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.

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QUARTA announces new alignment for Phase II of QLine metro route 10, construction shortened 2km, saving around 150 million Freedins and moving up completion date to 2019

QUENTINSBURGH- As construction proceeds with construction of the elevated track structure up Apex Drive North and  March Point Road about halfway completed, QUARTA has officially changed the final alignment of the QLine Metro local Line 10.

Originally, the line was to proceed up March Point Road all the way to M. Williams Parkway, merging with Line 5 and running out to terminate in Matherspark Village alongside lines 1, 1x, 5, and 5x. However, this was a slight problem. Tracks in the QLine system are only made to support 3 train lines at a time. Line 10 would be the third local line running in the Matherspark Village area, and the tracks technically would have been able to handle it, but local line 1 uses an immense amount of capacity as one of the most used lines in the system, which means some sort of extra tracks after the “merge” may have been necessary to support the additional local line 10.

The primary purpose of the merge with line 5 was to provide a final link back to line 1, as line 10 was built largely to help take some riders off the crowded lines 1 and 14, as well as line 5 which was slowly becoming more crowded.

What QUARTA decided to do instead of the merge with line 5 was to go up March Point Road up until Hinespoint Road and merge with line 11 to run local along Tortoise Ridge Road out to Tortoise Point Towne Center to terminate at Capitol Boulevard with lines 3, 3x, and 11. This realignment connects line 10 with lines 1, 1x, 14 and 14x at Hesperic /Tortoise Ridge, lines 6 at Christian/Tortoise Ridge, lines 2 and 2x at Tortoise Ridge/Bond, and lines 3 and 3x at the terminus, creating far more connections than the original alignment.

The new alignment is also cheaper. By eliminating the 2km bridge between Hinespoint and M. Williams Pkwy, QUARTA saved about f‘150,000,000 on Phase II of Line 10. The new version will be finished by April 2019 in contrast to the mid-2020 originally estimated.

Line 10 changes (1)

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.

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.

Freedemian National Court rules in Walden v. VAULT that water cannot be included in “no food, no drink” policies, solidifies water’s status as an essential right and need

QUENTINSBURGH– The Freedemian National Court made a long awaited ruling during a special judicial session on Saturday in the case Walden v. VAULT. The ruling mainly ruled that water cannot be included in “no food or drink” policies, including “no outside drinks allowed” policies, based on a court case between VAULT (Vandover And Urban Laneston Transit) and an asthmatic passenger.

QUARTA, Quentinsburgh’s transit system, stopped including water in their “no food, no drink” policies back around 2013 when it became clear during an abnormally dry and hot season that the hundred-degree temperatures (Fahrenheit) and difficult access of water in some places was part of the reason heat strokes and other exhaustion/dehydration related illnesses were so rampant in Freedemia. A couple other Freedemian transit systems, such as PLATA in Personsboro/Leonard, GoFARTher in Franklinsburgh, and LART in Trenchent/San Grande, followed this lead, which would lead to a lot of businesses and school systems also changing their policies similarly.

However, VAULT was not one of these transit systems, which would end up leading to this case. In July 2016, on one of the hottest days in the year, Maurice Walden ran to catch a VAULT bus to get to work with a bottle of water. While he was allowed on the bus, when an out of breath Walden tried to drink some of his water, the driver (who will remain unnamed) asked him to follow the “no food, no drink” policy. Walden, an asthmatic, attempted to explain that he needed the water after running to catch the bus, but the driver made Walden put the water away anyway. Walden would have an asthma attack a few minutes later.

While he ended up being okay, Walden reported the way he was treated to VAULT, only to get a letter saying that he had been in violation of the “no food or drink” policy. Walden would sue VAULT, and over the course of the year the case would make its way up to the National Court.

The ruling in favor of Walden asserted that water is a “fundamental right and an essential need”, and that the only times it is reasonable to include water in a “no food or drink” policy is if its a location like a science lab where drinking water could result in the direct harm of the person drinking. This is a pretty big deal, and solidifies through the courts the importance of easy access to water. President Angela Rosenthal has been trying to emphasize the importance of water and restroom access for a while, passing WAWAA and the slightly more controversial RAWAA, but this is the first time that the judiciary upheld the importance.

Vice president Patrick Houser praised the decision as a huge step forward. “This day marks a step towards a time where Freedemia becomes, even moreso, a world leader in fundamental rights and environmental consciousness”, he said during a brief remark after the ruling. Houser has been known as a champion of moderate environmentalism since his election in 2016 to vice president, advocating for a faster move to public transportation, more reliable renewable and green energy, easier access to water, and higher standards in green architecture and design.