by Max Barry

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by The Constitutional Monarchy of Zogarok. . 34 reads.

NS Issues

The Issue 3 - "Harry Potter Censorship Row" (11-10-2015)
The latest "Harry Potter" book to hit schools across Zogarok has stirred up the greatest controversy yet.

1: "I quite enjoyed the book, until I got to the part where Harry summons evil demons to do his bidding," says religious leader Bruce Neumann. "Now that's just wrong. We need to restore some sense to this debate, by which I mean we should remove this book from the shelves, salt it thoroughly, and burn it."
2: Teachers union President Georgina Tan says, "Come on, the book is fantasy! And it's a damn good read. I'd like the government to issue a statement of support for our teachers and librarians, so kids can enjoy good books without interference from religious wackos, like Christians."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

The Issue 13 - "Too Much Yakking, Already, Say Delegation" (8-10-2015)
Some people say Zogarok's policy on free speech has gone too far.

1: "These days, anyone says whatever they want with no regard to what kind of dribble is coming out of their mouths!" says angry commuter Stephanie Yeats. "It's gone too far. We should go back to the good old days, when if someone started talking garbage, we'd smack them one."
2: "We need more free speech, not less," argues civil rights campaigner Konrad Dimitrov. "Free speech allows ideas to be explored, challenged, and discussed in a productive, open forum. It teaches our kids to be critical thinkers. And dirty words, of course, but that's just the price you pay."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

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

17 - "Corporations Demand Political Say" (24-02-2016)
Réponse 1.

The Issue 22 - "Nazi Sympathizers Plan Rally" (16-10-2015)
Far-right-wing Nazi supporters plan to stage a rally in the city center tomorrow, giving voice to their violent, racist views.

1: "Frankly, I'm appalled that the government can even consider allowing this travesty to go ahead," says prominent Jewish personality Chloe de Vries. "We can't let these animals broadcast their message of hate. Surely Zogarok is too civilized for that."
2: "It's exactly because we're civilized that we must let the demonstration proceed," says free speech campaigner Harry Développement. "We may not like what they have to say, but in this society, people have the right to argue whatever political view they want, no matter how hateful, selfish, or stupid it is."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

The Issue 25 - "Cloning Research Promises New Breakthrough" (11-10-2015)
Scientists using cloned human embryos for research are on the verge of a medical breakthrough.

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

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

The Issue 30 - "Auto Industry Struggles Against Foreign Imports" (14-10-2015)
Cheap, foreign-made cars are becoming increasingly popular, causing concern in Zogarok's automobile manufacturing industry.

1: "Unless this government does something, Zogarok won't have an auto industry for much longer," says auto industry union boss Hillary Nagasawa, in a rare public appearance alongside management. "These foreign companies employ people for a few zogmas a day. The only way to level the playing field is to raise tariffs. The government would make more money, too, so it's win-win."
2: "For once, I agree with my grubby colleague here," says General Chassis CEO Chris Song. "Although I have to say, tariffs aren't the only answer. A more effective solution would be to abolish minimum wage laws. Now that would level the playing field. And we'd be able to employ more--argh, let go of my throat!"
3: "I think we need to face facts," says noted economist and chat-show regular Randy Schultz. "We live in a global economy now, and automobile manufacturing just isn't Zogarok's strong suit. There's no point taking money from taxpayers in order to line the pockets of a few greedy workers and corrupt managers in a doomed industry. Let the market take its--argh, let go of my throat!"
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

=> Même question le 24-02-2016 : réponse 3.

The Issue 34 - "Don't Puff On Me, Say Non-Smokers" (24-10-2015)
There is a growing call within Zogarok to abolish smoking in public areas.

1: "I'm in full support of this motion," says man on the street Gregory Winters. "I'm sick of being stuck behind smokers, sucking in their pollution! They can light up in the privacy of their own homes, if they want."
2: "What's so special about their homes?" says anti-smoking campaigner Gretel Yeats. "The government has a responsibility to stop people from hurting themselves -- it's the same reason we should make them wear seat belts in cars. Sooner or later, they end up in one of Zogarok's hospitals, sucking on taxpayer-funded healthcare. Not that that's why we should ban smoking. We should ban it because we care."
3: "Get your hands off my fag!" wheezes long-time smoker Prudence Dimitrov. "I've been smoking for fifty years and it's never done me any harm. Helps me concentrate, it does! The government should back off on trying to tell me what I can put into my own body. Telling a smoker he can't light up in a restaurant is discrimination, pure and simple. If you want to put a stop to unfairness, stop that."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

The Issue 39 - "Scandal Rocks Zogarok's Government!" (17-11-2015)
A tabloid magazine, The National Incriminator, has revealed the sordid details of an affair between one of your top advisors, Robert Lotsalovin, and his secretary.

1: "They found out I did WHAT?!" Advisor Lotsalovin says in his morning meeting in your office. "This just can't happen! How can government officials do their jobs properly if we have to work under the constant scrutiny of these idiotic supermarket tabloids? I say tabloid newspapers must be banned, and we must not allow newspapers to speak ill of our government officials... for the good of Zogarok, of course..."
2: "Unbelievable!" says Reverend Colleen Hernandez of the local Catholic church. "Our government officials must be held to a higher standard than this! Mr. Lotsalovin must be removed from office and jailed. We cannot allow such disgusting corruption within the halls of justice!"
3: "Whoa, whoa, hey, now..." argues Senator Sue-Ann James. "What happened to Mr. Lotsalovin is no different than affairs that happen all over Zogarok every day! Before you know it, they'll be after YOUR sexual history! I think what we need to do is take the public attention off of it somehow, perhaps by... oh, I don't know... giving them a tax cut! That'll divert their attention from this momentary distraction just long enough for Mr. Lotsalovin's divorce process to end!"
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

=> Même question le 24-02-2016 : réponse 3.

42 - "Turn Down That Racket, Say Morality Police" (5-01-2016)
Réponse 2.

The Issue 56 - ""Give Us Money!" Quoth The Poet" (4-10-2015)
The National Poetry Society of Zogarok is demanding government-funded programs to promote the arts, especially poetry.

1: "We need government help to promote culture," says Max Lee, chairperson of the National Poetry Society of Zogarok. "Poetry is the soul of our nation, the very pulse of humanity! We will ultimately be judged according to our contribution to artistic enlightenment. In other words, please provide funding for our humble mission to bring the beauty of poetry to the masses!"
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

2: "Artists and poets should support themselves, like everyone else," replies Elizabeth Leach, spokesperson for the Capitalism Now Party. "The suffering taxpayers should be given a break. In fact, we should abolish all government subsidies for special interest groups."
3: "Poets--who needs them?!" scoffs Mohammed Washington, Chairperson Emeritus of the Troglodyte Coalition. "These long-haired troublemakers should all be lined up against the wall and shot! That would be far more entertaining than reading some dumb poems!"

=> Même question le 25-01-2016 : Réponse 2.

61 - "Should The Government Grant Estates And Titles Of Nobility?" (14-02-2016)
Réponse 2.

The Issue 95 - "Painful Prices Paid At The Pump" (8-10-2015)
Commuters are complaining about the ongoing rise in gas prices, causing a massive debate in the government about what should be done.

1: "Who cares about a few trees?" says oil executive Al Parke. "Gas prices are six zogmas per gallon, and rising! There is lots of oil to be found in areas currently protected as parks! Solving our energy needs is more important than conserving the environment. Just give us permission to go in there and start drilling, and gas prices will plummet!"
2: "There are other ways to recover from the fossil fuel crisis besides ruining forests," says environmental activist Falala Love. "We shouldn't just take the short way out and drill here. I suggest spending more money on public transportation systems and encouraging people to carpool - if people weren't so reliant on fossil fuel powered cars, we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place, and if we start using less oil, the price will drop with the demand."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

Dilemma 96 (9-08-2015, 1h)
The Issue : Water Supply Problems Becoming A Major Drain
Due to the explosive population growth in Zogarok, coupled with recent droughts, people are beginning to worry about the nation's decreasing water supply, and who should get first dibs on the vital H2O.

1: "We need this water to raise our crops," says incensed farmer Abraham Cruz. "If it wasn't for us farmers, the rest of Zogarok would be starving. How about laying the blame where it belongs, and look to those cookie cutter suburban houses with their green lawns and pristinely washed mini-vans!"
2: "It is my right to have the most beautiful lawn in the neighborhood," says neighborhood spokesperson Mia Jamieson. "Our community spends a lot of effort cultivating a nice environment for our kids to grow up in. Why, if they didn't have these nice lawns to play in, they would be hanging out on street corners peddling drugs, or worse! Won't someone please think of the children?"
3: "Here is a novel idea," proclaims Chris Longfellow, spokesperson for radical environmental group Leave Nature Alone. "How about getting rid of all these dams and irrigation projects that are getting in the way of Mother Nature's plans for the water. It is time to allow the rivers to take their natural courses and leave the environment alone. I'm sure things will work out fine if we let Nature take its course."
4: "Obviously, who gets how much water is only a part of the problem," notes famed population-control advocate Daniel Bronte. "We must try to curtail the rapid growth of our population, whether by limiting the amount of children people may have, or by deporting immigrants and criminals... we must get a handle on our population before we can hope to correct this water supply problem."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

The Issue 111 - "Southern Zogarok Demands Semi-Autonomy" (17-11-2015)
Politicians from a distant and obscure part of Zogarok have been calling for the government to split Zogarok into various semi-autonomous regions, each with an elected council to govern their designated area.

1: "The government is too centralised," complains rural villager, Ryan Barry. "We get these big-city politicians making rulings that affect our way of life, when they have absolutely no idea what our way of life is! One of them even suggested that farmers should be banned from picking crops in case they disturbed the local wildlife! What we need are various councils to govern their own part of Zogarok, giving us the chance to have our say on laws affecting our area. It'll bring politics to the people! Of course this will require the implementation of a council tax to fund it all, but if that's the cost of more political freedom, then so be it!"
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

2: "Councils? Are you mad?" gasps political commentator, Finlay Eliot. "Most of the politicians we already have earn very large sums each year - and you want to employ even more?! We must not listen to the whims of some dangerous separatist movement; next they'll be wanting independence! I suggest we keep the government in one place where we can keep an eye on it and stop creating more jobs for over-paid politicians. Heck, why not trim off the ones we don't need while we're at it and give some leeway to the taxpayers? Anyway, if we allowed places like West Zogarok to make decisions for themselves, they would soon be introducing laws allowing them to marry their cousins or something - you know what they're like..."
3: "These people are obviously power-hungry lunatics," whispers Josh Christensen, one of your innumerable advisors. "They're simply trying to loosen your grip on the nation! Let's just send anyone who opposes your absolute rule to the gallows and ban elections. We hardly need them when you always know what to do! There may be some protest, but we can just lower taxes and they'll be as happy as clams."

The Issue 112 - "Put The Phone Down On Cold Calling?" (17-11-2015)
A growing group of Zogarok's citizens are battling for an end to unrequested solicitations from salesmen.

1: "This has to stop," says mild-mannered parent Declan Dovey. "My family can't even have dinner without being interrupted at least five times by telemarketers or door-to-door salesmen! My privacy is being invaded! The government ought to ban all forms of unrequested solicitations from salespeople. The sanity of the populace is at stake here!"
2: "This must be a joke," retorts insurance sales solicitor Elaine Chicago, in between cold calls. "Telemarketing and door-to-door sales are some of the most effective methods of increasing revenues. Banning them would be a huge blow to business, and put thousands of workers out of their jobs! Let's face the facts - Zogarok needs an economy, and banning cold calls isn't the best of ways to improve it! One way you could improve it would be to, say, give us some government funds. For the sake of Zogarok, of course."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

The Issue 118 - "Need For Speed?" (4-10-2015)
After watching the movie 'The Fast and the Belligerent', boyracers from all over Zogarok have been petitioning for the abolition of speed limits.

1: "Today's cars are safer at high speeds than ever before," argues Ariel Spirit, editor of Sports Car Monthly. "And long-distance commuters are tired of spending hours on the road just to get to the next city. Abolishing the speed limit would be great for the economy too! People would be more likely to go out and buy cars if they thought they'd be able to use them properly. It seems like such a shame to be puttering along at the speed limit in a magnificent car like the 450HP twin-turbo Upupidae SX/T-7700 you know."
2: "Are you crazy?" cries Hope Nagasawa, a road-accident victim. "We need lower speed limits on automobiles, not higher. You might as well enforce mandatory blindfolds on the road too, it'll come to the same conclusion! People's lives are at stake here! If people were made to drive at, say, no faster than fifty kilometres per hour, I would feel a lot happier walking the streets. Besides, if it takes a long time to get places via car then people might begin using mass transit for once."
3: "I think the current speed limits are fine, but we need better enforcement," says John O, the most feared traffic warden in Zogarok. "If we required GPS tracking devices in all vehicles, we'd ticket every single speeder, no problem. In addition, we could monitor the movements of criminals and other suspicious individuals, and vastly reduce the risk of crime, terrorism, and other subversive activity. Some say that's an invasion of privacy, but if you've done nothing wrong what's there to fear?"

The Government Position
The government is preparing to dismiss this issue.

The Issue 123 - "Now, Vat's Food For Thought" (17-11-2015)
After recent leaps and bounds in biomedical research, scientists have revealed 'vat-grown tissue', provoking wild controversy over its possible medical - and culinary - uses.

1: "There is absolutely nothing wrong that has been done here," claims one of the researchers, Dr. Fleur Suzuki. "Vat-grown cloned tissue is extremely versatile when producing organs for transplantation, and knit my booties if it's not the tastiest and most nutritionally-balanced thing around! Beats me why anyone could be against it."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

2: "It's shocking and appalling that we could even consider adding vat-grown meat to the menu," says Jean-Paul True III, the one-armed descendant of a long line of devout vegetarians. "But, on the other hand, we have been waiting for this major medical breakthrough for a long time. Imagine it - no more waiting lists for transplants! This will be of enormous benefit to the healthcare sector. I just think we should draw the line at eating the stuff."
3: "By all means, legalise vat-grown meat!" says Margaret Washington, a masterchef. "Some people say that it's wrong to grow these creatures just to kill them, but that's ridiculous. It's no different than breeding cattle! What's wrong is making them for spare bodyparts. Do I want a piece of me to have been grown? In a VAT? No. It's disgustin'. Besides, it'll raise the cost of my insurance."
4: "This is all abhorrent and aberrant!" declares Tim Gutenberg, the High H'gradskas of the Zogarok Unorthodox Church. "You can't just create meat. It's against God's will, and you'll find that pretty much every other religion will back me up on this one. Living things were designed to be born. Or hatched. Or germinated. And then there's mitosis of course, but that's not the point - the point is that there are some things that Men were not meant to meddle with. We should keep well away from the whole cloning business altogether."
5: "That guy has no sense of vision." says Jack Hernandez, your Minister of Demographics. "Why waste this invention on healthcare or cookery when so much more could be done! Sterilise everybody and grow new people in vats! Disease will be a thing of the past! When they break, just grow new parts! It adopts the industrial method to population management, something we've needed for a long time. And now that we finally have the right technology, I say we do it!"

The Issue 151 - "Build Bigger Bombs, Advise Scientists" (4-10-2015)
Top military designers in your secret laboratories have proposed projects to create nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and are looking to you for government support and funding.

1: "This is a necessary step towards the creation of a safer Zogarok," claims Alexei Dodinas, the leading researcher. "Yes, it will mean a large areas of land will become unusable as a result of the testing, and it will cost billions of zogmas, but that's the price we must pay for our national security. Just think of the power we will have if we can turn our enemies into plate glass!"
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

2: "Why stop with making weapons for ourselves?" asks Lara al-Zahawi, CEO of Wendy's Weapons stores. "We can sell them to all sorts of groups and organisations: other nations, the WA, terror- uh - freedom fighters, anyone! And we produce our own for our protection. Think of the money we can make! I'm sure none of our clients would ever even think of trying to use them to influence our government with threats or anything like that!"
3: "You want to bring NUKES into Zogarok?!" screams anti-nuclear protestor, Harry de Groot. "This won't make us safer - it will just give the power to destroy everything to a few people! We must hunt down the people who suggested this evil plan and have them hanged! We must protect nature from the horrible influences of science. I say ban all new weapons research!"

The Issue 159 - "Think Tank Proposes Privatised Prisons" (14-12-2015)
In response to increasing costs of running state prisons, several government advisors have suggested allowing the private sector to play a greater role in managing Zogarok's correctional facilities.

1: "Zogarok's prisons are in a ghastly state," says Abraham Taffs, representative for several large businesses. "The state now pays a fortune in zogmas each day for every prisoner. My clients will be able to operate the prisons more efficiently and charge the state far less than they're having to pay now. With our help, those in jail will be able to get themselves jobs to do and the government can imprison as many people as they like!"
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

2: "This is just another scheme by multinational corporations to turn our great nation into a corporate dictatorship!" claims Hillary King, of the Social Justice League of Zogarok. "Just say NO to privatised prisons. We should be closing them all down so we can begin focusing on rehabilitation anyway!"
3: "Private prisons?! Rehabilitation?! How utterly ridiculous!" exclaims Chris Rubin, Zogarok's toughest police officer. "Both of these proposals will simply waste resources on the scum of society. I say that we should summarily execute all violent criminals and give their property to their victims."

167 - "Fluoride Controversy A Toothy Problem" (6-01-2016)
Réponse 2.

The Issue 173 - "Women Demand Equal Opportunities" (14-10-2015)
The women of Zogarok are demanding an end to wage discrimination in the workplace.

1: "The government must put a stop to businesses discriminating against women when they apply for a job!" chants Ariel Lopez, a ferocious supporter of women's rights. "Did you know that on average men in Zogarok earn substantially more than women for doing the same job? For too long has the female race been discriminated against in our society due to their sex! We demand equal wages, equal opportunities, and equal respect for women, and we demand them now!"
2: "Hey, my business is treading a thin enough profit margin as it is," complains Bharatendu Rikkard, CEO of Heavy Lifting Incorporated. "Women just aren't as good as men at certain jobs, it's a probably proven fact! Take firefighting - if you were dying from smoke inhalation and collapsed on the floor unable to move, who would you prefer to attempt to rescue you? A man with superior muscular strength or some weakling female? Go on, you decide. Let the businesses decide what they pay and who they pay it to - after all, the economy depends on us."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "Hah! Our society is getting far too soft!" rages Pete Utopia, a staunch male chauvinist. "Whatever happened to the days when a man could go back home to find his good lady wife with his tea ready and his slippers warm? I've heard that some men even have to cook and clean for themselves! Let us return to the days when it was just the men who went out to bring home the bacon! A brand new golden age!"
4: "Personally I think things went wrong as soon as women got labelled as the 'fairer' sex," interrupts Catherine Gratwick, author of the best-selling novel 'Gynaecocracy For Beginners'. "We're strong, we're willing - and we're just plain better than men. See what a state the world is in when they're in charge? I propose that all the men should stay home and be househusbands whilst the women go out to work and earn the wage packet!"

178 - "Free Press Too Free?" (5-01-2016)
Réponse 2.

The Issue 182 - "Younger Voters A Cure For Apathy?" (20-10-2015)
With voter interest in politics plummeting, the idea of lowering the minimum voter age has been suggested.

1: "It's their future as well, let the youngsters have their say!" calls Clint Delauter, a retired history teacher. "By their early-teens, they should know as much about our government and political process as any other voter. It's time we got some young blood infused into the political process and got people interested in politics again."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

2: "Are you mad?" cries Kathleen Trax, government treasurer. "Teenagers are way too easily distracted! They'll end up making snap decisions and lumber us with some incompetent fool who reduces our economy to ruin and could even end up giving out tax cuts! If anything, the government needs to be more careful about who we allow to vote. Background checks and strict conditions placed on all voters should help keep our government running smoothly."
3: "All these elections are awfully troublesome," says Mohammed Pushkin, your senior aide. "I mean, it's obvious you know what's best for the people and for Zogarok, so why don't we cut out the whole voting thing and just appoint the ministers directly? Think of all the money we'd save, and the trees that would be spared from being turned into ballot papers!"

The Issue 184 - "Compulsory Military Service Under Attack" (14-10-2015)
Concerned mothers and nervous school-leavers are petitioning the government to abolish compulsory military service.

1: "Our children are forced to be trained to murder!" protests William Hendrikson, chairperson of the Parents Against All Things Violent organisation. "For too long now the government has been snatching away our children and training them to become killing machines. This archaic practice must be banned at once! Sure, some of them could end up breaking into cars or terrorising old people, but hey, kids will be kids, right?"
2: "What a preposterous idea!" scoffs Drill Sergeant Rebecca Malik. "The youth of Zogarok has never needed the discipline provided by the armed forces more than it does today, and with all those rogue states out there we need all the recruits we can get! If anything, the government should lengthen the required service and drop the minimum age to something more reasonable."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

194 - "A Request For Military Aid" (25-01-2016)
Réponse 2.

The Issue 217 - "Healthcare Services Underfunded, Claim Patients" (18-10-2015)
The ZNHS (Zogarok National Health Service) is struggling to pay for the medicinal and surgical treatments required for your citizens.

1: "The NHS was an ill thought-out idea to begin with!" exclaims conservative aristocrat Faith Chen IV. "We were much better off in a time when the medical profession was geared towards those who could pay for their treatment. Nowadays the waiting lists are choked with riff-raff of all kinds. I don't see why I should pay for someone else's healthcare. Those of us who can afford to pay for a private doctor ought to be allowed to opt out of the NHS tax and if that means lower quality of service for the masses then tough!"
2: "A sickeningly predictable view from the toffs there", retorts senior nurse Alexei Brown. "Being diagnosed with an illness is stressful enough without adding a huge financial burden to the equation. Do you honestly believe people should be denied treatment just because they're poor? The NHS works; people are living longer and fuller lives. I don't have any problem with contributing to the health of Zogarok's citizens. We should increase NHS tax."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "Naaaah," says Lara Hanover, your personal fitness instructor. "The problem is that we are trying to treat all citizens equally. There is no incentive to live a healthy lifestyle. If people had to pay a rate of NHS tax based on such factors as nicotine and alcohol intake, exercise routine and diet then the sensible thing to do would be to take responsibility for one's own health. The more unhealthy you are, the more you must contribute in tax. We'd have national surveys to make sure no one cheats which would be expensive - but fair. Now give me twenty push-ups."
4: "A nice idea but unworkable", muses Barack Frederickson, another of Zogarok's seemingly ubiquitous economists. "How many people do you expect not to lie through their teeth so they don't have to pay so much tax? I would suggest that the problem is that drug companies can develop a drug secure in the knowledge that they can charge what they like and the NHS will be pressured to pay for it. We should force drug companies to surrender their drug to competition after, say, five years and the NHS should then only be allowed to buy drugs which are five years old. This will cut down on the costs considerably while still providing excellent service. Patients may die from technically curable diseases but hey... that's economic reality for you."
5: "The National Health Service was doomed to failure before it even started," says Thomas Cho, a right-wing political commentator. "Anything powered by the 'goodness of people's hearts' is. I don't give a flying monkey's about people I've never met yet I have to pay money that I earned so they can fix their broken legs or runny noses. What about my broken legs, huh? I call on the government to disband the National Health Service and bring back private health insurance. Those unable to pay should work harder and if they can't work... well screw 'em."

218 - "Two Mommies One Too Many?" (15-02-2016)
Réponse 2.

The Issue 225 - "Prayer In Public Schools?" (24-10-2015)
In order to save the souls of Zogarok's children from eternal damnation, it has been suggested that a daily prayer be made mandatory in schools nationwide.

1: "Kids are such punks these days," grumbles Father Xu Washington, a local minister. "By making sure kids pray to their god at least once a day we instill the religious values that are integral to Zogarok. It'll make them better, humbler people."
2: "Hey now, if there's going to be compulsory school prayer then there ought to be an opt-out system," says Abraham Wall, a concerned parent. "I don't want my boy to be a part of this collective worship nonsense."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "I agree that we shouldn't force them to pray," says Mia Hernandez, a teacher. "Such difficult concepts shouldn't be thrust upon such impressionable minds. But instead of a praying session, these children should be taught about religion in an educative way. School's supposed to be about learning, not brainwashing."
4: "That's a lily-livered compromise," says Wil Parke, chairperson of the Atheist Activist Association. "Religion should have no place in our schools. We should pass laws enforcing secularity on all educational establishments."

The Issue 226 - "Expats Plea For Help In War-Torn Country" (8-10-2015)
Thousands of migrant citizens and expatriated citizens of Zogarok have asked the government to take them home from Marche Noir, a faraway country on the brink of a terrible and violent civil war.

1: "We must co-ordinate with the government of Marche Noir in order to secure our absentee voters—ahem—citizens who are in their country," says Finlay Obama, your Minister of Foreign Affairs. "We must also create an emergency fund to assist our expats and help bring them back to Zogarok. No matter where any of our people are, they're still ours and our responsibility."
2: "That's rubbish," objects Peter King, your Minister of Finance. "Why waste hundreds of thousands of zogmas in bringing those expatriated citizens back to Zogarok? They chose to leave our great country; they are no longer our concern! They could have stayed here and been an asset to our workforce! Helped us grow strong! No, they've had their chance. You reap what you sow. We should cut any financial assistance we give to those traitors."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "That's a good point," says Gretel Hendrikson, your Minister of Civics. "Our people are the generators of the economy. The expats should be allowed to come back but only if they stay. If we keep letting our citizens emigrate, then we're losing our doctors, our teachers, our skilled and unskilled workforce to damn foreigners! Close the borders to those wanting to leave our nation. If they can't see how wonderful Zogarok is, then we'll make them!"

237 - "Tourists On Death Row" (30-12-2015)
Réponse 1.

265 - "To Bail Or Not To Bail?" (24-02-2016)
Réponse 2. (taux d'impôts actuel trop fort)

288 - "Super-Sized Pizzas Recipe For Disaster?" (15-02-2016)
Réponse 3.

304 - "Time For Paternity Leave, Say Dads" (2-01-2016)
Réponse 1.

The Issue 306 - "A Matter Of Trust" (20-10-2015)
A new survey conducted by private organizations has found out that confidence in Zogarok's political system is at an all-time low. Politicians and political think tanks are scrambling to find a solution.

1: "Isn't it obvious?" states Britney Parke, host of a political talk show. "Politicians get away with things that would land us regular folk in jail. Corruption, fraud; you name it, they do it - and with no consequences. How about you make it harder for them to get away with their crimes by enforcing tough jail time. Maybe then you'll earn back the public's trust."
2: "It's probably because we're constantly seeing the same people in power over and over again," argues Evan Love, a columnist for the Zogarok Inquirer. "We should shake things up a bit and bring some fresh faces into the political game. Let's introduce term limits on all public offices. That'll definitely increase confidence in our political system!"
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "I couldn't help but notice that confidence was particularly lower among women," notes Sue-Ann Harishchandra, editor of Bonjour magazine. "It's time we rid this country of its old boys club by introducing gender quotas. Mandate that women must hold at least 50% of all public offices in Zogarok; everyone knows women are so much more trustworthy than men."
4: "People don't trust us?" gasps Finlay Janssen, one of your many advisers. "Then it's time we earned it back! Let's get out there among the people and show everybody that politicians are just like them! Be totally transparent; personal blogs, documentaries, 24 hour TV shows. Yes, it may cost a bit, but if the public know everything about you, they'll have to trust you!"
5: "If the people don't trust us then we'll make them," suggests Gregory Fellow, your military aide-de-camp, slamming his fists on the table. "We'll just use force and intimidation to win back support. Some may call it brainwashing or terrorism, but I call it love. As a plus, it should be really easy to implement!"

310 - "Too Little Talk?" (30-12-2015)
Réponse 2.

The Issue 317 - "Big Brother Is Watching You Surf" (24-10-2015)
Advisers from Zogarok's security services have created a small piece of spyware that they would like to install on every computer in the nation so they can track activity.

1: "For the good of all," claims Department of Protection head Konrad Lopez. "This tiny little program will simply collect data and send it via the internet to one of our databases. Nobody will even notice that it's there. Besides, who's gonna notice a handful of bytes under mountains of stolen MP3s? Just give us the green light and we'll be rounding up terrorists faster than you can say 'lolcat'! And, hey, while we're at it, we could even use it to alert people when there's danger!"
2: "Are you insane?" shouts privacy advocate Marleen James. "Our zogmas pay for our computers; they're not the government's property! The last thing we need is the government poking its big, fat nose into our business. Keep the government's hands off my harddrive! What's next? Brain implants? Leave my brainwaves alone, you jack-booted thugs!"
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "While 'tis not my place," says Amish farmer Lars Utopia, "I just thought I'd mention that we Amish don't have any of this so-called 'cyber-crime'. Aye, 'tis a boring life, and plowin' gets old, but abolishing all of those computer-machines would certainly solve thy problems. Perhaps ye should just abandon phones and fax machines, too. Then ye'll be on your way to livin' in an Amish paradise!"

The Issue 320 - "Criminals To Vote?" (17-10-2015)
Following recent elections in Zogarok where the Equality for Vilified Inmates League won a noticeable percentage of seats, the media have jumped on the issue of whether or not prisoners should be allowed to vote.

1: "This is absurd!", argues conservative politician, Jazz de Groot. "Why should criminals be allowed to participate in elections like normal people? Voting should be a privilege for the law-abiding members of this country. If someone breaks the law, they must lose the right to have a say in who governs them. At the very least it'll be a good deterrent."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

2: "You're not going to listen to that clap-trap I hope", says noted liberal commentator Lars Mistletoe. "Voting is a right that everyone should enjoy, regardless of whether or not they have committed a crime. We already punish those who break our law; restricting one's ability to vote is a punishment totally disproportionate to any crime!"

The Issue 329 - "Military Uniforms Under Scrutiny" (14-10-2015)
In response to changing fashion trends amongst the youth of Zogarok, new recruits to the military have petitioned the government to update the army's dress code accordingly.

1: "Permission to speak, sir?" asks Private Third Class Lara Spirit, saluting you. "Many of us are tired of looking the same, and would like the freedom to express ourselves through our appearance, sir. I mean, sir, it doesn't hurt to let us dye our hair once in a while, does it?"
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

2: "This is ridiculous!" roars Colonel John Li, shaking his fist at you. "If I tell a soldier to put on pantaloons and a tunic, there's a good reason for it - and I expect to be obeyed without question. And who are these soldiers demanding change anyways? I'd like to see them court-martialed!"
3: "You know," murmurs romantic novelist Thomas O, dreamily staring out the window. "A change of uniform might not be too bad. What if we made all our soldiers wear medieval suits of armour? It would sure highlight the chivalry and honour of Zogarok's armed forces."
4: "Actually, battle armour is a great idea!" exclaims Miranda Schultz, representative from Better Future Inc, dumping a bundle of papers on your desk. "Here's our blueprints for the latest battlesuits that we've come up with. Sure it will be costly, but it will make our soldiers invincible!"
5: "The solution is not through technology, but through religion," declares zealot Jazz Winters as she waves a censer under your nose. "Why not make all soldiers fight in the name of a major religion, and give them priestly robes while they're at it?"
6: "Why make them wear anything?" asks nudist Jessica Yeats, standing to attention in your office. "Without clothes to impede them, your soldiers can move faster in battle - and we don't have to waste any more money on uniforms. Besides, all you need is a gun to kill someone, right?"

The Issue 330 - "Supermarkets Gobbling Up All The Customers?" (17-10-2015)
The recent boom in the nationwide supermarket Humongo-Mart has brought representatives from local mom and pop stores to your office demanding action be taken.

1: "Humongo-Mart is destroying our livelihoods!" shouts Doris Smith, the owner of a small butchery, while waving a bloody cleaver. "These chains are over-saturating our cities with ridiculously low prices. I simply can't compete. You need to put a stop to this. We need more regulations dictating where these supermarkets can be."
2: "You've got to be kidding me," scoffs business columnist Kirby Licorish. "You want to punish businesses if they become too successful? They started small just like everyone else. If you regulate or – heaven forbid – ban big business, can you imagine the fallout? Without corporations to compete with, these small shops could gouge their prices. Never mind what capping industry growth would do to the economy. If anything we need less government meddling."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "This raises an interesting question," begins amateur philosopher Buy Longbottom. "Why should we leave an essential commodity such as food up to the whims of profits and greed? The government needs to step in and take control of the food production in this country. You could ensure that every citizen is provided with a well-balanced, healthy meal instead of this overpriced slop. People shouldn't have their health and basic needs held hostage by greedy corporations!"

The Issue 344 - "Trash Talk" (14-10-2015)
After massive trash heaps overflowed onto one of Zogarok City's busiest intersections, causing traffic to grind to a halt for ten hours, many have agreed that the nation's litter problem is out of control. In response, representatives from the Society for the Prettying Up of Zogarok have come to your office proposing a nationwide beautification campaign to pick it all up.

1: "Our wonderful country is being buried by this refuse!" wails SPUZ President Lauren Cho. "It's simply a disgrace! We need funding and able-bodied men and women to stage a monthly clean-up of our once-treasured land. We'd pick up litter, plant trees, touch up the paint on the old courthouse – we'd polish up the whole country! As an incentive, participants could receive a small stipend."
2: "Now why on Earth should hard-working citizens do this?" asks the Warden of Zogarok City Penitentiary, Xu Leach. "We've got plenty of worthless criminals sitting around with their thumbs up their butts. Give these scum something worthwhile to do. They'll get to pay off their debt to society by helping clean it up!"
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "It's not enough to just clean it up," asserts the CEO of Showers of Flowers. "We need a massive project to show Zogarok how proud of our country we truly are. With a whole lot of government funds, my company could build the Hanging Gardens of Zogarok City. Picture it now: flowing vines down the walls, blooming daisies, baskets of chrysanthemums, thousands upon thousands of tourists. Think of the pride. Think of the money."
4: "Why are we wasting our time with this nonsense?" asks infamous miser Sashona Chicago. "All this hullabaloo over a little trash. Here's a news flash: there's always going to be trash! A bunch of hippies prancing around on the government's dime ain't gonna change that! You should know better than to spend our tax zogmas on such frivolous endeavors. Why don't you beautify our wallets instead and give us a tax break?"

346 - "Oil's Well That Ends Well" (30-12-2012)
Réponse 3.

The Issue 351 - "The Cost Of Freedom" (11-12-2015)
After a highly publicized arrest, in which one of the nation's wealthiest celebrities was detained for assaulting two of her servants with a priceless Fabergé egg, some of Zogarok's rich have begun demanding the right to avoid prison terms by paying off their victims.

1: "It makes, like, no sense for someone like ME to be stuck here for three WHOLE DAYS," whines Clarrisse Milton during a jail cell interview, only after dimming the lights and getting earplugs for her hangover. "And the trial hasn't even STARTED. My daddy has PLENTY of money and, like, nothing better to spend it on. He could just give a few million zogmas to the victims' families and, um... like, the government. That's fair, right?"
2: "You've got to be kidding me!" bellows Zogarok's Attorney General, Xu Pushkin, angrily pounding his fist on your desk. "No one should be above the law, no matter how much money they have! It's bad enough that they can hire some shyster lawyer to get them off on a technicality most of the time. As a matter of fact, we should make the rich use public defenders. It's only fair considering everyone else is stuck with them. You know what, just expand the entire public defenders' office while you're at it."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "Instead of wasting money on prisons for violent criminals, I could take care of your problem," suggests Abraham Smith, Zogarok's wealthiest psychopath, while polishing a rifle. "I'm an unrivaled hunter, but with animals there's no challenge for an expert such as myself. If you sent prey to my island estate, I'd be willing to throw a few zogmas the government's way. You save money; I take care of the scum in your penal system. Sounds like a win-win to me."

354 - "Subversive Shortwaves" (5-01-2016)
Réponse 4.

The Issue 382 - "The Appropriate Amount Of Appropriation" (24-10-2015)
Recently a well-known clothing retailer, "Totally Happenin' Apparel Trends" (T.H.A.T.), began marketing a new hoodie that features deeply sacred iconography of a Zogarokian ethnic group. Civil rights activists, tribal emissaries, entrepreneurs, and an assortment of young punks from the local skate park have formed an impressive mob outside your office, demanding you take action.

1: "Oh come on, you can't be serious," scoffs CEO of T.H.A.T. Marlon Wong, bedecked in a war bonnet and calavera-patterned t-shirt. "It's not 'stealing,' it's assimilating. Next you're going to be telling me certain ethnic foods and languages are being appropriated, too! These people just don't realize that we're helping promote parts of their cultural heritage by mainstreaming it. Think about how many people didn't know about the Native Zogarokian Emblem until we featured it on our clothes. Frankly, they should be thanking us."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

2: "This is racist stereotyping and an insult to our proud culture!" shouts Hack Zhu, a representative of the United Zogarokian Nations. "Zogarok has been responsible for centuries' worth of genocide, rape, and discrimination against our people, and now you have the audacity to take one of our most sacred icons and turn it into a fashion statement? This isn't cultural exchange; it's cultural theft. We owe you no obligation and shouldn't have to share something you willingly bastardize. Cultural symbols, like ours, should only be worn by people that can prove they descend from that ethnicity."
3: "Woah, now, let's not get hasty. This is just a misunderstanding," cautions anthropologist Rosalia Patel. "Clearly T.H.A.T. had no right to misrepresent that Zogarokian symbol like they did. But making these heritages off-limits to all outsiders? That's a little extreme, too. Why not introduce educational programs that aim to teach people about their culture, so ignorant folk don't accidentally make that mistake. We'll need a little government funding to kick-start the programs, but surely cultural acceptance and equality are worth the zogmas?"
4: "Yo, man, did'ja consider the possibility you're askin' the wrong questions?" says a local youth, shouldering his way to the front of the crowd. "My parents are, like, a bunch of ethnicities all blended together, so we never have to worry about someone cribbin' our style, or who we should or shouldn't identify with. Why not make all forms of cultural identification a thing of the past? That way we don't have to worry about appeasin' or insultin' any one social group. It's mostly our parents and grandparents doin' all the yakkin', anyway."

The Issue 418 - "That Sinking Feeling" (8-10-2015)
Hundreds of lives were lost, and millions of zogmas squandered, in the recent sinking of the passenger ship RMS Gargantic. While the cause of the disaster has not yet been ascertained, it has been uncovered that the emergency services somehow completely failed to come to the rescue, exacerbating the death toll.

1: "What a tragedy!" cries Sue-Ann Pushkin at the grave of a victim of the accident, "It's clear that we must take drastic action to make sure this never happens again!" After blowing her nose, she continues, "We must put much more funding into the Coast Guard, light houses, communications equipment, our ports, round-the-clock submarine patrols... heck we should even have cameras on trained fish if it'll help. Damn the expense; lives are at stake!"
2: "What a tragedy!" cries your finance minister as he obsessively goes over budget accounts, "Look how many zogmas this debacle cost us! We can't even blame it on those pesky opposition activists this time either! Obviously the Coast Guard needs to take full responsibility for this disaster, because clearly they can't get the job done under pressure. All they really do is harass tourists anyway. We should abolish the wasteful department and then cut the tax rate as an apology to the public."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "Blub-blub-blub," says diving enthusiast Finlay Peters just before climbing out of the water, "Sorry, but have you seen the wreck down there? The Gargantic is so amazing! And all those skeletons really give the place that spooky, old-timey feel. We should totally advertise these sea-wrecks. Imagine the benefit to the economy. This could be: 'You've seen it in the headlines... now come see it for yourself!' The government could even post weekly updates on where the latest wrecks are."

The Issue 441 - "You've Got A Friend In Bee" (8-10-2015)
Honeybee populations have been decreasing at an alarming rate, according to a recent study published in Not That Popular Science magazine. Experts have swarmed your office demanding you take action or face catastrophic consequences.

1: "This is a travesty!" exclaims concerned environmental scientist, Thomas Khan. "Our food supplies will be at risk if the bee population declines any further. Colony Collapse Disorder is a serious thing and we don't really know what's killing them. It could be insecticides, parasitic mites, habitat loss, or maybe it's just all that hot air coming from Zogarok City. We must stop this before it's too late. Let's start with shutting down industries that manufacture insecticides and enforcing better environmental protection. We must stop at nothing to ensure our survival."
2: A local beekeeper, Miranda Anderson, carefully steps into your office carrying a beehive. "What we need to do is to establish large scale bee farms across Zogarok, and raise more bees so their populations can grow." The absentminded beekeeper appears oblivious as several bees escape the hive. "Sustainable practices and good bee-raising will preserve the population. You give me and my fellow beekeepers some funding, and we can use that to grow the biggest colony you'll ever see!" Several of your aides exit screaming, pursued by bees.
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "Once again, science has the answer," says Jean-Paul Barry, CEO of Bees and Genes. "If we use genetics to modify the bees, they can be made resistant to disease and live longer. This, my friends, is the breakthrough we need to stabilize the honeybee populations. It'll require a boatload of funding and we might accidentally create killer bees like the dreaded Maxtopian hornet, but we need to save nature's black and yellow friends while we have the chance."
4: "Whatever happened to leaving nature alone?" queries the eccentric 'Doctor Bees', carrying suitcases buzzing with bees and seen wearing a full bee costume. "More bee colonies? Pesticides? Genes? Buzz off! Have you ever stopped to think that we are to blame for this mess? Why don't we free the bees and let nature take its course? Sure, the beekeeping industry would suffer, but if we do nothing the alternative is total environmental disaster! Buzz buzz buzz!"

The Issue 443 - "Five Year Plans And New Deals" (16-10-2015)
The price of most foodstuffs in Zogarok spiked recently, resulting in bread riots. Terrified government advisers have put forward economic plans to stabilize the economy.

1: "This cannot happen again," panics Minister of the Economy Konrad Mistletoe while wiring assets to an overseas bank. "We need to lower unemployment and control food prices if we want things to quiet down again. Major public works projects would ensure that the poor find good jobs and aren't just loafing around, stewing in their own juices. They could build bridges and beautify parks and organize public events. To be honest, what they work on doesn't matter; they could dig holes and fill them up again for all I care. The important thing is controlling poverty; food prices will eventually sort themselves out."
2: "The real problem is foreign control of our economy," concludes your Labor Minister, Don Clinton, while absentmindedly combing his beard. "Multinationals that don't care about Zogarokians oversupply trivial things like fast food instead of investing in our critical national infrastructure. Only indicative planning can begin to properly direct the economy towards essential production while maintaining the profit motive. With the commanding heights under government control, we don't have to worry about capital flight the next time recession looms."
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

3: "What socialistic nonsense," retorts Finance Minister Brian Suzuki, taking a break from scowling at jobless protesters. "That food price shock wasn't because of too little government meddling. The real cause was bad planning, a side-effect of half-baked subsidies. The market is smarter than a bunch of bureaucrats, so we should cut all subsidies propping up enterprises that don't turn a real profit. And if some people still can't find bread, then let them eat cake."
4: "Don't listen to that imperialist lackey," interrupts Pete Giono, a rioter throwing stale bread at you. "It's not enough to have national planning; we need WORLD economic planning. We should retool from making worthless fuzzy dice and sex-enhancement drugs and instead provide nutrition and medicines for needy peoples the world over. Perhaps you think the pig-dog capitalists will never let it happen, but I am hopeful. A rising dough lifts all nations, after all. It's time to end hunger once and for all."

444 - "Virtually Assured Destruction" (25-01-2016)
Réponse 2.

The Issue 453 - "Parliamentary Playground" (8-10-2015)
After a WhoTube video featuring MPs in an outright brawl went viral, foreign commentators now regularly mock the hijinks in the Zogarokian Parliament. In order to save face, several MPs have tried to rein in the legislature's embarrassing behavior.

1: "We need a Parliamentary Code of Conduct to make sure this appalling behavior doesn't happen again," states Opposition Leader Anne-Marie Thiesen. "Your entire cabinet mooned me while I was speaking yesterday for Violet's sake! You wouldn't get away with that kind of behavior in any other workplace, so why is Parliament exempt? We need to show the citizenry that this is a place of serious and mature discussion, not a schoolyard playground."
2: "That's a good start, but it doesn't go far enough!" exclaims avid Z-SPAN watcher and schoolteacher Billy Frederickson. "I always sit down and watch Question Period with the kids to teach them how democracy in Zogarok works. They were subjected to the brawl, the mooning, and all those fights involving the chicken costume. Any politician who acts in such a disgraceful way should be barred from running for political office ever again. If we don't take tougher stances against this disgraceful behavior, our kids will start thinking that this is an acceptable way for them to act."
3: "We have a right to express our political dissatisfaction, no matter how... unorthodox our methods are," says Maria Lee, one of your more outspoken cabinet ministers while making an obscene gesture towards the other speakers. "Sure, sometimes things can get a little heated, but that's the nature of politics. If the loyal opposition can't handle a few choice words or an entire hour of jeering, then they shouldn't have run for office. Besides, what about freedom of speech? Aren't we still big on that?"
This is the position your government is preparing to adopt.

4: "Hold up! Outta my way!" shouts pro-wrestler Stone Fist as he barges his way into your office and places one of your aides in a chokehold. "What if instead of debates, politicians settled their scores with trial by combat? Build a thunderdome in Parliament. Two MPs enter; one MP leaves! Imagine the ratings and publicity! People could even bet zogmas on the results. At the very least, the public will be a lot more invested in the outcome of parliamentary debates." Your aide passes out as Stone Fist releases his grip.

464- "The Upupidae Republic Shall Rise Again?" (5-01-2016)
Réponse 2.