A particularly bad spate of bombings, hijackings and snake attacks aboard airline flights has crippled the air travel industry in @@NAME@@. The government has convened to discuss possible ways of improving airport security.
1. "It's a no-brainer," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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!"
The Result: frequent fliers are obliged to submit to invasive security procedures by government security.
Law Enforcement +2
Safety From Crime +1
2. "You want to put people with GUNS on aeroplanes?!" asks @@RANDOMNAME@@, a security guard at @@RANDOMNAME@@ 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!"
The Result: airport security is provided by private companies.
3. "We don't need no copper protectin' us! We can look after our own hides!" laughs @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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 @@NAME@@ like he owns the place then he's got another thing coming, ha!"
The Result: bombs are permitted on planes for the 'security of the passengers'.
4. "I only wanted to tour @@REGION@@ for a few w-weeks," wails @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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!"
The Result: the wreckages of bombed planes that litter NATION are highly popular tourist destinations.
Civil Rights +5
5. "Let's just ban all planes!" shouts @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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!"
The Result: aeroplanes have been converted into housing units after all air travel was outlawed.
#255: Welfare Programs Not Faring Well [Glen-Rhodes; ed:Glen-Rhodes]
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.
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."
The Result: suit-clad businessmen have been taking advantage of the relaxed welfare qualifications by shopping with food stamps.
2. "The current system is not very efficient, I'll admit," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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."
The Result: the welfare administration’s new sweeping authority has forced the poor and needy to shop from pre-approved grocery lists.
Civil Rights -1
3. "Get the free-loaders off the government teat!" shouts conservative activist, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "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."
The Result: penurious citizens die from easily remedied ailments because they aren't 'taking enough initiative'.
Wealth Gaps +17
4. "He has a point," says popular political pundit @@RANDOMNAME@@. "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?"
The Result: the government is using tax revenues to provide jobs for the poor.
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 @@RANDOMNAME@@. "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."
The Result: the government enforces a policy of 'from each according to their ability, to each according to the available budget'.
Economy -14 (about -5 in better developed nations)
#258: What's In A Name? [Zombitosis; ed:Sirocco]
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.
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."
The Result: parents must choose their children's names from a government-mandated master list.
Civil Rights -1
Ideological Radicality +2
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?"
The Result: ANIMAL is one of the most popular forenames in NATION.
3. "Names? Names are so inefficient!" Says Five-Oh-Three McGoohan, counting beads. "Who can honestly tell one @@RANDOMNAME@@ 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?"
The Result: all citizens are solely referenced by their allocated identity number.
Civil Rights -1 (or 0 in some nations)
#260: Taxpayers On Strike! [Makinsanity; ed:Kandarin]
The latest budget reports have marked a steady decline in @@NAME@@'s monthly income. A study initiated by your treasurers has revealed that many of your nation's citizens are not paying their taxes.
1. "Damn right we're not!" exclaims @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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."
The Result: the government has cut taxes in the face of widespread tax evasion.
2. "@@NAME@@ can't survive when people don't pay their taxes!" retorts @@RANDOMNAME@@, the head of @@NAME@@'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."
The Result: the police crack down on tax evaders without mercy.
Law Enforcement +1
3. "Scum is such a harsh word. Everyone has something worthwhile to contribute, as my mother always said." says @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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."
The Result: tax evaders are regularly visited by agents of the NATION Blood Tithe.
Civil Rights -3
#262: Sticks And Stones [Zwangzug; ed:Sirocco]
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 @@NAME@@, 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.
1. "I can't believe we're even debating this," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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."
The Result: a fashion designer has been arrested for inciting hatred after claiming redheads couldn't pull off vermillion.
Civil Rights -2
Political Freedoms -2
2. "Words by themselves can't hurt anyone," counters @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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."
The Result: violently opinionated speakers can be heard preaching their hateful views on every street corner.
Civil Rights +2
Political Freedoms +7
3. "I agree to an extent," ventures @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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."
The Result: the government is promoting multicultural values with the new 'Just Be Nice, OK?' initiative.
Civil Rights +2
Political Freedoms +10
#264: Not A Drop To Drink [Vincon; ed:Kandarin]
@@NAME@@ 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.
1. "We have no choice but to ration water," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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."
The Result: fewer people are bathing as citizens must show ration stamps before they can turn on their faucets.
Civil Rights -4
2. "You think too small," sighs Foreign Secretary @@RANDOMNAME@@, between sips from a sparkling bottle of gourmet dihydrogen monoxide. "@@NAME@@ 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 @@NAME@@, a little tax money or their most basic physical needs? Our neighbors wouldn't dream of cutting off the water, right?"
The Result: almost all of NATION's water is piped into the country from abroad for exorbitant prices.
Taxes +1 (or 0 in smaller nations)
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!"
The Result: NATION's newly-famous raindances to summon storms instead attract tourists from all over the REGION.
#273: Is our children learning? [Panageadom; ed:Lenyo]
When a relatively minor official in your government vowed to increase the standard of education in @@NAME@@, the press came knocking on your door to ask how this might actually be done.
1. "It's all a question of money," says veteran teacher @@RANDOMNAME@@, "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."
The Result: students cut up leftover CURRENCYs during Arts and Crafts.
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 @@NAME@@ that stops this school from being great," says Headmaster @@RANDOMNAME@@, "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. "
The Result: rag-wearing teachers are often mistaken for homeless people.
3. "I think specialization is the way to go," says your defense minister, standing arm in arm with a bishop of @@FAITH@@ and @@NAME@@'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."
The Result: NATION's schoolchildren are manufactured into a segregated bunch of soldiers, religious zealots, and computer technicians.
Civil Rights -2
4. "As we've proven in the past, the free market can manage this far better than the public sector," says market-analyst @@RANDOMNAME@@, "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."
The Result: wealthy students ride to school past mendicant dropouts.
#275: Wiki Worries [Maurepas; ed:Lenyo]
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. @@NAME@@'s leaders are sharply divided on how to respond.
1. "This man has done no wrong!" says @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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?"
The Result: the "Underwear of Women in Power" issue of THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER is sold out
Civil rights +1
Political freedoms +6
Ideological Radicality +13
Political Apathy -5
Social Conservatism -1
Youth Rebelliousness -1
2. "El Denunciante is a terrorist and has committed treason," argues reactionary talk radio host @@RANDOMNAME@@. "The fact is, he has consistently presented an anti-@@NAME@@ 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?"
The Result: popular websites like NationStates are blocked for "national security"
Political Freedoms -12
3. "This seems like a lot of needless work, if you ask me," says @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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!"
The Result: the Ministry of Truthiness now manages the entire media industry.
Civil Rights -1
Political Freedoms -16
#276: Circus Clowns Cause Chaos! [Sanctaria; ed:Maurepas]
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.
1. "Kill them! Kill them all! Or… you know, just ban them", opines noted sociologist @@RANDOMNAME@@. "Better yet, why not ban all circuses from @@NAME@@! 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!"
The Result: strange looking men with big red noses are found hiding behind bushes and inside dustbins.
Civil Rights -3
2. "Banning clowns is a little extreme, if you ask me", inputs your Minister for Culture, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "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!"
The Result: students are wary of colorfully decorated new teachers with names like Professor Pipsqueak.
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!"
The Result: clowns are being rounded up and admitted to mental institutions.
#280: Oh the Humanity! [Prevania; ed:Reploid Productions]
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.
1. @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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."
The Result: the airship business has been driven out of the country by strict regulations and high fines.
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 @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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!"
The Result: airship use has soared while property values beneath their routes have plummeted.
3. "Tiny mishap? TINY MISHAP?" screams @@RANDOMNAME@@, 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!"
The Result: the new hit series "NATION's Got Trauma" has corporate executives fleeing the country.