VP Patrick Houser plans to “not hold back” in 2018 Freedemian presidential election, will not endorse President Angela Rosenthal

In a PWN interview yesterday on Wake Up, Freedemia!, vice president Patrick Houser said he plans to “not hold back” in his campaign for president, and that he thinks he’s a good candidate with good ideas that can give President Rosenthal a run for her money. He announced he will not be asking supporters who voted for Rosenthal before to vote for her again, respectfully adding that he’s running to win.

Traditionally, since in Freedemia, the runner up in an election becomes the vice president, a president and vice president who got along and wanted to keep the administration set up the same way will more or less endorse each other, usually encouraging people who voted for the vice president originally to vote for him or her again, and same for the president. This generally works if Freedemians are happy with both the president and the vice president. Many expected Houser to do the same, as Rosenthal-Houser has been one of the most highly esteemed administrations in recent Freedemian history.

Houser wanted to make it clear that he respects Rosenthal greatly and enjoys being her vice president. “I really trust and support President Rosenthal. I don’t want this to be construed as meaning anything different. But I have a lot of my own ideas as well, and I think I’d be in the best position to implement them if I was in the office myself.”

Patrick Houser was originally a newscaster for FFRA 10 News, Progress World Network’s Franklinsburgh affiliate, until running in 2016 as an underdog candidate for vice president when Tom Morganton resigned due to his daughter developing cancer (today she is doing well and the cancer is now in remission). Houser came from behind with a grassroots movement and would edge out former vice president Marco Nelson for the position. Now, as Vice President, Houser has been the source of a lot of big ideas in the Rosenthal administration, while President Rosenthal was more the steady handed leader that implemented them.

It is very possible that Houser becomes president and Rosenthal is runner up and becomes vice president. This has happened once before, with Andrew Ames and Sarah Gerbertson. Ames had been president with Gerbertson as vice president, but things like Gerbertson’s commitment to going green and advocating for barechested equality and reducing censorship of non-offensive images gained her enough supporters to push her above Ames in the election, making Gerbertson president and Ames vice president. Houser is only trailing Rosenthal by 2%, and there are still several months leading up to the election.

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Meet the candidates in Freedemia’s 2018 Presidential Election

QUENTINSBURGH- The campaign season for Freedemia’s presidential election is well underway now. The presidential campaign period in Freedemia stretches from late April to early October during major election years, with the runoff election for president and vice president taking place in November. The Freedemian Funding Party goes through a vetting process and narrows the candidate list down to approximately 5 candidates to get ballot access, though others can get access by way of petitions in all 11 states.

This year, 6 candidates made the cut, 2 by default, 3 by FFP vetting, and one by petition. Former Vice President Marco Nelson, long considered a front runner, actually decided not to run, remaining a foreign policy advisor in the Rosenthal-Houser administration after Houser extended the olive branch this past vice-presidential election.

  1. President Angela Rosenthal
  2. Vice President Patrick Houser

The first candidate is President Angela Rosethal, and the second is Vice President Patrick Houser. As is normal, the incumbent president and vice president, if they choose to run again, do not have any charges or investigations open against them, and are not at the end of their term limits, are automatically pushed into the next round.

Incumbent Angela Rosenthal is currently one of the highest esteemed presidents in Freedemian history, and is the obvious favorite for reelection. Her moves to make citizenship easier to obtain for law-abiding individuals and families; her spending reallocation act transferring money from military spending and elections to healthcare, infrastructure, and education; and her pushes for Freedemia to take its stand on the global stage in technology, innovation, and tourism have been huge steps forward for the country. Rosenthal is actually the reason for the shorter campaign period, as she pushed for election reform earlier in her term including a drastic reduction in funding for campaigns.

Former newscaster and Incumbent VP Patrick Houser’s biggest accomplishments have been on the health side of things. Along with Rosenthal, Houser spearheaded the moves for making drinking water free and accessible for all Freedemians, tackling the restroom shortage, and more than quadrupling the amount of funding for private urgent cares across Freedemia to reduce the amount of people going to the emergency room. Houser has also championed a green infrastructure plan hoping to help the country continue to go modern and go green, including roadside wind turbines, water turbines, solar farms, nationwide wifi for the digital age, etc. As a former newscaster himself, Houser also proposed an act that holds media sources more responsible for inaccurate reporting, especially where investigations or national security interests are involved.

  1. Vandover Mayor Lily Mae Clarington

Mayor Lily Mae Clarington was a major supporter and leading advocate for Amendment 30, which made public nudism and barechested equality constitutional, allowing public nudity nationwide as long as it is not accompanied by indecent behavior. Clarington has pushed for the banishment of dress codes and censorship altogether, as the city of Vandover did several years ago under her leadership. Like Houser, Clarington has pushed for investment in infrastructure. Clarington is a big advocate for making Freedemia a global hub for tourism, hoping to bring the success Laneston and Vandover have seen with nudism and movies and that Quentinsburgh has seen with arts and music to the rest of the country. Clarington also wants to essentially shrink Freedemia’s military by 85%, saying she’d like to see Freedemia truly become a center for peace, pacifism and diplomacy.

Clarington has surprised many by openly campaigning barechested, and is known for being a proud nudist who would frequently go nude on the job as mayor. Clarington also is pushing for legislation that regulates the actions of and breaks up the “clothing industry”, saying large clothing corporations are hurting and creating a negative body image for Freedemians and people all around the world.

While 94% of Freedemians identify as pacifists or non-agressionists, most do want to see a small but strong military to protect the nation, and it is unclear how voters will respond to her drastic proposed military cuts.

  1. Economist Derrick Barson

Derrick Barson is an economist, formerly an economics instructor at Hayes University in Quentinsburgh and now an economist working for the Freedemian Liberty Economic Institute based out of Franklinsburgh.

Barson’s proposals largely center around personal freedom, smaller government, and public-private partnerships, essentially helping shrink the government while stimulating the economy. Barson has proposed decriminalizing sales of marijuana products and wants to increase protections for “victimless crimes” when performed on private property. Barson advocates for helping competition by deregulating certain industries and proposes allowing non-governmental groups to take on some roles currently held by government organizations. Barson proposes fully privatizing infrastructure and simply providing some funding, pointing to FreedemiRail as a successful example and pointing out that most transit systems in Freedemia are private companies already and that private partnerships for road construction and maintenance could be successful. Barson believes private companies should be responsible for the type of green innovation Houser has proposed, and has expressed a willingness to work with Houser on his proposals as long as they were simply incentivized and not carried out by the government.

  1. TweetBook CEO Katherine Nelzer

Katherine Nelzer has become a familiar household name. Founder and CEO of the social media site TweetBook, Nelzer has become more politically outspoken in recent years, especially pertaining to the growing global cyber-security threat. Nelzer believes that Freedemia is one of the most likely worldwide to be a victim of a large cyber-attack, due to its large and growing global footprint, minimal military action, and lackluster national cyber-security protections. “A pacifist society can still be a secure one. Cyber warfare is a thing, and we need to be prepared.” Nelzer also believes that in this changing society technology is key. She supports Houser’s pushes for things like nationwide wifi and data, and, like Barson, believes incentivizing the tech industry could be one of the most important moves to help make Freedemia even more of a world leader. She cites Stepstone Technology and BuyGolly.com as two of the successes she hopes to see repeat in tech innovations nationwide, and hopes, like Houser, to see Freedemia become a champion of smart cities as a global example.

  1. Actor Craig Schluderman

Craig Schluderman is an actor who plays President James Glasner on the comedy crime show National Security. While Glasner was just a role, Schluderman has always been interested in politics. He had joked on TweetBook back in December about running, posting “Maybe what we need now is a President James Glasner to move us forward” with a link to an interview with comedian Greg Harveyman on the Late Night Show about Schluderman’s views on global politics today. Millions of signatures came in, giving Schluderman the ballot access he needed to be candidate #6. Schluderman’s campaign so far has emphasized Freedemia’s growing presence on the global stage, and has pushed for more diplomatic presence in global affairs. Schluderman believes Freedemia has a responsibility to equal rights and justice, and proposed reducing relations and trade with countries that currently have a record of discriminating based on race, gender, or religion or of human rights or war/land/border violations. On the domestic side, Schluderman wants to crack down harder on improper practices in the rice farming and mining industries that are so large in Freedemia to make them safer for workers.

This election is expected to bring up a lot of important issues that are expected to continue to make a difference in Freedemia no matter who is elected. A major upset could still be possible. While Rosenthal is still the favorite, if for no other reasons than her being loved by the people, being the incumbent, and being successful so far, it appears the issues this election centers around are not the same issues Rosenthal championed just 4 years ago. Between Houser championing health, green technology and innovation, Clarington championing tourism, pacifism, and body image, Barson championing fiscal responsibility and privatization, Nelzer championing cybersecurity and technological advancements, and Schluderman championing social justice and labor reform, Rosenthal surprisingly has the weakest platform, or at least the least bold one. Rosenthal has been so successful in her first term that she doesn’t have many unique campaign goals for a second one.

The first PWN poll coming out today shows an interesting trend. President Rosenthal is in the lead, as expected, with 29% of the vote. However, Vice President Houser is actually very close behind with 27% of the vote, slightly unusual for an incumbent vice president, who would normally come in second but largely behind the current president. Nelzer is in third with 18% of the vote, Barson in fourth with 11%, Schluderman in fifth with 8% and Clarington in sixth with 6%, most of which is coming from her home region of Laneston/Vandover. Marco Nelson, though not running, still managed to rake in about 0.4% of the vote in the poll as a write-in candidate.

meta-chart (4)

Schluderman seems to be in second in the sparsely populated states of North and Guijarros, both home to large amounts of rice farms, and Nelzer seems to be in second to Houser in Trenchent State, the tech capital of Freedemia, where Rosenthal is in a surprising third. Houser is leading by a large margin in his home state of Franklins, getting a whopping 57% of the state’s votes with Rosenthal trailing with 16% in Franklins. Barson did best in the Savvenahsburgh area, known for being very lenient on “victimless crimes” and for championing privatization.

The first televised debate is expected to be on June 10th, aired on PWN.

Freedemian Court rules in favor of Feldman in Leo Jono vs Brian Feldman, but with several reservations

QUENTINSBURGH- In the case that has made international headlines, Leo Jono vs Brian Feldman, the Freedemian National Court has ruled in favor of Brian Feldman, though with many reservations.

The court decided 6-4 that Leo Jono was technically free to deny the service of creating a turtlefruit pizacyro since first of all, turtlefruit wasn’t a topping offering, and second of all since it went against his belief that turtlefruit does not go on pizacyros.

However, the reason the court ruled decisively and unanimously for Brian Feldman was that by blacklisting Feldman from getting even normal pizacyros, Leo Jono had denied Feldman a service not based on his own beliefs, but based on Feldman’s differing belief, which is against the very same belief freedom and belief discrimination laws that upheld Leo Jono’s right to not provide turtlefruit as a topping.

The courts also cautioned that while they may have ruled in this case, technically, pizacyro preference is not a belief that counts as a religious or cultural belief, and labeled that portion of the case “frivolous” to prevent any further cases or legal battles on the topic.

Freedemian National Court to hear case over “Turtlefruit DOES GO on Pizacyros” controversy

QUENTINSBURGH– This week, the Freedemian National Court is expected to hear a strange case- one centered around the “Turtlefruit DOES GO on Pizacyros” movement. No, the case will not decide whether turtlefruit goes on pizacyros or not (though that would end a lot of the debate). The case of Leo Jono vs Brian Feldman centers largely on denial of services for beliefs other than religious or cultural ones, such as food preference.

Leo Jono’s Authentic Pizacyro’s is located in the Vera Point neighborhood in Quentinsburgh. Last July, long time customer Brian Feldman asked Leo Jono if he could get turtlefruit on his Pizacyro, which turned into an argument, with owner Leo Jono insisting “no self respecting chef would ever defile a pizacyro in such a way” and that he owned an “honorable establishment that would never create such trash”. Leo Jono’s being one of the most popular non-chain pizacyro restaurants in Quentinsburgh, the incident angered a lot of turtlefruit-lovers, and Feldman rallied about 15,000 people to sign a petition for Leo Jono’s to offer turtlefruit as a topping for his pizacyros. When Feldman came in, ordered a normal pizacyro and presented the petition to Leo Jono, Jono told Feldman he had been blacklisted and was no longer allowed as a customer at Leo Jono’s. This spurred quite a few protests and a large boycott of the business.

The case focuses on whether or not Leo Jono was allowed to blacklist Feldman for presenting the petition in favor of turtlefruit pizacyros. Freedemia has religious/belief protections, so theoretically Leo Jono was fully allowed to deny the service of creating a turtlefruit pizacyro because it went against his beliefs and his customer policy. However, the question becomes whether Leo Jono was allowed to blacklist Feldman over his belief that “turtlefruits do go on pizacyros”, which could be considered discriminating against Feldman due to what he believes in. Some also question if food preference can be considered a belief protected under the original law that would warrant denial of service, as it seems very trivial in comparison to religion, cultural beliefs, etc.

Lawyers for Leo Jono argue that the denial was not over Feldman’s belief that pizacyros and turtlefruit go together, but over “harrassment of the company”. Feldman’s lawyers rebut, saying that after the initial confrontation Feldman had not done anything threatening or harrassing, as he had peacefully presented the petition to Leo Jono and even ordered a turtlefruit-free pizacyro.

Some argue the case is frivolous and should be thrown out. Others believe the case is frivolous, but that they should follow the standard set by Heinz Doofenschmidt v United Freedemian Union and rule before labeling the case frivolous.

The case is expected to divide the court, but it is currently unclear how many will want to rule which way.

Embassies officially available in Terwen

CAMPECH – After years of problems, embassy spots are officially available in Campech.

For the past 76 years, embassies have been limited to a small, cramped office building in Downtown Campech.  The building, formerly named Embassy Centre, was built in 1941 right after Terwen’s current government was formed, has 12 floors where countries were crammed in because of no available space for embassies in Campech.  The building has been continually deteriorating structurally and has no offices available.  There was so little space left in the building that some countries literally shared an office.

The need for a new embassy area became very apparent 5 months  ago when a fire caused the top 2 floors of the building to become completely unusable.  The fire started when one of the building’s servers overheated and exploded because of its lackluster cooling room.  The fire proceeded to completely destroy the server room, and then cause the floor it was on, Floor 12, to have to be completely evacuated because of the damaged asbestos making the air toxic and lead pipes melting from the fire.  The fire then went down to Floor 11 before it was finally put out.  Even though no one died in the fire, it ruined a major database and several country’s embassies.

Campech Officials had already been negotiating with the neighborhood of Greenwich to replace the historic area of North Greenwich with a dedicated embassy area, but as has happened many times over in the past, the neighborhood refused as all the other neighborhoods of Campech had.

However, because of the Embassy Centre fire and questionable structural condition of it,  the Prime Minister of Terwen issued an executive order demanding the construction of dedicated embassy areas in North Greenwich.  People living in the houses that would have to be destroyed were given vouchers that allowed them to buy a house or condo in Campech for 75% off, or wait until a condo building built in the location of the old Embassy Centre Building was complete, in which they would be given the condo for free.

Construction on this embassy area started one month later with the destruction of many old houses in North Greenwich, even as protesters blocked the path of many construction vehicles.  The construction carried on for 4 months until the embassy area was ready.

“I am very fortunate to see a true embassy area finally opening in Campech.  Campech finally has a safe, spacious embassy area that will show Terwen’s importance and strength.” said Prime Minister Fredrick Montclair in a press conference today.

With embassies available, guidelines for embassy construction have been released.  These embassies may take 1/4, 1/2, or one whole block depending on how substantial the relations between that country and Terwen are, and must be located in the spaces marked “Available Embassy Area.”  Countries who build an embassy must send a PM to iBallasticwolf2 about it, but do not need permission to build an embassy as long as they follow the guidelines.

The old Embassy Centre Building will be demolished in 2 months after the countries using it have moved out.  A new condominium tower 20 floors high will be built in the current location of Embassy Centre.

Opinion: Constructing QUARTA’s Trams was the biggest waste of taxpayer money in recent Quentins History

QUENTINSBURGH- The following is an opinion editorial by recently hired QDOT transit planner Greg Sullivan, who specializes in helping find cost-effective transit/roadway solutions. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PWN News.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about QUARTA potentially wasting taxpayer money with a few of their big infrastructure projects.

A lot of the discussion arose again when QUARTA announced plans to put emergency call buttons at every QLine Metro entrance, in every metro station, in/at every park and ride, and at all major bus stops and transit centers. I think this is largely unnecessary. Quentinsburgh is one of the safest cities in the world, and QUARTA is one of the safest transit systems in the world. Most metro stations already have these buttons on the platforms, and transit centers and park and rides usually have either existing buttons, a staffed building, or phones that already serve this role. But it’s an understandable move. QUARTA has been safe for years, and it seems like they’re making sure that continues to be the case. I still think that the cost may be worth more than the benefit in a system already known for safety, though.

I think there’s also a strong argument that QLine metro lines 11 and 12 (constructed originally as lines 10 and 11 and running most recently as lines 9 and 11) were a waste , as the area seems like bus rapid transit, like QLine 15 off the coast, may have been a more effective and more reasonably priced alternative that would have worked very well in the area. While the area is growing, it’s still not big enough to have truly needed a heavy rail line, even if it’s just a local one. These lines could have been built as BRT and simply rebuilt as a light rail as density and demand grew enough to warrant it.

But there’s one part of the QUARTA system that is the single biggest waste in the system’s history, and that’s the construction of the 3 stand-alone trams; the PlaneTrain, the Fairgrounds Tram, and the Geolympiad Shuttle.

For one, these trams aren’t linked to the main metro system track-wise. They don’t use the same train cars (in fact, they don’t even use the same company! Tram cars are made by Starmobility, while subway cars come from Chang y Sainz) and thus cannot be linked into the main system. You can see evidence of that along the Geolympiad Shuttle, where the tram LITERALLY runs ALONGSIDE the metro line 2 for two whole kilometers. That’s TWO MILES OF REDUNDANT TRACK. There’s also a one-station redundant stretch along Clayton Road.

This also leads to “island routing”, or lines that literally seem to go nowhere productive and can’t be expanded without certain parts being redundant. Take the Fairgrounds Tram, for example. QUARTA has been looking for a way to extend it and make it more effective for years. The problem? The subway system surrounds the tram and serves the area well enough that there’s nowhere to expand the tram without it being an even bigger waste of money than it already is.

But the biggest problem is the fact that PRACTICALLY NO ONE RIDES THEM.

As implied by the names of the three trams, the Fairgrounds Tram, Geolympiad Shuttle, and PlaneTram, these lines were built for very specific venues and in some cases, very specific events as well.

The Geolympiad Shuttle tram got huge amounts of riders DURING the 2016 Pancontinental Games in Quentinsburgh, as visitors/spectators used the tram to get back and forth from venue to venue. Ridership was easily in the hundreds of thousands. But that ridership only lasted through the Geolympiad itself. Currently, the most ridership on the entire line is Read University students using it as an extra way to get across campus or a way to connect to nearby metro lines that do not come far into campus. A little extra amount comes from those going to Quentinsburgh Firestorm baseball games, or the Horizon Plaza Mall and Hotel Complex (also built for the Geolympiad). Ridership today? only 5,000- on a good day. To make matters worse, the area is already surrounded by subway routes. Something as simple as a couple infill stations and a really reliable bus circulator could have done the trick, for the Geolympiad and even today for the occasional rider.

The Fairgrounds Tram is even worse. There was no real big event that warranted even the consideration of such a cost-ineffective transit project. The Quentins State Fair has seen declining visitors year after year, especially as Thrill Planet becomes more accessible, and less and less events are being hosted at the Quentins Fairgrounds. Yet we have a tram that was built especially for the Quentins Fairgrounds. Ridership, at best, is around 100 on a good, non-fair day, most going to either a small expo at the fairgrounds or trying to transfer between QLine Metro lines 1/14 and line 2 without going downtown. During the state fair that number can reach as high as 500 daily (yayyyyyyyyyyy *sarcasm*). The tram was built with the capacity of handling 15,000 passengers or more daily. A bus could have EASILY done the job.

The PlaneTram is easily the most effective and cost-worthy tram of the three, being used by hundreds of thousands of passengers every day. I wouldn’t call it a waste persay. But the same need could have been easily and effectively met by a frequently running airport shuttle bus, without the cost of new construction.

To be clear, I’m not referring to QUARTA’s small but successful trolley system. The Downtown Trolley has been running surprisingly well after some route tweaks, the James Street Trolley has greatly improved surface transportation in downtown Quentinsburgh, and the Waterside Park Tram (which, ironically, is actually a trolley) provides a quick connection to Waterside Park Isle and to Quentinsburgh Beach. All three have proven to be valuable assets to the system.

But the three standalone trams, as well as the costs of continued operation, have been a weight around QUARTA’s ankles for a long time, and will continue to be until they figure out what’s the best financial decision for the trams.

 

Bill in response to Freedemian restroom shortage would reduce penalties for public urination

QUENTINSBURGH– Reeds Poplator Selena DiCostranado introduced a bill Friday afternoon addressing a problem related to the Freedemian restroom shortage in an unique way. The bill, currently simply dubbed Populus Bill 46, would lessen sentences/punishments for public urination. Essentially, the bill says public urination cannot be classified as a lewd act, and can only be punishable by law in the case of related vandalism or desecration/hate crimes.

The reasoning behind the bill, according to DiCostranado, is that public urination is something done out of desperation, not done for the purposes of being lewd. Even with Amendment 30, which switched the country from an indecent exposure model to an indecent behavior model and made non-lewd exposure legal in all 11 states, most ordinances continued to consider public urination “lewd”.

Currently, the legislature seems torn on the matter. Quentins Poplator Samantha Bond expressed concern that the country’s image as a clean, hygienic, beautiful nation would be at risk if people thought urinating on the side of the road or in public spaces was acceptable. Guijarros Poplator Jared Greenbrooks expressed concern that the bill, if passed, would set a dangerous precedent and could lead to something like public defecation becoming legal down the road.

Others supported the bill wholeheartedly, with the main reason for supporting it being the reduced punishment.

“It’s ridiculous that depending on the city, people have been fined, held for questioning, and even charged with lewd acts simply for not peeing on themselves when they couldn’t hold it anymore,” Trenchent Poplator Harrison Mead stated. “People have to pee, whether that’s in a toilet, in the grass, or in their pants. It’s not really a choice. Reducing the punishment for public urination to only being punishable when used for vandalism or desecration just makes sense.”

It does seem like the bill has a fair chance of passing the House of Populus, with the most recent stats estimating about 29 out of 47 Poplators are very likely to vote for the bill (a majority is 24). The House of Decisions is expected to vote that the decision only needs to be voted on by the House of Populus to become law.

While much of the attention was brought to the issue by then-vice-presidential candidate Diane Wooten-Whitaker peeing on herself during a live debate, the Freedemian restroom shortage has become a much more widely recognized issue over the past couple years, with studies and surveys showing that most Freedemians were choosing not to drink as much as they should for fear of not being able to find a public restroom, leading to greatly increased cases of heat stroke and dehydration-related illnesses and health problems.

Freedemia has in the past had an odd relationship with public restrooms, and with no ordinances in 99% of cities or towns requiring public restrooms and until recently, no statewide or nationwide requirements at all, many businesses and public places had opted to only have restrooms for employees or paying customers, some even going as far as to charge for bathroom usage. (Some lower level local courts had upheld these practices in the past, with the reasoning being the money would help pay for cleaning and maintenance.)

Some steps have been taken that are expected to make a difference over time, such as the passing of the slightly controversial RAWAA, which requires public businesses to provide public restrooms. However, in some places, including DiConstranado’s home state of Reeds, the shortage (as well as the rebellion among business owners refusing to comply with the law) is still bad enough that people are still finding themselves not able to find a restroom.

This bill comes in the midst of a greater move for the health and well-being of Freedemians, largely under the vice presidency of Patrick Houser. Other major recent moves have been about making sure water was accessible for all Freedemians, such as providing easier universal access to free drinking water (WAWAA) and removing water from “no food, no drink policies” (Walden v. VAULT). Healthcare reform is expected to happen in the coming months as well, with the emphasis being accessibility for all Freedemians, thus increasing the health of the country as a whole.