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The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Registering for a Citizen Seat.

Name: Rutherford T. Vanderbush

Age: 74

Background: Although he'll never claim to have started from nothing--the Vanderbushes were comfortably established well before he was born--it was undoubtedly Rutherford's outstanding business acumen that took Apex Industries from a moderately successful manufacturer to a household name on Sirta, with subsidiaries scattered across the former colonies of the Revolution of 3026, the largest privately-owned enterprise on the planet. Pragmatic, skeptical, and self-confident, he tends to keep his own counsel, in a very literal sense--Apex Industries is ultimately controlled by Rutherford himself, and a 'governing board' consisting entirely of his own AMRs, all overseeing different aspects of the company, and an unwillingness to give up control is a significant part of why it remains privately owned.

In the Vallten and years, Apex Industries did considerable business with the government for energy and infrastructure contracts, although corruption meant that while profitable, the actual end product was not up to the standards to which the company has held itself on other worlds. With the advent of the Greene administration, the Governing Board determined that the political situation was untenable, and turned to quietly supplying the rebels.

Beliefs: Rutherford is of the belief that what's good for Apex is good for Sirta--but vice versa as well. As a result he takes an extraordinarily long view on most issues--a tax cut might make for a good quarter, but if it makes for a weaker Sirta, that will ultimately have a negative impact down the line, and is therefore unacceptable. He thinks that there is no company better suited to fulfill the nation's needs than Apex Industries, and is always looking ahead to the next problem, making investments that it might be better positioned to fulfill those needs as they arise. While he does give a considerable sum to philanthropy, viewing it as a responsibility that comes along with his wealth, his habitual doubt of the motives and competence of others means he is vehemently against any kind of large-scale redistribution of wealth.


The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

From the Desk of Rutherford Vanderbush

While I am not yet ready to cast my ballot at this juncture, I would like to express my appreciation for the Forward Development Group's decision to articulate clear policy goals. Revolutionary sloganeering may be satisfying, and I can understand the appeal of campaigning on high ideals, there are facts that must be faced. High spirits and camaraderie will not repair our economy, patriotic fervor will not halt the decay of our infrastructure, and wishful thinking will not eliminate corruption.

Therefore, on behalf of all the citizens of Sirta, I humbly request that each party state three policy proposals that they will seek to enact in this historic first session of the Parliament.

Thank you,

Rutherford T. Vanderbush

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Shogeton posted:

Now, here's a question to the SRLF. Would you object to trading relations with the wider galaxy, including coorporations, if this trade is kept 'at arm's length'. For example, than owning business on the planet, the trading would be done by administrators by the democratically elected government, under close auspices to prevent irregularities and corruption?

I certainly cannot speak for the SRLF, but I cannot see this proposal as anything but hopelessly unworkable. To take an example, there has been a great deal of talk of the need for the revitalization of Sirta's aging railway system, an endeavor I wholeheartedly support. Hypothetically, were Apex Industries to win that bid, we would be sourcing a great deal of the materials from abroad--some of which, yes, could be sourced domestically. But Sirta is not a heavily industrial planet--were we to rely on domestic sources, both the costs and time required would skyrocket, leading to a greater cost to Sirta as a whole, and costing the economy its growth. But as I believe both you and the SRLF would agree, that does not mean that we should simply abandon any effort to develop a domestic extraction industry. It should be fostered for the betterment of all of Sirta.

Your proposal would constantly be inundated with such decisions, and indeed would be tasked with picking economic winners and losers, leading to increased lobbying by corporate interests. Furthermore, this deliberation would severely damage Sirta's ability to be competitive on a galactic level, and the sheer number of transactions would absolutely balloon the size of the government at the expense of the private sector. If you wish to engage in protectionism... well, I can hardly say I would agree with such a measure, but there are ways to go about it that do not simply punish Sirtan businesses.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Having heard the proposals thus far, I believe that the Union of Civil Services is well-grounded, and well-suited to building the foundation that Sirta needs.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Interview excerpt taken from an article in Markets Monthly, the current issue of which is concerned chiefly with the upcoming elections.

Interviewer: So, did you ever consider forming a party? You certainly have the reputation to succeed in politics--not just among the business community, either.

Rutherford: Well, I can't deny the idea had a certain appeal. But campaigning takes a great deal of time and energy, and I have a business to take care of in the interim. So no, I can't say I ever gave it serious consideration.

I: And if the Council nominated you? Or you were selected for a citizen's seat?

R: In that case it would be my civic duty to fulfill that obligation. But that's purely hypothetical at this point.

I: Of course, of course. But you have been rather outspoken in the meantime--your support for infrastructure projects is well-known at this point. What about the CLF policing question?

R: There's certainly not an easy answer to that one. First and foremost, I would like to say that the men and women of the CLF have done a truly admirable job of keeping order during a difficult time. But we'll soon be making the transition from "revolution" to "government", and that brings its own challenges, none of them particularly glamorous.

I: Such as?

R: Well, to start with, I think there are crimes that a local militia--which is, ultimately, what the SRLF is proposing--is never going to be equipped to handle. White collar crimes are often too abstract to be spotted without specialized training, and require resources to pursue that a community might not have available. Other issues, like corruption, can exist on too large a scale for a local organization to confront. If a criminal crosses community lines, jurisdiction issues arise, without a central body to resolve them. It's simply devolving power to too low a level, and would cripple our government's ability to evenly enforce laws. I'm not advocating transferring officers all over the place--that's a clear waste of resources--but there needs to be a central authority.

I: Interesting. And amnesty?

R: Obviously there are crimes that cannot be ignored, and must be rightfully punished. But the Greene administration was so all-encompassing that I don't believe we could condemn all those who were in some way associated without losing so much institutional knowledge that we would simply go back to before Vallstein, when organized crime was such a rampant issue, and the government so inexperienced in dealing with it, that it gave him a foothold towards dictatorship. It is hard to forgive, but for the good of Sirta, we must.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

I agree with the thrust of your proposal, Radek, but I think you gloss over the actual process of getting there. Right now, the railways are in a frankly untenable state--we aren't in a position where we can wait to build the capacity for this project before starting it, and I think it's plain by the current state of affairs that the old management allowed that capacity to decay to the point we would essentially be starting from scratch. To that end, I propose that we begin the bidding process for the revitalization project--either as a whole or in parts--as soon as possible.

In the interest of full disclosure, were such a process to begin, Apex Industries would be submitting a bid, and as such I would like to preemptively recuse myself from any involvement in the government's side of the process.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Forgive me if I come across harshly, but do you really think that an owner who has allowed the rails to decay to this state has been paying for a well-trained workforce of the size needed to undertake this project? They clearly haven't been performing proper maintenance in years. They won't have kept adequate headcount around idle simply because it would be convenient for a future revolutionary government. That's a workforce that's been slashed to the bone! You're not going to build a railway with a skeleton crew, and that's not far off from what's needed. Unless you start press-ganging workers from unrelated private industry, you're going to need to contract this out.

When the system is repaired, I fully agree that SIRTAK will be in a position to maintain it. But it's unfeasible to hand them the initial restoration with the base they'd be starting from.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

unwantedplatypus posted:

A man being influential and having high ideals does not in and of itself mean he is a good pick to lead a government ministry. Investors, if foreign investors is something we even want, will be much more concerned with the economic viability of Sirta and the security of their assets rather than just the amicability of the Minister.

I have been doing business in Sirta and abroad for the better part of fifty years now, and I dare say the results speak for themselves. I am keenly aware of the economic realities that Sirta now faces, the opportunities that it can present to foreign investors at this critical juncture, and how and where best to present those opportunities. Frankly, I can only assume you chose to question my qualifications without looking at them. I will not claim that I would be the correct choice in all circumstances, but for our present foreign policy goals, I believe I am more than suited to the task.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

AFancyQuestionMark posted:

"I think this is a good way to help some of the most vulnerable members of our society, and that, while it may not be a radical change, it will aid a lot of people in need at an insignificant cost. There are over 350 upscale private homes, retreats and even some luxury hotels owned by corrupt high-ranking regime officials that now belong to our government. It would be an incredible waste to let them sit unused when they can be turned to the benefit of society. We estimate that this initiative will cost less than 500,000 credits a month, a paltry sum compared to the other expenses of government.

I hope that our partners in the People's Coalition, as well as any other parties that care for citizens in need, will support this act."

I don't doubt the good will and motivations behind this proposal. What I am skeptical of is that budget estimate. With the financial situation the government presently finds itself in, we must be cautious of the commitments we make. It does us no good if so noble a program were to fall victim to budgetary concerns. With that in mind, I have a proposal to make:

Sirtan Budget Office Act posted:

WHEREAS, the government of Sirta is committed to fiscal responsibility and financially effective policies, and

WHEREAS, the mismanagement of the Greene administration has left inadequate institutional knowledge


Section 1. An office, known as the Sirtan Budgetary Office (or SBO) shall be established with the purpose of accurately determining and scoring the budgetary costs of all parliamentary proposals, considering both the direct costs and economic impacts involved.

Section 2. This office shall be nonpartisan, and adequately staffed and funded to produce estimates in a timely manner.

Section 3. No bill that would require government funding shall be passed without first obtaining an SBO score.

I believe that this shall rapidly pay for itself. In addition, since this is not a small decision, and I would like to have an established mandate should the proposed government be approved, I would also like to propose:

Outer Alliance Resolution posted:

WHEREAS, the previous administrations of Sirta tended towards non-participation in galactic affairs, and

WHEREAS, effective diplomatic interaction with its neighbors is essential to Sirta's prosperity and well-being.


Section 1: That the government shall seek membership in the Outer Alliance.

Obviously this is merely a statement of intent, not a formal ratification--that will need to wait until we have terms of membership, after all--making it clear that it is the unified will of Sirta that this be done will go a long way to smoothing the application process.

The Lord of Hats fucked around with this message at Dec 4, 2017 around 16:33

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

1. A Motion of Confidence for the formation of government under Comrade Luxembourg from the SRLF.

Support. I look forward to working with all of you.

2. The SIRTRAK Act, proposed by Member Radek of the SRLF.

I Support this act on its merits, but I strongly believe that it is going to face further difficulties due to the current state of the managing company, and fully expect to have further bills passed on this matter.

3. The SISTER Act, proposed by Member Bookchin of the SRLF.

Oppose. Section 1 of the SISTER Act I am skeptical of the utility of, but am willing to see the experiment played out. Section 2 I support wholeheartedly. Section 3, however, seems like a gross overreach by the SRLF. The plurality that they have won in this first election should not be construed as a mandate to make their own ideology mandatory education in our school systems, and until that section is stripped or drastically reworked, I cannot possibly support this bill.

4. The Census Act, proposed by Member Subtallier of the Unity Coalition, along with associated amendments with Member Danube of the FDG (each amendment needs to be voted on separately).

I strongly Support this measure, and furthermore I support all three amendments proposed by Member Danube. Accurate information is key to proper government.

5. The Care and Shelter Act, proposed by Member Hughes of Dawn.

I Conditionally Support the CSA, on the condition that the Sirtan Budget Office Act first be passed, and that the SBO score be in line with Member Hughes' estimates.

6. The Sirtan Budget Office Act, proposed by Member Vanderbush

Predictably, I Support my own measure.

7. The Outer Alliance Resolution, proposed by Member Vanderbush.

In recognition that the wording of this resolution was flawed, I hereby Abstain from this vote. I will seek to reintroduce this bill later, after initial inquiries with the Outer Alliance have been completed.

8. Bill F-1, also known as the Tax Enforcement Act, proposed by ReSeAu Gen of the UCS.

I Support this measure. So long as tax evasion is allowed to run rampant, we cannot adequately raise funds as a government.

9. Constitutional Amendment on Parliament's Composition, proposed by Amnesty of the Community (requires 61 votes to pass).

I absolutely Oppose this amendment. We have ratified this constitution, and successfully held democratic elections in the wake of a revolution. To immediately start trying to rewrite our own constitution before we have even formally formed a government is utter nonsense that will only serve to feed turmoil and lessen our government's perceived legitimacy. Let us first show that we can abide by our own rules before seeking to change them.

10. The Truth and Reconciliation Act, proposed by Member Danube of the FDG.

I strongly Support this proposal. It is an even-handed approach that I believe is well-designed to serve true justice over emotional gratification. I understand this is a bitter pill to swallow for some, and acknowledge that my personal involvement with the revolution was distant, and not so charged as the brave members of the militia. But we must move past those times, and allow those wounds to heal for Sirta to truly prosper.

11. The Truth and Justice Act, proposed by Member Knapfstein of the DAL.

Even were I not supporting the Truth and Reconciliation Act, I would Oppose this bill. The Vallstein and Greene administrations being answerable to precisely nobody is what put us in this mess in the first place. I'll not watch another such power be created at our government's outset, particularly not one so clearly motivated by simple vengeance.

12. The PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY Act, proposed by Member Bookchin of the SRLF.

I Oppose this measure as it is presently written. While I appreciate that it allows for the status quo, I think that rewriting the structure of all local governments is an overreach. Were this written as allowing communities to opt in to this alternative method of governance, I could perhaps support it. As an opt-out policy, I feel I cannot.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

HiHo ChiRho posted:

I am saddened to see this kind of a response AFTER we have moved into a drafting phase. I do not question your character on this matter, but I do question the timing on the request to change the language of the bill. For section one, I would refer to our colleagues in the FDG, who requested that to be included into our education reform bill. We at the SLRF wholeheartedly agree that trade skills are necessary especially in the aftermath of our revolution. As for Section 3, I was more than willing to have additional classes included, as a well rounded civic education is essential to every Sirtan, but not one member here spoke up before the time to include additional classes into the act had passed. We can work to address deficiencies in the future, but I would hate to see this much needed education bill tanked because of one or more politician's aversion to citizens learning how to organize their communities better and participate in a free and open democracy.

I said I was skeptical of section 1, but was willing to see how it worked out in practice. It has little to do with why I voted the way I did. And as for the matter of not speaking sooner, I do apologize, but this is a busy time for us all, and I found myself without the time to properly voice my concerns. Education is a serious and sorely needed matter, yes, but it is not so urgent that we must immediately pass this bill without time for further revisions. If we are to do this thing, we must do it right, and I do not believe a politically-charged syllabus is part of that.


If you were well aware of the situation in our local cities and rural areas and how they are being governed, you would know that this bill is actually an affirmation to new form of local governments already formed in the wake of the revolution, of which many were started and still supported by the CLF. These assemblies, in some rural areas ARE the status quo for free and open democracy! The other more "regular" forms are dens of corruption held by criminal organizations or the remnants of Greene's thugs. While I admit that holding free and fair elections should minimize corruptive influences, it is of my opinion that the structures themselves leave itself open to future corruption. We are merely giving those options to Sirtans who wish to self determinate.

In a handful of rural areas, yes, that is the case. In many more areas, including Sirta's cities--more populous and diverse than the areas you speak of, and facing an entirely different set of challenges and needs--it is not. If the option is presented to them to organize in such a way, and they choose to, more power to them. But I do not believe a mandate from the central government is the correct way to enact such a change. If the SLRF truly believes this is the correct way forward, provide the option, let regions choose, and allow the results to speak for themselves. But do not force a shift in the status quo.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

I would like to say once again that it is an honor to be chosen for this position, and I humbly accept. Engagement in the international community is vital for Sirta's economy, and I will do all at my disposal to ensure that prosperity comes to Sirta once more.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

From: Rutherford Vanderbush, Minister of Foreign Affairs
To: All Staff, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

My warmest greetings to all of you. It is a sincere pleasure to be working with such an experienced group of individuals. Unfortunately, our time for pleasantries is low. Given that we have distinctly different needs than the Greene administration, we are in the unenviable position of creating our foreign policy essentially from scratch. There is a great deal of work to be done, and it will be starting at a very basic level. As such, I would like to set the following priorities for this month:

1. An overview of our closest neighbors. In the course of my time with Apex Industries, I have worked with most of these nations, but in a capacity that required a different viewpoint. I would like a summary of their: government structure, basic history, relationship with the Greene administration, and an overview of their economy.

2. An overview of the Outer Alliance. In particular, I would like to know the membership requirements, current policies, and what members of the Outer Alliance wield the most influence within the group.

3. A summary of our existing trade agreements. While we do want a relatively clean break from the Greene administration, I would rather not interrupt commerce if it is at all avoidable. Our primary objective at the moment is Sirta's economic well-being, after all.

4. Our ministry's budget breakdown. I will fight for every piece of funding that I can, but there are others in government who would see our budget slashed at this juncture. Any information that can help justify our budget to the rest of the government would be appreciated, and would at least help ensure the cuts are distributed for minimal impact.

I have great faith in all of you. A better tomorrow is ours to craft.

Thank you,
Rutherford Vanderbush

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

1. The Self-Determination Act, submitted by Minister of Interior Danube.


2. The Right to Know Act, submitted by Member Arthur Subtallier.


3. The Police Reform Act, submitted by Minister of Interior Security Radek.

CONDITIONAL AYE. While I agree with this bill in principle, I find the call that NFP recruits be "loyal to the ideals of the revolution" to be excessively vague. I would like Comrade Radek to describe more explicitly what he has in mind as the Revolution's ideals. I do not believe that the Revolution meant the same thing to all of Sirta.

4. Amendment to the SIRTRAK Act, by Minister of Interior Security Radek.


5. The Healer Amnesty Act, submitted by Minister of Health Dr. Xavier Dubois.

NAY. As has been previously stated, I'm not convinced that this law isn't just redundant legislation, although I am open to persuasion.

6. The Budget Bill for March 3062, submitted by Prime Minister Luxemburg.


The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

sniper4625 posted:

The Revolution we all strove for, of course. Fealty to the people, to honest policing and the rule of law. Surely we can all agree on that?

Certainly. But in the future, I would ask that you err on the side of precision over rhetorical flourishes in your proposals. My vote is an AYE.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

And now, we get to the matter of our government's first diplomatic missions. Firstly, I would like to state that I am going to maintain the current spending for the Ministry, although there will, obviously, be a substantial reshuffling of personnel. We can't very well rely on Greene's diplomats to do our work. With that stated, I would like to proceed as follows:

To the Republic of New Frontier, I would like to send a full delegation, and more than that, I would like them to be accompanied by a team of trade officers from the Finance Ministry, with the authority to register and create import licenses to Sirta, and to discuss the possibility of foreign investment and settlement credits. The RNF is, almost unavoidably, going to be our primary trading partner, and it is imperative that we get trade flowing once again. In addition to the trade mission, and the simple re-opening of our embassy, I would like for this delegation to be our foothold for making inquiries to the Outer Alliance as a whole--for starters, I would like to request that the OA send an envoy to Sirta directly, and I would also like to express our potential interest in membership, and explore any possibility of financial aid. Furthermore, while I understand this may be... distasteful to many in our government, but Apex Industries does have a solid foothold in the RNF, and while we obviously are not nearly so influential in the RNF's affairs as our local business partners, such as Titan Technologies International, the fact that we are an established business presence does carry some weight in the RNF. With the SLRF's blessing, I would like to suggest that our delegation reach out to Janus, head of Apex's RNF operations. He is, I should disclose, an AMR of me from some years back. While he's not part of the Ministry, I believe he would be fully willing to put his business connections to work for the good of Sirta.

The Unitary State of Saguenay will receive a similar delegation as the RNF, although a somewhat smaller one at this time, for a number of reasons. Firstly, we will already be reaching out to the Outer Alliance via the RNF, and there's no need to muddy the waters by conducting the same inquiries twoce. Furthermore, while the USS will undoubtedly be a significant trading partner in the future, I do not think we are presently in a position where we need to start heavily focusing on our shipbuilding industry. Trade will be discussed, as a matter of course, and because I would send a Finance representative here as well, but this is longer-term. In the shorter term, I believe the USS would be rather sympathetic to our current situation and to some extent the ideology of our leading party, and as such it is here that I would most like to discuss the possibility of foreign aid. There would be a price to pay, in the end, but I have hopes that they could be accommodating.

The Kingdom of Hesperides is another nation that Apex has dealt with in the past, in some capacity, although I would not say that presents nearly the same advantage that it does in the RNF. For this delegation, in addition to the diplomats from my own ministry and the Finance representatives, I would also like to recruit some industry experts from Sirta's biotechnology industry to . The Hesperides were some of our most prominent investors, and while the Greene administration saw fit to let that rot like it did everything else, I think that with the proper pitch, we can show them that we are positioning ourselves to re-establish our prominence in the research world. Where other missions are aimed to deal with our governmental money shortages, here I would aim to get our industry the cash infusion that it so badly needs right now.

Finally, the SRECC... they pose... something of a challenge. This will, unfortunately, have to be a minimal delegation, in part for budget reasons, but also because I can't make any guarantees as to what diplomatic presence, if any, they will allow us to have. The fact is, our purpose here is largely to inform them of the changes of Sirta's government, express our interest in re-establishing trade and pursuing investment, and hope for the best. I understand that that might not be the most satisfying or reassuring thing to hear from your Minister of Foreign Affairs, but the simple fact is that this is the best we can do with the SRECC.

Unless there are any objections or additions, this is the plan.

The Lord of Hats fucked around with this message at Dec 16, 2017 around 08:30

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Aye to Luxemburg, ReSeAu Gen, and Moana Kawehi.

Nay to Radek and Kropotkin. While Minister Radek did author the SIRTRAK Act, I believe that its current operation is rather far afield from his current post as Minister of Internal Security, and that Minister Luxemburg should be more than capable of organizing the operation in accordance with Radek's original intent. As for Kropotkin, I believe it is inappropriate for the justices of our Constitutional Court to hold other positions within the government. While it's true that any Justice is going to have conflicts of interest that necessitate that they recuse themselves from some judgments, we should not structure our government in such a way that it actively creates conflicts of interest. In their place, I would like to see a candidate with more formal engineering experience--while I recognize Moana Kawehi's experience with the railways, I believe that that having a candidate with experience on the more technical side of things would prove valuable--and a legal advisor either from a lower court, or who is a lawyer, rather than a judge.


Aye to Hill, Ramsey, Hoffman, Kaufman, and Newell

Nay to Kayembe and Ife. While I have nothing but respect for Marta Kayembe, and believe she is eminently qualified for the role, I remain firm in my belief that we must minimize the potential conflicts for the Constitutional Court. I would, however, urge our Prime Minister to consult with her in finding a replacement candidate. Ife I find to be somewhat underqualified. Unless the SRLF can provide some reasoning for this choice beyond "they are a member of our party", I am going to have to oppose this selection. I understand the same can be said of Jessica Ramsey, but I think there is a real value in having one of the citizen seats upon the committee, a value I don't see in Ife's nomination.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

My apologies--it appears I read an incomplete briefing of the candidates.

My vote in Ife for the TRC is an Aye

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

1. The Tariff Abolition Act - NAY. I agree that free trade should be something we should strive for, but outright abolishing tariffs is wildly premature at this point.

2. The Sovereign Wealth Fund Act - NAY. I understand the intent, but this bill is incredibly poorly written, with no mechanism for oversight. I cannot possibly support it.

3. The Budget Bill for April 3062 - AYE, but I would like to request that as we are presently running a surplus, that we should attempt in the future to establish a longer-term budget, and use our surplus to cover shortfalls. We can only go month-to-month for so long.

4. The Census Extension Act - AYE

5. The Bootstrap Act - CONDITIONAL AYE, assuming that the SBO score is within reason.


I would also like to take the opportunity to express my concerns on the proposed curriculum. Education should prepare our children with the skillsets they'll need to succeed, and the ability to think critically. The SRLF, it pains me to say, appear to be viewing this as an opportunity to mold our nations' children to their own way of thinking. I do not doubt that they come by that honestly, and that they truly believe their vision for society is the best way forward, but I cannot support this method of going about it. If you wish for workers collectives to be a thing, then establish them. If you wish for direct democracy and communes to be the law of the land, then propose them in Parliament. And if these efforts do not succeed, then go back and build further support for your party's ideals, with your party's own resources. Do not impose mandatory education in institutions that Sirta does not presently have, and has not historically had! Show first that your ideals can stand on their merits.

I agree with Representative Collins that the proper lens for our children to be educated on the Revolution is through a historical one. Show them the factors that lead to Vallstein's rise and fall, and the individual, concrete failings of his administration. The varied reasons that people chose to rise up against Greene. I would furthermore propose that "Revolution Ideals" and "Social Ecology" be integrated into a more generalized Philosophy offering, to allow Sirta's youth to be exposed to a wide variety of outlooks and ideas, to learn what they have to offer and make their own decisions. The public school system is not the proper place for what the SRLF is doint.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

I think you'll find that I did object at the time, thank you very much. And I continue to object, both to the curriculum--under the proposal nearly half of upper-level education consists of classes that amount to variations on "SRLF Ideology"--and to your characterization of me and my motives. You do not have a monopoly on participation in the Revolution. No, I was not on the front lines, as many brave Sirtans were. But like the esteemed Mr. Knapfstein, I do believe that my contributions were nonetheless valuable to its success. Let us see your ideals in practice before you go teaching them as gospel in our schools.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

I would like to add my voice to those speaking up in opposition to the AMR Accountability Act. The proposal speaks to a gross misunderstanding of AMRs, and a real disregard for justice.

I would also like to be the first to voice support for the FFEA--it is a excellent bill.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Representatives, ministers, people of Sirta, I am proud to announce that Apex Industries, in cooperation with the Charlotte Piero Memorial University, is prepared to begin construction of--and I will readily admit that I am guilty of some vanity here--the Vanderbush Center for Engineering and Material Sciences. While biotechnology has long been the flagship industry of Sirta, that is a far cry from it being the only one. It is thanks to the hard work of the industrious citizens of Topaz that Apex has succeeded as it has, and as the gears of its economy start up again in earnest, I would like to take the opportunity to give back to that community. The VCEMS will be constructed and equipped to the fullest ability of Apex Industries--and if I know the students of Topaz at all, they will soon push that envelope even further. We have a bright future ahead of us, in more ways than one. Thank you.

Thank you for that indulgence. Now, while I hold the podium, I have a less cheerful matter to address--our Constitutional Court. While the vast majority of the appointments to the court were well-qualified and widely accepted, there were others that... were not. Furthermore, the process of these appointments occurred behind closed doors, obscured from Parliament as a whole, who had no say in the matter. While the committee in charge of appointments did have members of the opposition, transcripts show that they were quite easily overruled by the rest of the committee, and Parliaments' citizen seats had no input whatsoever. While this amendment cannot be applied retroactively, I feel that there is an additional step required in the process going forward. To that end, I submit...

The Constitutional Court Appointment Amendment posted:

WHEREAS the Constitutional Court is the most powerful court in Sirta, and

WHEREAS the justices of the Constitutional Court serve a lifetime term,

THEREFORE, the candidates for the Constitutional Court chosen by the Judicial Appointments Committee must first be confirmed by a majority vote of Parliament before assuming office.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

AFancyQuestionMark posted:

Even as recently as today, there has been a constitutional amendment proposed to have appointments to the Constitutional Court be beholden to political interests. I am warning you Minister, as well as all other members of this Parliament - do not go down this road without understanding where it might lead you. It may not seem like it now, but you too could find yourself in the opposition one day."

Our current process saw a 27-year-old with no practical legal experience appointed to the highest court in Sirta. While I'm sure the committee had their reasons, I personally believe it amply demonstrates that these appointments are inherently political. That the Justices serve for live is an excellent step for maintaining consistency on the court, and independence from any given government, the fact that the appointment process took place entirely in back rooms, with many parties in Parliament being afforded no say whatsoever--whether they were in government or in the opposition--means that the process as it stands is unfortunately rather undemocratic. The process must be done openly, with of Sirta's chosen representatives allowed to have input.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

1. The AMR Accountability Act, submitted by Member Amnesty. -
NAY. I've already spoken my mind on this matter.

2. The Rehabilitation Act, submitted by Member Amnesty. -
NAY. A wonderful idea that we should look to pursue at some point, but with funding requirements being both high and vague, I'm afraid I can't support this at this time.

3. The Free and Fair Elections Act, submitted by Member Subtallier.
ABSTAIN. I have similar funding issues here, but not to the same extent. Still, I feel hesitant to commit to it at this time.

4. Constitutional Amendment on Appointments to the Constitutional Court, submitted by Minister of Foreign Affairs Vanderbush.
AYE. Would that I had submitted this amendment at the outset, but that delay only served to show its necessity.

5. The Opposing Syndicated Crime and Racketeering Act, submitted by Minister of Internal Security Radek.
AYE. I am proud to have had a small hand in the creation of OSCAR, although the esteemed Minister Radek was far more responsible for the final--excellent--state of this bill.

6. The Budget Bill for May 3062 - December 3062, submitted by Prime Minister Luxemburg. -
AYE. I am particularly glad to have a longer-term budget, even if I would like a touch more funding for my own ministry, though I understand that it is not presently a priority.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Rutherford Vanderbush

Representative Democracy

Also, can I get the budget breakdown for Foreign Affairs? I keep forgetting to formally ask.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with regards to how admirable the sentiments being expressed are. Speaking frankly, Bookchin is blindly pursuing ideology, with no consideration for practicality. Disregarding that he did not even take the time to proofread his own proposal, thus establishing Sard as, and I quote, "the legitimate ruling body of the town of Panorama and its surrounding valley", there are two items in his proposal that stand out as particularly egregious, and while I am not a resident of Sard, nor do I think his proposals will pass, I think they speak to a mindset that I have been repeatedly frustrated by in my time in government, and as such I feel the need to express my concerns publically.

The first, as you might guess, is the provision for the immediate abolishment of private property in Sard. Firstly, I would like to point out that this is written as an incredible logistical nightmare. The government would suddenly be handling multiple times as many properties as was already the case, and I sincerely do not believe it presently has the capability to do so. But besides that, there is the question of compensation, mentioned as an afterthought, that particularly concerns me. Sard does not have the funds necessary for the compensation--apparently to be determined after the individual has already been divested of their property, now stripped of resources and leverage--to be remotely fair. But this does not seem to concern Bookchin, nor the rest of the SRLF. Indeed, the issue of compensation for the Sirta's railroads has become a serious topic of discussion behind the doors of government--and the SRLF seem intent on skipping the bill.

I understand that there is little sympathy for its current owners--I concur that their horrific mismanagement of the railways has realistically left little choice besides nationalization, for the good of Sirta, and I bear little goodwill towards its former owners, and it was because of this that I quite rashly assented at the time that they proposed this dealbreaking, a lapse that I now regret. But what message does that send, that our government would so readily renege on a deal that they themselves wrote and enacted? Why would a person ever choose to do business in Sirta when the government has demonstrated that it would be willing to break its own guarantees to seize their investment? It would prove crippling to our economy. Promises must be kept.

It was with this in mind that I raised the issue of compensation in Sard to my colleagues in the SRLF, and the response I received was not reassuring. It was, to quote directly, "I'd say having all of your needs guaranteed to be provided for in all eternity is fair compensation." Which, I suppose might be a fine deal, assuming you are a resident of Sard. I live in Topaz, and Apex makes its headquarters there. I do, however, own considerable property in Sard, and in many other locations, because it turns out that's part of running a business on a national--and international--scale. And my case, I assure you, is hardly unique--and Sard does not have the funds for adequate compensation. What, then, does Bookchin propose? Shall the manufactories and offices in Sard simply be taken and formed into their own entity, made to directly compete with the body it was cut from, now with drastically fewer resources? Clearly it would not succeed, unless the SMP chose to take money from elsewhere to prop it up. Would it remain part of Apex but forced outside of any kind of organizational structure? Besides being damaging to the company, this would also simply punish the people of Sard for living in Sard--operating under extreme restrictions that much of the rest of Sirta would not be under. And in either case, why, besides sunk costs, would I choose to do business in Sard from that point?

My apologies for getting into technicalities. But I find that provision to be incredibly poorly conceived, and recklessly endangering to the well-being of our capital's citizens.

And then, there is the other, more subtle matter, of the proposed Sirtan Municipal Confederation. This, frankly, I see as little more than an attempt to undermine the authority of Parliament and weaken the strength of our central government. It is proposed as managing domestic trade, as Bookchin's original proposal made explicit. If all property is intended to belong to the state, and it is managed on a national level by a body wholly independent from Parliament, then what authority does Parliament--the democratically elected national government of Sirta--even have? Devolution of powers does not mean the creation of another state within Sirta, which is all that I can see this provision as.

I understand that my decision to speak up now, and publically, is going to be heavily criticized by others in government, but I believe it is my duty to speak my conscience regarding these matters.

The Lord of Hats fucked around with this message at Jan 9, 2018 around 01:13

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Rutherford Vanderbush, Citizen Seat

1.The Property Appropriation Process Act, submitted by Member Borisov. AYE.
2. Amendment to the Property Appropriation Act, submitted by Minister of Internal Security Radek. AYE
3. Bill G-1, submitted by Minister of Finance ReSeuGen. NAY. I agree that a solid definition of national and local responsibilities is needed, but I think this bill is far too centralizing to provide effective governance.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Rutherford Vanderbush, Minister of Foreign Affairs

My ballot in Topaz

* [FDG] Omar Guo
* [Dawn] Isabella Correia
* [FSP] Mark Broughton
* [Unity Coalition] Waneta Lambert
* [SRLF] Conrad (ThatBasqueGuy)
* [The Community] Inner Fire
* [Independent] Mia Robertson

I'll be voting for the FDG in the City Council elections.

The Lord of Hats fucked around with this message at Jan 16, 2018 around 17:39

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Rutherford Vanderbush, Citizen Seat

At the groundbreaking for the Vanderbush Center for Engineering and Material Sciences at the Charlotte Pierro Memorial University

"...and in conclusion, I believe that the VCEMS will enable the teachers and students of CPMU to not just regain the heights that were lost to the mismanagement of the Greene administration, but to far surpass them. Truly, I am honored to have been able to make this contribution to our fine city.

Unfortunately, I have been informed that the reporters in our audience will be going home quite unsatisfied if I do not comment on the upcoming elections, so I ask that you bear with me as I take this opportunity to humor them with a few words. Please do not allow this unfortunate intrusion of politics to taint your memories of this tremendous day. Several months ago, the SRLF, after spending a great deal of time stressing the importance of local governance, attempted to unilaterally impose a radical reformation of all such governments, and opposed the Self-Determination Act to allow our cities to decide for themselves how they should organize. As you all know, the Self-Determination Act passed without their support, and a month ago, we held the referendum, and you, my fellow citizens, decided that the traditional system of representative democracy was the proper way forward--a belief that I myself share.

Now, election season has come to us once more, and the SRLF has campaigned heavily for your favor. They condemn the old systems as irredeemably broken, and declare that now is the time not merely for change, but for radical change. In Sard, which chose to try their new system of People's Assemblies, their immediate proposal was the immediate abolishment of all private property, with any compensation being nebulously defined at best. When Parliament expressed its concerns over this measure, they resisted any attempt to create guidelines as to how such a thing should be carried out. Their candidate for mayorship has declared his intent to impose 'experimental' forms of community organization, with little provided in the way of detail. The SRLF, it must be said, does not content itself with small promises.

This is, in my frank opinion, because they know no other way to approach a problem then to rip it out wholesale and replace it entirely, with a solution that they promise, based on no particular evidence but their own convictions, will face no issues. If something does not fit into their preconceived worldview, they cannot concede that it could work. Yes, the Greene years--and the Vallstein Administration--were bad. Clearly, the rot had been allowed to set in. But Topaz persevered. When Vallstein favored biotechnology over our own industries, we continued to innovate. When unions--which the SRLF now seems to believe inadequate--were stamped out around much of the rest of Sirta, the industries of Topaz continued to work with these organizations to ensure prosperity for all--and I take particular pride in having participated in these negotiations from the industry side, and in pushing my partners in industry to accept a better deal for the workers. Now, the SRLF would have us ignore that history, declare it insufficient, and charge blindly into an unproven future to satisfy their own ideology. Now, when we have the chance to use our knowledge and experience to fix the flaws we have observed, to patch the holes, to replace the parts that are worn down, and to make the system work to the capacity that we know it can, they would have us throw it away. I cannot accept that. I firmly believe that it can be made to work. I believe that if any city has the commitment to make it work, it is Topaz and its citizens. And I believe that Omar Guo is the man for the job, and that the FDG are more than up to the task of ensuring prosperity for the people of Topaz.

That went on rather longer than I expected, but I hope you can all see that I speak on this matter with true conviction. Thank you, Topaz, for your patience just now, and for far more than that. There is no thanks I could possibly give that would match up to all that you have done to help me to achieve and accomplish. But today, with the VCEMS, I hope to at least make a start. Again, thank you.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Rutherford Vanderbush, Citizen Seat

Via Teleconference in Topaz
The people of Topaz have spoken, and while our results are... unusual, to say the least, I think that our mayor and our city council will prove that they are fully capable of working together and finding compromises to help ensure greater prosperity for our fair city. To that end, I would like to work with my friends in the FDG to introduce a piece of legislation, which will require some negotiation with SIRTRAK for permission, but I believe should be widely acceptable:


The Topaz Local Railway Improvement Act

WHEREAS, operational transit of the public and of freight are vital to Topaz's well-being, and

WHEREAS, the local railways, while in disrepair, are not in so great a state of decay as to be an immediate priority for SIRTRAK,

BE IT RESOLVED that the city government of Sirta will entertain private bids for immediate repair to full capacity of its local stations and railways--defined as Topaz North, Topaz South, Topaz Spaceport and the lines connecting them. Such bids shall be made available for public review for a period of no shorter than one month before the selection of which contractor--if any--shall be selected for the job.

I cannot speak for my competitors, but should this bill be passed, it would be the intent of Apex Industries to submit a bid at cost.


At Parliament

At the behest of my good friend Hospes, I was reviewing the recent transcripts of the Property Appropriation Committee. While I will not comment on the conclusions reached at this time--aside from noting that it is highly unusual for the chair to first abstain from a decision, and then return for the deciding vote--I did find a... technicality, if you will, that I believe has unfortunate implications. That being the provision that once a valuation is made by the committee, it is locked in permanently.

Let's examine the particular example of Panorama for an explanation of the issue. Even assuming that their revenue and costs remain stable, and that they take no other actions that require funding, it is going to take a period of several years for the local government to fulfill its goal of appropriating all private property within its region. And during that time, the value will not change. Now let's consider that you are a business owner within Panorama. You now have a value for your business that is fixed, and unchanging. At some nebulous point in the next few years, your business will no longer be yours, and you will be compensated. What, then, are you doing in this entirely nonspecific period of time? It is impossible to better or worsen your own situation--any effort you put in to growing your business will have no impact on your final result, nor will any lack of effort and upkeep. You can't sell to an outside party, either--why would they make that investment if there's no room for it to grow? So the natural conclusion, the simplest course of action, is to let it rot. Your stake is already guaranteed. And now Panorama is obligated to overpay for distressed properties--unless, of course, a double standard is created that the present owners can only be punished for neglect, and not rewarded for success.

No, to ensure the best deal for all parties involved, the valuation cannot be allowed to sit for years at a time. To do so creates a system of flawed incentives. To remedy this, I would propose the following:

The Property Appropriation Re-evaluation Act posted:

The valuations determined by the Property Appropriation Committee for purposes of government appropriation of private property shall be considered valid for a period of one year, after which a new appraisal of the property must be conducted to determine its fair market value.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

If you have an alternative proposal for swift repair of Topaz's railways, then by all means, do share.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Rutherford Vanderbush, Citizen Seat

The Parliamentary Confirmation Act. - AYE
Constitutional Amendment on Parliament's Composition - Abstain
The Rehabilitation Act V2 - AYE
The Property Appropriation Re-evaluation Act - AYE
The Urgent Rescue Act - AYE

Proposals brought before the Topaz City Council (assuming my opinions hold sway):

1. The Topaz Local Railway Repair Act. AYE

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Rutherford Vanderbush, Citizen Seat

Amendment to the SISTER Act - AYE

As to my opinion on Mayor Conrad's recent proposals... While I understand the intent, there are a number of his proposals that I think might be better implemented at the national level, and I think that funding is perhaps overly... experimental, for my tastes. Assuming the success of a startup is... optimistic, to say the least. I don't oppose the grants themselves, or the businesses in question feeding into the Topaz Municipal fund, but I think funding of our public spaces ought to be better guaranteed at this point.


The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Rutherford Vanderbush, Citizen Seat, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Firstly, I would like to apologize for my extended absence. Some minor health issues, and an internal matter with Apex that regrettably required my direct intervention came up, and I have been rather indisposed of late. But I stand before you all now in good health, quite ready to continue to contribute to the work that is so vital to Sirta. With that out of the way, let us turn our attention to the task at hand.

I would like to say that I am highly encouraged by the delegations that have been sent to us--I trust that many long and fruitful relationships will arise from the foundation that we now lay, and to that end, in my capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs, there are some actions I would advise be taken by Sirtan's government as a whole to foster communication:

1. I would suggest that the RNF's proposed trade deal, and the Kingdom of Hesperides' prior agreement with the Vallstein administration be presented for wider parliamentary review, with the assent of their respective embassies.

2. I would ask Minister Luxemburg and Minister Radek to direct their respective ministries (Infrastructure and Defense) to draft foreign aid proposals for the USS delegation's review. Our space-based infrastructure is woefully lacking at present, as are our naval defenses. I believe that Colonel Leger's insight into these matters, and how the USS might provide assistance, will prove invaluable.

3. Our biotechnology industry has a unique opportunity to prove that its ingenuity and strength have withstood the many trials of the Greene administration. I would like to instruct my own Ministry to coordinate with our nation's leading research labs to organize an initial industry survey in Sapphire, to show off the very best that we have to offer, to the delegations of the Kingdom of Hesperides and the SRECC (who I have already instructed my ministry to prepare accomodations for in Sirta), and I would encourage these same companies to provide any information requested of them. I cannot stress enough what a momentous opportunity this is.

4. Similarly, I would encourage the mayors and assemblies of our towns and cities to organize presentations for the delegations, to show all that they and their industries have to offer our diplomatic partners and potential investors. Obviously presentations in person are quite valuable, but I would also suggest they organize materials to be distributed to our embassies as well.

5. I would like to express my support of the Perpetual Friendship and Foreign Exhibition Act. Mutual understanding across our entire populace is invaluable.

6. Finally, but far from least, I will naturally be meeting with all of the delegations, but I would like to extend a particular thanks to Lissette Martin and the Outer Alliance for their timely response. I would be particularly interested to hear the details of OA membership--particularly as it relates to their shared currency.

Thank you.

The Lord of Hats fucked around with this message at Feb 13, 2018 around 01:56

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