Coming... in Four to Six Weeks [Luna Amore; ed:Sanctaria]

The Issue
A hurricane recently devastated one of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's island chains causing billions of @@CURRENCY@@s in damage and displacing millions of citizens. The national emergency services are doing their best to meet the needs of the crisis, but with the recent airplane ban, relief is taking much longer to come to those affected.

The Debate
1. ''My house is gone, my neighborhood flooded, where's my government?'' shouts disgruntled evacuee Marcel Marceau over the phone. ''These islands are a thousand miles off the coast. We'll be waiting weeks for what limited resources our emergency services can provide with the few ships they have. I'll be lucky if I get a bottle of water. It's clear to me that the government didn't give a second thought to all the ramifications of banning airplanes, and now we, the citizens, are paying for it! If you have any compassion for the well-being of your people, you'll legalize air travel again and send help toot sweet!"

2. ''Take a deep breath, @@LEADER@@," advises your Minister of the Environment Marcel Marceau , "You smell that? That's clean air. And when was the last time you read about a terrorist taking over an airliner? Oh that's right; there hasn't been one since the ban. If anything, we should have stricter environmental standards on cars and ships. Listen, it's unfortunate that these people are having their relief delayed, but maybe that'll motivate them to adequately prepare next time. They decided to live in a hurricane zone after all."

3. ''Obviously, we goofed,'' says your Minister of Transportation Marcel Marceau , ''These sorts of humanitarian mess-ups shouldn't happen. But we shouldn't be willing to sacrifice all the benefits of the ban either. We should legalize air travel for government use only. That way necessary services won't be delayed, but we won't wreck our environment or endanger our nation. As an added bonus, you'll be able to go to international conferences without having to drive across the border to use Maxtopia's airports first."

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#280: Oh the Humanity! [Prevania; ed:Reploid Productions]

The Issue
During a recent severe storm, the airship @@NAMEINITIALS@@AS-Hiddenburg caught fire and ended up making a crash landing in @@CAPITAL@@. Everyone on board as well as several hundred people on the ground were killed in the resulting inferno. Reporter Herb Morris' incredible live coverage of the disaster and the media circus surrounding the safety of such vessels has people looking to the government for solutions.

The Debate
1. Marcel Marceau , apparent spokesperson for the families of the victims gasps out between sobs, "The only reason this happened is the government has turned a blind eye to the dangers of these vehicles! The solution is obvious, pass and rigidly enforce safety regulations on dangerous industries! Oh, and make the owners of these companies financially liable to the families. I mean, I lost my dad after all, I deserve a little bit of compensation."

2. "Really now, airships safely make these trips on a routine basis! These people are looking at a tiny mishap and not the bigger picture!" claims Marcel Marceau , owner of Airship Enterprises, the company that operates airships like the crashed @@NAMEINITIALS@@AS-Hiddenburg. "If anything, the government should be supporting the industry through this tragedy! You know, 'encouraging' people to use airships so that they learn just how safe they really are!"

3. "Tiny mishap? TINY MISHAP?" screams Marcel Marceau , author of the controversial bestseller 'Corporations Are Bad, Really Really Bad.' "Hundreds of people dead, millions if not billions of @@CURRENCY@@s in damage to buildings downtown, and these industry goons are trying to just shrug and tell the rest of us 'Oopsie,' and buy their way out of trouble?! They have a huge debt to the society they've harmed, make them work in the trauma centers and see first-hand what they've done!"

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#281: Free Internet For THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD? [Solisbury; ed:Sirocco]

The Issue
After receiving four-digit internet bills, the people of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD are demanding that a free internet service be made available by the government.

The Debate
1. "The only way to ensure internet neutrality in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is to place the internet under government control," opines Marcel Marceau , Minister of Telecommunications. "My ministry has been trying to reel in the unfair practices of these companies for ages, and now public sentiment is on our side. With an internet free of 'premium access' and content discrimination, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD will be the envy of @@REGION@@. Unfortunately, since providing free access would be enormously expensive, we'll have to increase taxes slightly... but isn't that a small price to pay?"

2. High school principal Marcel Marceau says, "The last time I checked, one of the purposes of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD government was to provide a decent education for our children. More and more students are turning to online services as a way to accelerate their schooling. Online courses offer a wide range of education in academics and work-related skills. But not all my students have the internet, and there's certainly no commercial incentive to lay down lines in farmland. The government needs to step in and provide a free internet for these students. Invest in our future!"

3. "Oh for the love of Violet!'' bemoans conservative columnist Marcel Marceau . ''The government has proven time and time again that it destroys everything it touches. Do you want your internet to be slow? Do you want to be taxed up the wazoo, thanks to government inefficiency? I sure don't. Just let the market handle this for once. While you're at it, take the money you would have used on this worthless endeavour and give your citizens a well-deserved tax refund instead."

4. "Considering the absurd regulations we have to put up with, it's no wonder we have to charge so much for our internet service," says Marcel Marceau of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Speedy Internet Co. "Safety guidelines, minimum access mandates. If the government would get rid of all these regulations, we could lay down lines for less @@CURRENCY@@s, and pass the savings down to the consumers. This problem isn't our fault: it's yours."

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#282: Slum Village Extraordinaire [Foxopolis; ed:Dustistan]

The Issue
After the growing shanty-towns on the outskirts of @@CAPITAL@@ were featured in an issue of "Regional Geographic", domestic and international sources have been loudly insisting that something must be done.

The Debate
1. "Obviously, the current welfare system isn't generous enough," says mother-of-six Marcel Marceau , counting out beans from the bottom of a can. "I have to support my whole family with just a few @@CURRENCY@@s a week! It's no wonder there are so many homeless all over. Welfare spending has to increase! And radically! Oh, some people might abuse it, but only a few!"

2. "That's just foolish!" says street dweller Marcel Marceau , fitting a clean bedsheet onto a freshly polished park bench. "Welfare payments are enough, the problem is people are too proud to claim them! Look at me -- since I swallowed my pride and registered at the welfare office, I've got more than enough @@CURRENCY@@s to get cleaned up and start looking for real job. Welfare should be compulsory for anyone out of work. Give people a handout whether they ask for it or not, they'll be off the streets in no time!"

3. "I've got a better idea," says Ultramegastore CEO Marcel Marceau , "I'll tear down the slums and replace them with my stores. Underneath each one, I'll build a huge underground apartment complex. The former slum dwellers will live rent-free in the apartments, and work in the store. They'd be paid in Ultramegastore vouchers worth, say, half the minimum wage. The shantytowners would have steady jobs and a place to live, I'd have more locations, you'd be rid of those dreary slums. Everyone wins, right?"

4. "What a bunch of hogwash!" says paint franchise owner Marcel Marceau , "We shouldn't give these people money, and we can't take their homes away. The solution is very simple; paint the slums! A quick coat of Vintage Lime or Tropical Sunrise will transform the look of those shanty towns, and tourists and social workers won't be offended any more. Of course, Social Policy will have to pay someone to add a fresh coat from time to time, but tell you what -- I'll cut you a deal on the paint."

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#283: Wealthy Flee to Tax-free Havens [Gior Altheriod; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's governmental revenue has been dropping sharply as the super-rich emigrate to nations with very low taxes. Faced with the prospect of massive budget shortfalls, the government must act.

The Debate
1. "Isn't it obvious?" says Marcel Marceau , THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's most famous trillionaire, calling from a private plane somewhere over the Pacific. "If the tax rates weren't so appallingly high, I - and others like me - would be perfectly happy to stay and contribute to the economy. A tax cut would mean taking money out of a few unimportant things like healthcare, welfare, and the environment, but it's the only way."

2. "There's no doubt we need that money to stay in the country," opines your minister of finance whilst leafing through an ominous-looking file. "But who says we need the people? If we imposed a massive charge on leaving the country - say 50% of the emigrating person's total worth - we'd rake in tons of cash and get rid of the filthy rich wasters at the same time."

3. "Why allow anyone to emigrate?" muses one of your advisers, "All citizens, from the billionaires down to unskilled laborers, are critical to our economy. If we sealed off the borders, we wouldn't risk brain drain or fleeing capital. It'd require a rise in taxes, but I think the financial security of our nation is worth it."

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#285: A Right Not to Work? [Nation of Quebec; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
High ranking officials and devout followers of @@FAITH@@ have requested that the government close down retail stores during the Sabbath in accordance to their religious views.

The Debate
1. "It's written in our sacred texts that our Creator took the seventh day for rest, and so should we!" says Marcel Marceau , a devout follower of @@FAITH@@. "To work on the Sabbath is an insult to our Creator, and I think the last thing THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD needs is eternal torment. Shut down all retail stores for the Sabbath! Besides, who wants to work then anyway?"

2. "I'm afraid that's not going far enough," adds Marcel Marceau , a high-ranking official in the Synod of Zealous Religious Fanatics. "This shouldn't apply to just retail stores. Everything must be shut down! Hospitals, government agencies, police, and other emergency services. Sure, it'll be dangerous and likely cause some death, but saving our souls from eternal torment should be our priority. THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD must do all it can to appease the almighty Creator."

3. "You're not really going to listen to what these nutjobs are proposing, are you?" asks Marcel Marceau , your atheist economic adviser. "Think about the damage this would cause to the economy. Isn't that more important than appeasing a few nuts? If anything, we should be requiring that all retail stores remain open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Just think of all that unlimited shopping time!"

4. Slacker blogger Marcel Marceau , still in pajamas and eating a pizza slice on a ratty couch, sends you a video chat invitation. "Dude, why not just give everybody shorter work weeks? Make flex time, telecommuting, and 35-hour work weeks mandatory for all us working folk. Trust me, the people will love you for it man!"

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#286: A Whale of a Problem [Doom and so on; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
Following a two hour TV exposé on the growing incidence of whaling off THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's shores, environmentalists are up-in-arms and pressing the government to outlaw the practice.

The Debate
1. "Whales are being exploited by soulless capitalists!'' screams infamous environmental activist Marcel Marceau . ''These majestic creatures are a crucial part of the food chain. Do you have any idea what damage their extinction would cause? End this barbaric business, or have the blood of innocent creatures on your hands forever!"

2. "Whale meat is a part of our culture," says Marcel Marceau , owner of a top-rated seafood restaurant in @@CAPITAL@@. "It's THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's staple food. The whaling market is booming! Half my menu is whale! A ban on whaling would destroy the entire seafood industry. Listen, the ocean is chock-full of whales – in fact, some may say there are too many whales. If anything, we should abolish any marine animal protection laws we've got left.''

3. ''QUOTAS!'' yells Marcel Marceau , one of your top advisors, snapping out of a stupor. ''We allow whaling up to a certain quota limit. We can meet with some marine biologists and figure out a number that both maintains the whale population and allows restaurants to get their main dish. Of course, it'll require a boost in funding to the coast guard to make sure these whalers are sticking to the quota, but what's a few @@CURRENCY@@s to save the whales?''

4. "It's not enough!" bellows Marcel Marceau , head of the radical anti-whaling group Ocean Overseers while menacing you with a handful of rancid butter. "The government needs to allow armed intervention against these seafaring murderers! We can bring film crews along and make a reality TV show out of it! Oh, sure, some people on whaling vessels might get hurt or even killed, but that's just what people who exploit nature for money deserve!"

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#288: Super-Sized Pizzas Recipe For Disaster? [New Ziedrich; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
Papa Pallocci's Pizza Pagoda, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's top pizza delivery chain, has unveiled a new "Leviathan Size" deep-dish pizza. Citizens and health experts alike have come to you raising concerns over the health implications of this new pizza.

The Debate
1. "This is a public health travesty," says Marcel Marceau , a noted nutrition expert. "There is just no sensible reason for a pizza this big to exist! It encourages overeating which leads to obesity and all of the illnesses that go with it! It's clear that these companies aren't going to do the right thing without prodding. Obviously, the government needs to ban this greasy filth and make restaurants include nutritional information on all of their menu items!"

2. "But the temptation – the temptation is still there!" cries morbidly obese health advocate Marcel Marceau . "For years, I ate every kind of junk food imaginable. Just look at me now! Doctors tell me I've shaved twenty years off my life at least. This food is deadly, and we shouldn't tolerate it any more! All fast food restaurants should be banned, and their owners forced to pay reparations to their victims."

3. "That's preposterous!" replies Marcel Marceau , Head of Papa Pallocci's Public Relations division. "Our food is among the healthiest in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! We offer an array of fresh veggies and the finest of meats. These radicals are calling for the government to intervene, but is it really the government's job to babysit our customers like that? They're big boys and girls, and it should be up to them to decide what they want to eat! They want pizza, so let them have pizza!''

4. "Hey, man. I have an idea," says Marcel Marceau , an aging hippie, barely suppressing a giggle. "This is all about healthy food, right? My bros and I were thinking about selling this pizza with locally grown organic ingredients and whole grains and stuff, right? It'd be good for you AND the planet, man. The only snag is we're a little short on start-up moolah. The government should totally, like, give us money to open our chain. We'd really appreciate it. Yeah, you'd need a tax hike to pay for it, but we'd totally save the world – with pizza, man!"

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#289: Blizzards Serve Calls Cold, Says Mayor [Unibot II; ed:Sanctaria]

The Issue
For the past week, the small community of Greenville in Northern THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD has been plagued with an unexpected blizzard. With citizens stranded in their homes without electricity, the township is urging you to evaluate communication priorities.

The Debate
1. "Without electricity we're struggling to get our message out to our residents," says Marcel Marceau , Mayor of Greenville. "The ban on cold-calling is preventing us from calling our residents to make sure they're ok. Cold-calling should be allowed if the caller isn't trying to sell the receiver anything; that'll allow us to do our job and charities could campaign for donations to help with the relief effort. I'm sure residents won't mind all of the extra calls."

2. "That ain't going far enough!" says Marcel Marceau , Papa Pallocci's Pizza Pagoda franchisee in Greenville. "People, especially seniors, are stranded in their homes without food and have no idea that we're still open! This snowstorm hasn't slowed our deliverymen down one bit; I've just purchased an entire new fleet of snowmobiles. We need to inform these unfortunate people of our services or else they'll starve! I urge you, for the well-being of your own people, remove the old ban on cold-calling altogether!"

3. "NO! NO! AND NO!" screams concerned resident Marcel Marceau down through the telephone. "Us average folks have been perfectly happy without that darned cold-calling and all of those other evening interruptions. Besides, people are so careless and unprepared these days; it's their own fault they didn't buy a generator and an emergency radio. I say NO to cold calling and I hope this storm will teach those fluffies to stop relying on charities and the government teat!"

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#290: Wheels of Misfortune [New Ziedrich; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
In recent weeks, there has been growing concern over the quality of automobiles made in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Representatives from all sides have gathered in your office and are asking you to make a decision.

The Debate
1. "This is ridiculous!" cries Marcel Marceau , chairperson of the Association of Scorned Shoppers, while frantically waving a stack of papers. "Some of these stories are just obscene! We've got water pumps ceasing at 12,000 kilometers, airbags not deploying in accidents, and this one guy's gas tank just fell off! I can't make this stuff up! Our auto industry has gotten lazy and corrupt and is in desperate need of stronger regulation!"

2. "I've never heard such nonsense!" scoffs Marcel Marceau , an executive representing THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's largest automaker. "Our cars are perfectly fine! These allegations are completely baseless. Thing is, these proposed regulations are going to make us uncompetitive. Is this what you want? Foreign cars clogging our streets while our factories close down? Get rid of some of the regulations we have now, so we can do our jobs! While you're at it, a government subsidy would safeguard domestic auto manufacturing ..."

3. "What is this? Subsidies? Deregulation? Lies, all of it!" shouts prominent communist Marcel Marceau , sporting a practical yet stylish red beret. "These companies, they're always willing to sell their ethics for a quick @@CURRENCY@@! They always cut corners for a little extra profit, and look where it's gotten us! You want to make good cars, cars the people can be proud of? Have the people take control of the car companies! If we remove the profit motive, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD can finally produce quality vehicles, without wasteful bourgeois stuff like chrome wheels, air conditioning, and reclining seats!"

4. A wheelchair-bound man wearing a bicycle helmet on his head, plaster casts on his legs, and an irate expression on his face rolls himself into your office. "Hey, I got somethin' to say," he growls as he deliberately bumps into your desk. "You and your government have been playing nice with the car companies for far too long, and a lot of us cyclists are sick of it. I might have an axe to grind, but THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and our environment'll be better off if you just banned cars entirely. Who cares if people complain? They'll adjust."

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#291: A Question Of Sport [Dustistan; ed:Sanctaria]

The Issue
THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's football fans are outraged after the nation's bid to host an important regional competition was rejected. The reason? THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's football fields are slightly shorter than the international standard.

The Debate
1. Marcel Marceau , head of the Football Association of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, announced in a press release, "Clearly we're disappointed by this result. It's yet more evidence of what we've been saying all along - sport in this country is severely underfunded. With more @@CURRENCY@@s from the government, we could start upgrading sporting venues across the country. This would definitely count in our favor when we submit our next bid."

2. "You wanna spend my tax money on what?!?" wheezes couch potato Marcel Marceau while flicking through sport channels. "If sporting associations need more money, why not ask for sponsorship from the private sector, like pizza chains and soda bottlers? Why should my money be used to help a bunch of good for nothing kids chase a bit of leather around?"

3. "There's nothing wrong with our stadiums!" shouts sports fan Marcel Marceau , waving a crowd rattle and blowing a vuvuzela. "They're just the right size for the sports I grew up playing! Why should we change the rules of our national sport just to please a bunch of foreigners? I say we support our team! And play by our own traditional rules! We should get rid of those silly foreign sports and their 'rules'!"

4. "They rejected us because of a few feet of grass? That's crazy!" writes journalist Marcel Marceau . "Sport isn't about rules, it's about having fun and getting fit! When we were kids, we could have a great time with just a stick and a couple of rocks – there were no rulebooks or standardized playing fields. We should encourage kids to get out there and have fun; who cares about a few silly rules?"

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#292: Tourists Wearing Out Their Welcome? [Virtualila; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
As tourists flock to THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD in record numbers, some citizens have begun to complain of rowdiness and invasions of privacy from those visiting from other countries. There are calls for measures to slow the tourism industry.

The Debate
1. "This is getting a bit extreme," says Marcel Marceau , wearing historically accurate peasant garb, down to the curly-toed shoes. "Our everyday lives are becoming spectacles for the world! I can't even trim my petunias without a dozen tourists snapping pictures of me – without my consent mind you! THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's first priority should be to its citizens. We need to start scaling back our tourism industry for the sake of our privacy."

2. "That's not going far enough!" shouts conservative extremist and rabid patriot Marcel Marceau . "These bad foreigners are corrupting our culture. They demand that we feed them their type of food, that we make accommodations for them, that... that... we change what WE are just for THEIR sake! This isn't their country. They weren't born here. They don't work their fingers to the bone for this country, and they sure as hell don't belong here! I say we chase all of these foreigners out of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!"

3. "You've got to be joking" says Marcel Marceau , CEO of the Barriot hotel chain. "These tourists are bringing money in by the boatloads. Tourism is the backbone of our economy. Scale back tourism? If anything, the government should be encouraging more tourism. Open up some theme parks, advertise our world famous aged cheddar gift baskets – anything that will attract more tourists, or more importantly their wallets! With a little government funding, we could become the must-see country in @@REGION@@!"

4. ''That's too short-sighted,'' says Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Population Growth. ''Why should we work so hard to keep them here for a two-week vacation when we can convince them to move here instead? Think about it, we throw up some housing developments around tourist hubs, air some commercials about how easy it is to become a citizen, and BAM! we've got an influx of new, taxable citizens.''

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#293: Maestro, Please [Castle in the Sky; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
A delegation from the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Philharmonia has shown up in your office, underlining their petition for the renovation of the nation's concert halls with a serenade.

The Debate
1. "The once venerable concert halls of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD are in a sorry state," laments trombonist Marcel Marceau , emptying the spit valve into your waste paper basket. "Some are dank, the stucco is crumbling in others, and it's raining through the backstage roof of another! In the name of culture we must restore these halls to their former glory. It's only a pittance to the national budget, but to our cultural reputation? Priceless."

2. "These caterwauling miscreants don't deserve concert halls," insists Marcel Marceau , a tone-deaf curmudgeon. "If they can't support their hobby, then why should we, the suffering taxpayers, prop them up? Concert halls are businesses, and businesses that can't stay afloat on their own disappear. Such is life. I say leave the whole lot to their inevitable demise."

3. "Times are tight. I sympathize with you," consoles Marcel Marceau , the CEO of Restorations R Us, handing you a decorative 'Hang In There' basket of goodies. "However, you need only ask, and – quick as a whip – my company will fund the construction of concert halls all across this fair country. All I ask is that we put up some advertisements in the lobbies and integrate a tasteful nod to sponsors into the programmes."

4. "The only reason to fund these musicians is if they are doing something worthwhile for their country," says Brigadier General Marcel Marceau . "I've long said that THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Armed Forces would benefit greatly from a spic-and-span band in uniform. They would represent the splendor that embodies THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and they'd do it with pride! Of course by extension, they would be a part of the active forces and required to serve in battle if necessary. Always good to up the recruitment numbers, right?"

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#294: Ghost Riders on the Sly [Fmyeram; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
Following the passage of a well-supported bill that contained half a dozen riders, corruption watchdog groups are lobbying the government to take action against the use of these unrelated addenda in lawmaking.

The Debate
1. "This is unacceptable," says legislative clerk Marcel Marceau , peeking out from behind a wall of 3-ring binders. "It paves the way for corporate corruption, eats up all our time and money, and, quite frankly, is exhausting! We must require each bill to have one – clearly defined – purpose and be able to state that purpose in a concise title. That way we won't have any more defense spending bills with addenda about cheese processing regulations. The industry will hate it, but if I have to read through one more schizophrenic morass, I'll quit!"

2. ''Yes, these riders can be a threat to the democratic process,'' begins Party Majority Leader Marcel Marceau , ''but to ban them outright is simply foolish. We need the ability to amend bills, and sometimes those attachments aren't always clearly connected. Therefore, I propose we grant the legislature the ability to veto any rider by a simple majority vote. That way, necessary riders can still be attached and this other tom-foolery can be nipped in the bud.''

3. "Look, this is how things have always worked," Marcel Marceau , the CEO of Cheesemongers Unlimited, Ltd. "Representatives' time is both finite and valuable. Do you have any idea how many bills there'd be if each one could only have one aim? Legislation would come to a stand-still! Yes, it can be prone to corruption, but find me a government that's corruption free and I'll eat my shoe!''

4. "Can't trust the government to do anything right," scolds economic analyst Marcel Marceau , glancing up from a worn copy of The Fountainhead. ''We've given it a fair chance, it's failed, and now the private sector will have to swoop in to fix it. If you privatize the legislature, I can assure you it'll be humming efficiently and in the black by this time next year!''

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#295: Give Us Pockets or Give Us Something Else [Ferringinar; ed:Maurepas]

The Issue
Ever since the clothing ban went into effect, some citizens have been complaining that they have no place to put their car keys. A veritable parade of flesh has passed through your office to present their opinions.

The Debate
1. "I just don't have enough hands for everything I have to do," says Marcel Marceau , a pizza delivery worker and former raincoat model. "Pockets are very important for keeping our keys, wallets, and loose change. Maybe you can at least let us have pants or something, just for the pockets. Besides, it's almost impossible to make change while carrying all this pizza. Please, repeal that law and let us wear clothes again."

2. "Well, I assume you banned clothing for a reason," says Marcel Marceau , who overheard the conversation while emptying your trash can. "But I can appreciate the problem of not having anywhere to put your keys. At least the women have purses. Maybe you can just pay a former fashion designer to come up with a purse that looks presentable when a man carries it."

3. "That's a valid point about purses," says Marcel Marceau , the new office intern. "But I'm enjoying all the naked girls running around on campus. How about you just make it legal for males to wear clothes and keep the females naked? After all, as the saying goes, the clothes make the man."

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#300: Trafficked Tots Trouble [Crazy girl; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
An emergency meeting has been called together after a report from the border police showed an alarming increase in child trafficking. Children born to unlicensed parents are being given to shady characters who smuggle these tots across the border to sell them to the highest bidder.

The Debate
1. Madame Del Bile, your Minister of Population Logistics, believes the solution is simple. "Parents who fail the exam for a license aren't allowed kids - so they don't need reproductive organs. I say spay or neuter everyone who is unfit to be a parent, to ensure they don't have any offspring. Off with it all!"

2. Joe Belt, the Chief of Police, winces and turns white. "That sounds rather... barbaric. Give us more funding, and we can set up a special department - the Child Catchers! We'll take children from those who procreate without passing the exam, and raise them to be perfect members of our police force... err... society."

3. Your dear old mother, tucking you into bed with your favorite teddy, shakes her head and disagrees. "We never needed a license to have our children. We were good parents to you, and you've all grown up to be fine human beings. Why don't you just get rid of these new-fangled licenses and trust a parent's instincts?"

Last edited by Ballotonia on Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:54 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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Re: NationStates Issues **SPOILER ALERT**

Postby Andacantra » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:54 am

#301: Are 'Friends' Electric? [I V Stalin; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
A civil war in Maxtopia, a country that provides the majority of electricity consumed in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, is already causing blackouts in provincial cities. Various concerned groups are demanding you take action before the situation gets worse.

The Debate
1. "Relying on other countries for something as important as electricity is a terrible idea," says Marcel Marceau , head of the isolationist group 'We're Not Xenophobic, But'. "THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD must be self-sufficient in its electrical needs. And if that means bringing back those nuke plants, so be it. We're a lot safer generating our own power than being at the whims of the international market, even if the tree-huggers throw a fit."

2. "Oh, don't listen to that nutjob!" says your Minister of Trade, Marcel Marceau , "We're just too focused on our relationship with Maxtopia, that's all. We must spread our net wider and take advantage of the other nations in @@REGION@@ who'd be willing to provide services for us - for a small fee."

3. A delegation from the Maxtopian rebels is ushered into your office. "OK, here's the deal. You give us arms and cash to overthrow the 'legitimate' Maxtopian government, and in return we'll halve the price we charge for electricity when we're running the place. Maybe preferential access for your corporations to our natural resources as well, yeah? I think our regimes will develop a very close alliance."

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#302: Delivering Mayhem In Thirty Minutes Or Less! [New Ziedrich; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Hoping to increase its market share, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's second-largest pizza chain, De Luigi Bros. Pizza, began guaranteeing free pizzas if they weren't delivered in thirty minutes or less. Since the policy began several months ago, there have been several reports of De Luigi's delivery crew driving recklessly in order to beat the deadline. After a number of fatal accidents were attributed to De Luigi's drivers, citizens are calling for action.

The Debate
1. "Here's a thought," says Marcel Marceau , environmental activist and committed bicyclist, "These auto accidents wouldn't be happening if there weren't any cars in the first place! If you banned cars from our roads and focused on bikes and mass transit, we'd all be safer, and our environment would be cleaner, too. We've got nothing to lose! Except an auto industry of course. And the pizza industry will probably take a hit too, since it'll be harder to deliver the pizzas. But that doesn't matter: our safety and the planet's future do!"

2. "What the... hell does that have to do with anything? asks Marcel Marceau , successful personal injury lawyer and owner of four sports cars. "The real issue is that De Luigi's enacted a stupid policy that resulted in injury and property damage! We need to send a clear message to big business that they'll be held liable for their mistakes, and the best way to do that, of course, is with a punitive class action lawsuit."

3. "As usual, science has the answer!" claims renowned engineer and futurist, Dr. Marcel Marceau . "You're probably aware that there have been numerous developments in unmanned aerial vehicles over the past several years. Well, my laboratory's been developing this compact flying courier robot with VTOL and GPS and a bunch of other initialisms that make it perfect for this kind of application! It performed... okay in the test flight we did, so if the military would allow us to sell these things to, uh, pretty much everyone, defense contractors can make a mint manufacturing them; and pizza chains can save a small fortune by not having to pay armies of inexperienced teenage drivers! They should still carry plenty of insurance, though."

4. "Wait, this is getting out of hand!" moans Benito De Luigi, CEO and co-founder of De Luigi Bros. Pizza. "We just wanted to dethrone those smug jerks at Papa Pallocci's, that's all! This isn't our fault; the real culprit is, uh... suburbia! Yeah! Those rows and rows of poorly-built, identical houses on stupid cul-de-sacs are a confusing nightmare for our delivery crews. Most people should be living in urban high-rise apartments, and I guess everyone else can save time by not commuting so much. Offer some incentives to get people to move: a month's free rent and a free trip to jail if they refuse to leave!"

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#303: Digital Revolution Requires Re-evaluation [Coddiac; ed:Frisbeeteria]

The Issue
Advances in the state of the art of television recording devices have brought the topic o violence on late night television back to the table. Interested parties want to share their concerns.

The Debate
1. "I've had just about enough of this!" fulminates concerned parent Marcel Marceau , who seems purple with rage. "Our children's minds are being fed garbage on a daily basis by what they see on TV. Why just the other day I caught my kid watching a DVR recorded from a late-night cartoon where a clown beat a person with a bottle! We need to stop violence on TV entirely, and limit the networks to decent family programming during daytime hours."

2. "Why should everyone else pay the price for bad parenting?" bellows libertarian and free speech advocate Marcel Marceau . "This government needs to get out of the business of designating what we can and cannot watch. The free market will adapt to the needs of the buyers, leaving parents to do their jobs and monitor what their kids watch. I paid good money for my TV – let ME choose what I want to see!"

3. "You folks are missin' your best bet," celebrity race car driver Marcel Marceau whispers in your ear, while wearing a jumpsuit covered in product logos. "Us racers have lead the way towards makin' product placement the must-have advertising choice. Ain't no need to ban content they cain't stand. All you gotta do is hide the action behind a Microcosm computer or hold an Eckie-Ecola in front of the naughty bits, and nobody gets hurt. Them internet fellas done figured out how to throw ad banners in front of the stuff you want to see; just do the same thing on the teevee sets. Everybody wins!"

4. "You know, this gave me a fantastic idea," declares one of your advisors, grinning broadly. "So if I got this straight, children will change their behavior according to what they're exposed to on TV. So what we should do is put subliminal messages about our government in every program and commercial on TV during kid's viewing hours. That way children will stop the violence AND they'll be more inclined to serve our government when they grow up. GENIUS!"

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#304: Time for Paternity Leave, say Dads [Gior Altheriod; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
A coalition of working parents have put forward a petition that THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's maternity leave laws be extended to allow new fathers time off.

The Debate
1. "What is this madness?" splutters well-known conservative Marcel Marceau . "Think of the cost! And have you ever seen a man breastfeeding a newborn baby? I think not! You can't change basic biology by throwing @@CURRENCY@@s at it - this is one area where the women just have to face the facts."

2. "Offering different lengths of parental leave based on sex is discrimination!" yells well-known egalitarian Marcel Marceau , pounding on your desk. "And it also disadvantages gay couples. Why shouldn't a lesbian mother have time off when her partner gives birth? I say we offer both parents six months' fully paid leave, regardless of sex. It's pricey, but it's the only way to be fair. Oh, and parents who've just adopted can have it too."

3. "I agree that we can't discriminate against gay and adoptive parents," says your Minister for the Family, Marcel Marceau , "But there's a limit to how much of a burden we can place on the taxpayer. How about offering, say, six months' joint parental leave, and letting the couple divide it up how they want? That way families can find a solution that suits them, without costing the country too much."

4. "Are you trying to cripple our economy completely?" implores Marcel Marceau , CEO of Money-Grabbers Ltd. "If people have children, that's their own lookout! If you can't afford to take time off work to raise your spawn, whose fault is that? All parental leave should be banned! We're not heartless bastards, though. Of course momma can take a sick or vacation day, or maybe even two!"

5. "There is another way, you know," quietly suggests one of your advisers, "Young children need to be taken care of during the workday, but not necessarily by their parents. What if the government provided daycare for all kids until schooling starts? Parental leave would cease to be an issue. Of course, it'd cost a lot to take care of everyone's kids, but I think it's worth it to allow parents to work full-time guilt-free."

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#305: Who’s Occupying What? [Nexexen; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Many young, educated, and unemployed people are frustrated because jobs are being outsourced to workers in Bigtopia. On the other hand, low end service industries are seeing a shortage of workers, sparking debate over possible solutions to the employment gap.

The Debate
1. "Frankly, we shouldn’t be wasting time giving our children costly educations, just to have Bigtopians take their jobs," remarks Marcel Marceau , a wealthy business executive sharing a drink in your office. "Let’s lift the ban on child labor and instead put our children to work in service jobs in retail—jobs that can’t be sent to other countries. They might not get paid much, but it’ll at least get them working and this economy moving again." Handing you a wad of money, he continues, "And we’ll both make a @@CURRENCY@@ or two off it as well…"

2. Marcel Marceau , author of "Command Economies: The Communist Ideal" and part-time florist, slips into your office and says, "On that thought, perhaps we could use the government to allocate our resources... erm... children. To help economic efficiency, we’ll split them up early on, sending some right into the workforce where the economy needs them. We’ll raise the others through the education system." The noted statist thinker, deftly rearranging your vase of roses, quickly adds, "It might be expensive to manage, and kids won’t get much choice in what kind of a job they get, but I think everyone will be happy after realizing that everything fits… perfectly…"

3. "Our people need jobs, but giving more money to fat-cat business owners isn’t the answer!" remarks Marcel Marceau of the Occupy @@CAPITAL@@ movement, unaware of the "Hiring" sign in a nearby department store window. "In fact, we should tighten regulations on robber barons to ensure they put our workers first. And make them pay a little more in taxes to help support THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's hard-working people as well! Sure, the businesses may not like it, but it will help out the common man. Help the 99%!"

4. "All ze jobs are VHERE?!" General Von Gugelheimer lets out a piercing scream. "Zose Bigtopians and zeir business friends need to remember vhich is ze better country! Nevermind zat ze businesses at fault are based out of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Let’s blow zose Bigtopians off ze map! Double ze military's size, and ve von’t have to vorry about zem anymore. Trade vill take a hit, but isn't ZE POWER vorth it? Hahaha… HAHAHAHA!"

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#306: A Matter of Trust [Nation of Quebec; ed:Sanctaria]

The Issue
A new survey conducted by private organizations has found out that confidence in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's political system is at an all-time low. Politicians and political think tanks are scrambling to find a solution.

The Debate
1. "Isn't it obvious?" states Marcel Marceau , host of a political talk show. "Politicians get away with things that would land us regular folk in jail. Corruption, fraud; you name it, they do it – and with no consequences. How about you make it harder for them to get away with their crimes by enforcing tough jail time. Maybe then you'll earn back the public's trust."

2. "It's probably because we're constantly seeing the same people in power over and over again," argues Marcel Marceau , a columnist for the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Inquirer. "We should shake things up a bit and bring some fresh faces into the political game. Let's introduce term limits on all public offices. That'll definitely increase confidence in our political system!"

3. "I couldn't help but notice that confidence was particularly lower among women," notes Marcel Marceau , editor of Bonjour magazine. "It's time we rid this country of its old boys club by introducing gender quotas. Mandate that women must hold at least 50% of all public offices in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD; everyone knows women are so much more trustworthy than men."

4. "People don't trust us?" gasps Marcel Marceau , one of your many advisers. "Then it's time we earned it back! Let's get out there among the people and show everybody that politicians are just like them! Be totally transparent; personal blogs, documentaries, 24 hour TV shows. Yes, it may cost a bit, but if the public know everything about you, they'll have to trust you!"

5. "If the people don't trust us then we'll make them," suggests Marcel Marceau , your military aide-de-camp, slamming his fists on the table. "We'll just use force and intimidation to win back support. Some may call it brainwashing or terrorism, but I call it love. As a plus, it should be really easy to implement!"

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#307: Derailing the Gravy Train [Burtina; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
A national newspaper has uncovered details of a number of politicians' expenses documents, publishing claims from gold-plated toilet seats to elaborate steak dinners for dogs. Following the publication, the general public is clamoring at your door demanding answers.

The Debate
1. "This is the sort of disgraceful behavior we've come to expect from our politicians," bemoans unemployed teacher, Marcel Marceau . "Look around you! No one else is living so extravagantly. We need to lower all politicians' salaries to the poverty line and put the kibosh on these claimed 'business expenses' too. Maybe then they'll understand how real people actually live in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD."

2. "This is quite absurd!" scoffs Marcel Marceau , taking a sip of Bollinger '86. "We toil day in and day out keeping this country running, and this is the thanks we get? Newspapers snooping around our personal business, questioning what we need to do our jobs. We incur certain, necessary expenses that may look odd when taken out of context – and that's just what the media is doing! They're distorting the facts just to boost their ratings. Well, I say their prying eyes have gone too far. We need to outlaw this underhanded 'reporting' for the sake of the patriotic values that made this nation great!"

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#308: Over, Under or Through? [Platform VII; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
After recent economic growth, ferry links with the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Barrier Islands are struggling to cope under the increasing volume of commuters and cargo.

The Debate
1. "A government's first duty is to its people," says Marcel Marceau , head of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Highways Agency. "The best way to serve the people is to encourage auto traffic by building bridges. With bridges we can not only serve the residential needs, but the commercial too. True, it will take a few years of construction and there's bound to be some environmental impact, but that's the price of progress."

2. "Some environmental impact?" questions Marcel Marceau , your Minister of the Environment. "More bridges means more traffic, which means more pollution. What we need to do is build a rail tunnel. One train can carry more cargo than many trucks and with my electric train design, it'll be much more eco-friendly. Of course the government will have to subsidize it to keep the prices reasonable, but the benefit to the environment is worth it."

3. "More government involvement isn't what we need," says Marcel Marceau , the CEO of Ferry Nice. "We're in this mess because the government can't keep up with the times. Let the private sector run these docks, and watch how quickly it turns around. Of course, it wouldn't hurt to raise the limit of how many passengers each boat can take."

4. "Halt this at once!" yells Marcel Marceau , a pitchfork wielding island resident. "What about us? Did you ever once stop to ask if the residents wanted all this commotion? Well we don't! We like our islands nice and quiet just the way Mother Nature made them."

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#309: Guerrilla Grandparents [Luna Amore; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
In response to the recent government mandate to execute anyone over the age of 65, an insurgency of highly organized and skilled (albeit slow) senior citizens bombed a national government building. Following the explosion, the leader of the insurgents issued an 8mm reel of demands.

The Debate
1. ''We won't stand for this tomfoolery,'' barks a shadowy figure who only identifies himself as Logan, ''Do you know how many wars we've fought for you ungrateful whippersnappers? We built this country, and now because we don't fit into your fancy budget, you're trying to kill us! Well no more! If you don't cease this genocidal nonsense AND give us back our pensions, we, Logan's Runners, will wage all-out war on @@CAPITAL@@!”

2. ''They won't be 'standing' for anything when I'm done with them,'' threatens Major General Marcel Marceau . ''We can't allow this kind of insubordination. Your country needs a strong leader who's willing to back up their mandates – with force if necessary. God help anyone who stands in our way. Provide me with the necessary funds and give my men the authority to search anywhere they please, and I'll smoke out these traitorous geezers like the filthy rats they are!''

3. "Alright, we were a little excessive with that law," admits Marcel Marceau , your Minister of Finance, "But we can't just reverse it and go back to the horror days of gold-plated pensions. The budget can't handle it! We'll nix the death squads, and the elderly will be allowed to live, but only in our government approved facilities. They'll be given only what they need to survive, and we'll avoid a budgetary crisis."

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#310: Too Little Talk? [Panageadom; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Opposition newspapers have accused the government of abusing its control over the filibuster ban, which it can use to limit the length of legislative debate. You have consulted multiple people in search of solutions.

The Debate
1. "Now, now, my friend," smiles the weathiest CEO in the @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ industry, reclining in a shady corner, "We simply can't have a few radicals dictate government policy to us. After all, we do know what's best, don't we? First it's this reform, next it's a slew of unproductive economic policies, and then before you know it they're limiting campaign donations. You can see that some issues have no merit, and are simply not worthy of debate. Perhaps we should even halt the debate before such silliness even begins...?" The CEO hands you a wad of @@CURRENCY@@s. "You agree. Now there's a good leader."

2. "I think we can all see the benefits of the filibuster ban," says political science professor, Marcel Marceau . "But it's also true that putting it in the hands of the reigning party coalition is a dangerous centralisation of power. Why not simply have an independent, representative committee to decide what issues are worthy of a lengthy debate? It might be a tad erratic in its priorities, but at least it would give the power back to the people. That's a good thing, right?"

3. "The government, all the way up to @@LEADER@@, has used this ban as a way to control parliament," declares Opposition Whip Marcel Marceau , speaking from the Floor, "They're perfectly happy to let debates about the most inconsequential of matters rage on for hours, but when it comes to a serious discussion of @@LEADER@@'s murky ties to prominent members of the @@MAJORINDUSTRY@@ industry or policies genuinely aimed at helping the general public, rather than a select few, the debate comes to a quick close. We must overturn the filibuster ban, post-haste. And I think it is clear to all who suffers from this. That's right, my friends, ladies and gentlemen, casual onlookers, convenient family members, cultural attachés, politically active tourists and constituents, both loyal and traitorous to the greater cause; the people. The people suffer the injustices of a government pandering to its corporate cronies, its oligarchic overlords, its necessary nepotists, if you will. They suffer the delirious - ah - deleterious effects of a government sans filibuster, sans fairness, sans freedom! This ridiculous policy ignores the fact that some things require longer and more serious deliberation - as does, indeed, this very issue. But I am diverging from my abundantly clear point, supported by the voices of a thousand-song crowd outside this very building. And while we might quibble over the numbers - a thousand, I hear you cry? Tens - hundreds! - of thousands, surely? But this ignores the fundamental spirit of the times - zeitgeist, if you will - that we stand against this filibuster ban clearly and unwaveringly. Anyway, a discussion of the genuinely humanitarian policies my party espouses, which require a debate of adequate length for the complexities of which to be fully understood, are quickly relegated as the government trots out its latest quick-fix or vote-snatching policy. Now, to move onto my second point of four-hundred-and-thirty-eight of my first speech - I will, of course, pass over to my comrade on the bench in due course." The security guards by the door notice your discreet signal and step quietly towards the Whip's podium. "Perhaps we should investigate further… excuse me…?" stammers the Whip, as your guards gingerly carry him away. "Ah … yes, thank you for your time."

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#311: Victims Demand Their Pound of Flesh [Frisbeeteria; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
A recent article in The @@CAPITAL@@ Naysayer has exposed a dirty little secret: prison wardens have been quietly selling the organs from executed criminals and pocketing the proceeds. Enraged citizens, particularly victim's rights organizations, demand retribution.

The Debate
1. "These murderers took away took away our families and our futures", cries Victims of Violence chapter head Marcel Marceau , holding a black-draped family photo. "The court ordered restitution, but most criminals have no money. These wardens are stealing the only thing of value these criminals still have: their organs! Give surviving family members the remuneration from these sales. It's the very least you can do after all we've suffered."

2. "We have also lost family to murders and nothing will bring them back to our loving arms", weeps Marcel Marceau , a member of Victims for a Just Society. "Monetary reimbursement can't replace what we have lost, but perhaps others can benefit from our loss. We must expand the list of capital crimes to discourage criminals from committing any crimes at all, while providing a substantial source of new organs to our hospitals. Criminals can repay society by helping the ailing victims of organ failure. Let transplant survivors be our memorial!"

3. A serene voice from the back commands the crowd's attention. "My children, we cannot relieve violence with violence", intones Marcel Marceau , Roshi of @@CAPITAL@@ Zendo, sitting zazen. "The solution lies not with taming corrupt officials, but within ourselves. We should not be killing these criminals; we should be leading them. Our prisons should hire counsellors and sensei to guide them to a better path of penance and good works. Prisoners can return life with life by tending our crops and feeding the hungry. We must end capital punishment, for the betterment of our own inner light. Only then will we truly find peace."

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#312: The Empire Strikes First? [Maleperduys; ed:Sedgistan]

The Issue
Reports indicate that several neighbouring nations are engaged in major weapons programs in contravention of international law and treaty, focusing public discourse on THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's foreign policy - specifically, its position on preemptive strikes.

The Debate
1. "We need to hit back hard at these terrorist scumbags!" roars General Marcel Marceau , his face turning purple. "I say that we treat any illegal weapons program by these nations as an act of war! Granted, a preemptive strike will likely cause a war, but if these foreigners won't abide by international agreement, they have to be kept in line, for the good of our @@TYPE@@."

2. Diplomatic bureaucrat Marcel Marceau remarks calmly, "There's no need to go off half-cocked. It would be much better if we used some international body - the World Assembly, say, or a @@REGION@@ tribunal - to investigate these rumours objectively for us. That way we have the international community on our side, and no one can accuse us of playing judge and jury. It will be well worth the extra diplomatic costs and bureaucratic red tape."

3. "If these countries don't respect international law, why would they respect international agencies?" wonders political analyst Marcel Marceau . "Our neighbours are acquiring these weapons for a reason - because no one wants to pick a fight with a country that has weapons of mass destruction. The solution is simple - if we have WMDs of our own, they won't dare to strike at us. It may seen mad, but in this crazy world, it's the sanest thing we could do."

4. Noted pacifist and tambourine artist Marcel Marceau replies, "As usual our nation's proud leaders can only see violent solutions to our problems abroad. Wouldn't it be refreshing if they focused on achieving peace through communication and accommodation, rather than force of arms? You may call me a dreamer, but I'm not the only one – wait, sorry, I've heard that somewhere before."

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#313: Conscientious Objectors Want You... To Let Them Abstain [Great Nepal; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
A religious scholar was recently arrested over refusing to serve in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's Armed Services on moral grounds. Small – but very vocal – demonstrations have started over compulsory military service and a citizen's right to be a conscientious objector.

The Debate
1. "Conscription flies in the face of my religion," declares Marcel Marceau , Grand Poobah of the Order of Maxx. "It clearly states in our holy book that 'Thou mayest not blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy'. The devout of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD should have the option to opt out of service. We were put here to bring peace to the world, not destroy it!"

2. "I can't believe you are still listening to these spineless liberals!" yells Field Marshal Marcel Marceau . "You let these crazy zealots have their way and we'll find ourselves open to all sorts threats. Bigtopia would have a field day. Let's remind these wackos who's in charge."

3. "We hardly need to be so black and white about it," interrupts Marcel Marceau , your Churchmaster General. "These people don't want to kill? It's against their 'beliefs'? So we won't make them. There are plenty of jobs in military that don't involve pulling a trigger. If they still object, well, let's just say there's no shortage of prison cells."

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#315: Creative Flowers Withering Under Legislation [Panageadom; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
Following a record number of affirmative action lawsuits last month, the creative minds, radio personalities and actors of THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD have to come to your office demanding the government take action.

The Debate
1. "It simply won't do, darling!" opines melodramatic director Marcel Marceau , sprawled magnificently across a sofa, "The creative arts simply cannot function without a healthy dash of social criticism. How can fine humor work without the blonde bombshells, bumbling Bigtopians and blustering bureaucrats? And yet I cannot hire them, for fear of discrimination lawsuits. Pah! The government must protect artists' right to freely choose whom to include - and whom to ridicule - in their work. After all, everyone knows not too take it too seriously..."

2. "Why should the entertainment industry receive special treatment?" bellows conservative talk-show host, Marcel Marceau . "People should have the freedom to insult or employ whoever they like. That's a privilege everyone should enjoy, not just a bunch of artsy leftists. What gives the government the right to tell me what I can or cannot say on my show? Besides, what sane man on Earth would hire one of those dodgy Maxtopians?"

3. "No! You can't let this happen!" screams actress Susan Simmer, infamous for her dismissal from a hit TV show for being "incredibly ugly". "Society gets its opinions about what's acceptable from the TV these days. That's where we need to be toughest about stamping out discrimination! I say any writer or director who won't toe the line should be thrown in jail! It's the only way to prevent decadent backsliding and stamp out racism for the sake of future generations!"

4. "I believe it's time for the government to step in and take control," hisses notoriously shifty advisor, Marcel Marceau , stepping out of a shadowy corner. "If we were to hire writers to produce scripts with the "correct" subtexts and broadcast them over state-owned radio and television, we could solve all the problems at hand. We would be employing writers, but – more importantly - we'd be spearheading the development of a fiercely loyal citizenry."

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#316: Fortified Against Crime [Praedico; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Owing to high crime rates, wealthy residents of several cities are asking for permission to build walls around their neighborhoods and employ private security to keep the peace. Several advocacy groups have gathered in your office to lobby regarding gated communities.

The Debate
1. "Crime rates in our city have sky-rocketed recently," says distressed investment banker, Marcel Marceau , "And we think we should be allowed to shelter ourselves from the criminal hordes with armed private security. We've got contractor bids in place for a sturdy, steel-reinforced wall with electrified razor wire and poisoned barbs. Oh, and lasers - got to have lasers! Granted, it probably won't reduce the crime rate in the rest of the city, but frankly, that's not our problem."

2. "Of course it's your problem," says Marcel Marceau , police chief of @@CAPITAL@@. "If you reduce the crime rate in the whole city, you won't need walls and private guards. Even you rich types have to come out occasionally, if only to take in the theatre or attend a gala or whatever it is you do. Mansion owners would probably end up paying more in increased taxes than they would for private security, but they'd be helping others too, so I can't see why they'd have a problem with that."

3. "Well, I do have a problem with that!" shouts a stock broker, helping himself to a couple of cigars from the box on your desk. "The rich are overtaxed as it is. Why, I've only been able to afford two new cars this year! However, I think this proposal has got things backwards. What we should be doing is walling up the inner cities to keep the criminal types inside. With the poor confined to ghettos, normal people could go about their business in peace. No need to raise taxes: just take the funds from public transport or something. It's not as if the poor will be needing to travel any more."

4. "Down with the rich!" cries working-class protester Marcel Marceau , jumping on your desk and waving a red flag. "They shouldn't be allowed to set up their own pocket kingdoms! What about the rest of us, huh? We're not all criminals just because we're poor! Most of the rich are bigger criminals than any burglar could be anyway. The police should concentrate on arresting them. They couldn't complain about being robbed if they were all in prison, could they?" While being forcibly removed by your guards, she adds, "Oh, and reduce taxes on the poor while you're at it."

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#317: Big Brother Is Watching You Surf [Vintaland; ed:The Most Glorious Hack]

The Issue
Advisers from THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's security services have created a small piece of spyware that they would like to install on every computer in the nation so they can track activity.

The Debate
1. "For the good of all," claims Department of Protection head Marcel Marceau . "This tiny little program will simply collect data and send it via the internet to one of our databases. Nobody will even notice that it's there. Besides, who's gonna notice a handful of bytes under mountains of stolen MP3s? Just give us the green light and we'll be rounding up terrorists faster than you can say 'lolcat'! And, hey, while we're at it, we could even use it to alert people when there's danger!"

2. "Are you insane?" shouts privacy advocate Marcel Marceau . "Our @@CURRENCY@@s pay for our computers; they're not the government's property! The last thing we need is the government poking its big, fat nose into our business. Keep the government's hands off my harddrive! What's next? Brain implants? Leave my brainwaves alone, you jack-booted thugs!"

3. "While 'tis not my place," says Amish farmer Marcel Marceau , "I just thought I'd mention that we Amish don't have any of this so-called 'cyber-crime'. Aye, 'tis a boring life, and plowin' gets old, but abolishing all of those computer-machines would certainly solve thy problems. Perhaps ye should just abandon phones and fax machines, too. Then ye'll be on your way to livin' in an Amish paradise!"

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#319: Sizing Up The Competition [Cosumar; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
After a recent conversion mistake cost a government research project millions in @@CURRENCY@@s, THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's scientists have come to you begging for the country to switch to the metric system.

The Debate
1. "Our measurement system is a complete disaster!" wails renowned chemist Marcel Marceau as she storms into your office. "We're stuck using primitive and illogical measurements like 'fingers' or 'donkeypower' or 'MegaFonzie'. It's too much! Nearly every other nation has converted to the metric system. Think of how much it would help our communication with other countries. It'll cost a few @@CURRENCY@@s to convert, but it'll be cheaper than the mistakes our system is causing!"

2. "Primitive? How dare that lab rat say such a thing!" spits infamous patriot Marcel Marceau . "They're not just measurements; they're part of our cultural heritage. Where would we be without our attoparsecs, hogsheads, or shakes of a @@ANIMAL@@'s tail? You want to throw that all away because some scientists are too lazy to do their jobs correctly. Give the taxpayers a break and ignore these eggheads."

3. "This. This is a crossroads." states noted avant garde artist Marcel Marceau . "This idea that we can standardize how people look at the world with words, it's a fool's errand. Everything's relative, man. We need to stop trying to control the world and just live. Imagine how happy our nation'd be with no measurements." He pauses to puff on a pipe. "No time like the present, @@LEADER@@. No time."

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#320: Criminals to Vote? [Iglesian Archipelago; ed:Sanctaria]

The Issue
Following recent elections in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD where the Equality for Vilified Inmates League won a noticeable percentage of seats, the media have jumped on the issue of whether or not prisoners should be allowed to vote.

The Debate
1. "This is absurd!", argues conservative politician, Marcel Marceau "Why should criminals be allowed to participate in elections like normal people? Voting should be a privilege for the law-abiding members of this country. If someone breaks the law, they must lose the right to have a say in who governs them. At the very least it'll be a good deterrent."

2. "You're not going to listen to that clap-trap I hope", says noted liberal commentator @RANDOMNAME@@. "Voting is a right that everyone should enjoy, regardless of whether or not they have committed a crime. We already punish those who break our law; restricting one's ability to vote is a punishment totally disproportionate to any crime!"

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#321: Cowboys and... Aliens? [Carlosianor; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
A gang of rough-riders has been policing towns along THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's border, rounding up illegal aliens and "escorting" them back home.

The Debate
1. "Who do these thugs think they are?" asks popular liberal blogger Marcel Marceau . "The police should be the only ones handling border control! If we leave it in the hands of wild frontiersmen, immigrants will be herded and probed like @@ANIMAL@@s! It's despicable, it's degrading, and it must be stopped!"

2. "Why, we just helpin' our community, is all," drawls the self-proclaimed sheriff of the cowboy gang, Harry Fjord, as he slides off his saddle to shake your hand. "Matta'fact, we're helpin' the gov'ment as well, enforcin' border control and keepin' yer towns safe from them these illegals. I can handle m'boys, so don't you worry 'bout a thing."

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#322: Empathy a Rare Commodity? [The Cookish States; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
Last week, a jaywalking man was hit by a truck in a busy intersection. He lay there for seventeen hours before a policeman tripped over him and brought him to jail for loitering.

The Debate
1."This is despicable!" yelps one lone protester, desperately trying to get others involved. "How low have we sunk that we care so little for our fellow man? The answer is as plain as the nose on your face. You must create an Empathy Awareness Squad. They would train people on how to be kind to and empathize with one another. Sure, it'll require some extra taxes, but can you really put a price on kindness? I mean, what if YOU get hit by a truck next time?"

2."Good riddance!" scoffs Marcel Marceau , a sullen, disgruntled postal worker. "I think we should give the policeman who arrested that freeloader a medal! Mandatory empathy programs? Ha! No amount of touchy-feely 'training' is gonna make me empathize with these idiots. This is just nature's way of weeding out the weak and infirm. In fact, we should cut what social spoon-feeding programs we've got left. Give your good and decent citizens a tax break."

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#323: Get Teens out of MyFace? [Malsitar; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
After the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a young blond girl made national headlines in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, the concerned parenting organization Mothers Against Youth Doing Stupid Stuff (MAYDSS) has raised concerns over the use of social networking sites by the nation's teens.

The Debate
1."Teens should not be allowed to use social networking!" cries the girl's mother, Marcel Marceau . "Some creep added my little darling as a 'friend' on that awful website, and he used it to get all of her personal information and track her down! Obviously, the only sane course of action is to ban all legal minors from using social networking sites! And don't just stop at social networks: block everything else that MAYDSS doesn't approve of!"

2."Why that's utterly preposterous!" shouts Luke Zuckermann, founder of MyFace, a popular social networking site. "You can't restrict people like that! Oh, sure, today it's keeping teens from lining my wa- I mean - accessing my website, but tomorrow it's keeping everyone from anywhere the government doesn't like! I say free up the web, and get rid of restrictions!"

3."You know, there's always a compromise," says local pervert Marcel Marceau while watching you from a nearby tree. "As I see it, the best way to keep both sides of the argument happy is to remove all restrictions on what adults can view and increase restrictions on minors. But at the same time, lower the age of majority by a lot. What could possibly go wrong?"

4."What could possibly go wrong, you ask?" panics your paranoid cousin, Marcel Marceau . "On the internet, nobody knows your actual age. It's a haven for malicious anonymity! Besides, children aren't the only people at risk on the internet. It's full of negative content. We're better off without it."

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#324: "Tourism Tanking!" Tells Tabloids [Panageadom; ed:Lenyo]

The Issue
Following a public safety disaster of unimaginable magnitude - so extreme that members of your government only mention it in hushed voices, and only then in the vaguest of terms - THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's tourism industry has hit the rocks. Commentators from all walks of life have come to your office to offer their opinions.

The Debate
1."The government has to step in and do something, for once!" demands tour operator Marcel Marceau , visibly pulling her hair out. "If we'd had proper railings on the marina, that shark would never have gotten into the oil refinery in the first place! The government has to put better regulations in place to make sure disasters of this kind never happen again. And if we want to coax back the tourists we've lost, we need a whole bunch of new state-subsidised hotels, parks and tourist attractions. Shark-proof ones. Our economy will never survive without it!"

2."Why waste more money?" grumbles middle-aged industrialist Marcel Marceau , chomping on a fat cigar, "Look. I'm as sorry as the next schmuck for those poor farmers' ant epidemic. But we've got to realise that tourism is just not THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD's strong suit; and that's not going to change, no matter how much the state spends. Hell, if the government really wanted to do something to fix our economy, it'd be to give everyone a healthy tax-cut and get rid of some of that environmental legislation - set up for the benefit of a bunch of tree-hugging foreigners, I might add."

3."I think I've got another solution to this problem," says your shadiest government advisor, waving a magazine spread of bathing beauties sunning themselves at the @@CAPITAL@@ Grand Regent. "Now we're not goin' to be able to hide the fact that THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is now covered in pink frosting, but... what if the inspectors an' tour guides an' all those types of folks just didn't notice all that mess? After all, we don't have the money to clear it all up, but I think we do have just about enough to dangle a few dinars in front of anyone who wants to give our nation a good review. After all, a few firm golden handshakes never hurt no-one."

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#325: Blazing Through the Paper Trail [Euphilium; ed:Luna Amore]

The Issue
Follow a recent fire in the National Archive, which destroyed thousands of important documents, several vocal representatives have approached you with solutions.

The Debate
1."We're got to face facts: technology has advanced beyond physical record-keeping," councils Marcel Marceau , the PR representative for Eastern Electronic. "Digital records are easier to maintain and easier to back up. Our company can facilitate the switch from the archaic paper records to the sleek, new electronic system. There is the slight risk of electronic tampering, but our security systems are more than capable."

2."Now, hold on a second. What about us?" asks Marcel Marceau , the CEO of a national paper supplier. "We might not have the flash of an electronic system, but I'll tell you what we do have: quality customer service. You're saying fires are bad. Well, we hear you loud and clear. Stick with us and not only will we make physical copies of all the files to store in different locales, but I'll get my research team to whip up some fire-resistant paper too. Let's see those IT poindexters do all that!"

3."No, no, no. It's all too dangerous!" screams Marcel Marceau , dressed only in a cured @@ANIMAL@@ hide. "Paper can be destroyed by fire or floods, and electronic copies are susceptible to viruses and hackers! There's only one way to truly keep our records safe. We must rerecord them on stone tablets. Fire can't destroy them, and I'd like to see someone hack a piece of granite!"

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#326: Knitters In A Knot Over Police Stitch Up [Tsaraine; ed: Sanctaria]

The Issue
After a peaceful public knitting class was dispersed by riot police, the citizenry are up in arms at what they perceive as unnecessary police brutality.

The Debate
1."With all due respect, @@LEADER@@, you weren't there, so you don't know the full story", your police chief states candidly. "These thugs were loitering in Rat Park brandishing weapons! They were up to something - mark my words! Besides, if it wasn't for our brave police officers, who knows what kind of damage they could have caused. We've got to come down hard on thugs like these and ban groups comprising of three or more people. That'll stop any troublemaking, I'm sure of it!"

2."Weapons? WEAPONS? They were knitting needles you imbecile!" shouts Marcel Marceau , the elderly President of the Polluted Slavery Knitting League, brandishing a pair of pins in the direction of the police chief. "The only thugs in Rat Park that day were the riot police - protectors of public safety my royal rump! They fired rubber bullets at us without any warning. Rubber bullets! And I only out of the hospital after getting my hip replacement. You MUST do something about these trigger-happy hooligans. Clearly if they can't tell the difference between criminals and geriatrics they need retraining!"

3."Retraining the entire police force would cost far too much", your financial advisor says quietly, appearing from behind your chair. "That being said, the crazy lady with the woolly hat is right, we do have to do something about this situation. We can't have the police force appear brutal and unruly. What we should do is ban all sorts of dangerous weapons. That way the police force won't have to worry about dangerous thugs with guns, and the public can rest easy knowing the police force won't be able to brutally attack them either. And we can get rid of the riot police too as they clearly won't be needed, which saves us money! Everybody wins!"

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#327: No Rest For The Weary @@ANIMAL@@ [Black and Brindle; ed: Sedgistan]

The Issue
With the popularity of @@ANIMAL@@ racing in THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD booming, the growing number of retired racing @@ANIMAL@@s being abandoned on the streets has become harder to ignore. As irresistibly cute pictures of sad-looking @@ANIMAL@@s fill up the pages of newspapers, the time has come for government action.

The Debate
1. "We're overflowing with @@ANIMAL@@s here!" exclaims Marcel Marceau , owner of the Sunrise @@ANIMAL@@ Retirement Lodge. "And we just don't get enough donations from the public to house them all. We're now facing a choice between turning away @@ANIMAL@@s, or putting them down. It's the @@ANIMAL@@ racing industry's fault we're in this situation - make them pay for homing the @@ANIMAL@@s they cast off."

2. "Not far enough!" declares animal-rights protestor Marcel Marceau , wearing a @@ANIMAL@@ costume to show her sympathy for their plight. "There's only one reason that @@ANIMAL@@s get abandoned in the first place, and that reason is @@ANIMAL@@ racing. These poor creatures get cooped up in a cage all day and are virtually starved so they race well, all to line the pockets of some avaricious gambling bosses. The solution is obvious - ban @@ANIMAL@@ racing!"

3. "Hold on! @@NATIONNAME@@ has a powerhouse Gambling Industry – do you really want to give it all up because of some @@ANIMAL@@s?" asks Marcel Marceau , owner of the @@CAPITAL@@ @@ANIMAL@@ Stadium. "What we need is less regulation - so we can race the animals more often, and draw more punters in. Besides, the @@ANIMAL@@s love to race - at least compared to the beatings."

4. "There's a better solution to this all," suggests animal shelter volunteer Marcel Marceau , as she fixes a leash to a @@ANIMAL@@. "There is a problem, but it isn't with the @@ANIMAL@@ racing industry; it's that not enough people are adopting @@ANIMAL@@s. All we need is a national campaign to persuade people to adopt a @@ANIMAL@@ - and you can set them an example!" Handing you a grizzled old @@ANIMAL@@, she finishes, "Here's Buddy."

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#328: Bugged by Lack of Intelligence [Mediterreania; ed: Sanctaria]

The Issue
A naval frigate from THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD was recently ambushed by a rival navy in the international waters of @@REGION@@. Security analysts have admitted that faulty intelligence was to blame and are now insisting that something be done to prevent a situation like this happening again.

The Debate
1."The best way to gain accurate intelligence is when it's in transit," says Marcel Marceau , a communications technician from the @@NAMEINITIALS@@SA, while hunched over a computer. "Think of the information the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Security Agency could get from telephone calls, emails, radio chatter, even internet browsing history! All we would need are satellites, servers, algorithms, and quality mathematicians to intercept them. It might be costly, but you don't want another embarrassing incident, do you?"

2."We don't need to spend so much money on technology when we can rely on manpower," says Director Marcel Marceau , head of the THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Intelligence Agency, while putting on a pair of black shades. "Can a computer gain a leader's trust? Can a telephone stop a terrorist? We need inside men around every foreign diplomat, general and guerrilla this side of @@REGION@@!"

3."Speaking of inside men…" says an unnamed secret service agent, stepping out of the shadows, "How do we know they haven't infiltrated our intelligence services? Think about it, how else would they know our plans and convoy routes? Spies and insurgents -- now they are the real problem; a problem I can get rid of if you let me launch a secret investigation with, eh, secret results.

4."I know of a cheaper option," says your intern, lifelessly scrolling through whistleblowing site KwikiLeaks. "Why bother spending so much on the intelligence services here, when whistleblowers from others are posting all their information online? You could just set up some 'game rooms' for bored, tech-savvy kids. Make a game out of finding useful electronic intelligence and reward them with pizza or something."