Corruption in Polaris
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The City of Polaris is renowned for its cleanliness, efficiency, and happy, content populace. Its speedy, streamlined government seems to always agree on everything and have each others' backs. The workers never strike because the unions always get their wages raised (and raised and raised and raised and raised), and the city provides free healthcare and education to the secondary level. Its hospitals are honest and pure, and its schools astonishingly neutral in a normally liberal propaganda machine. Even crime seems to be low, because the well-trained police force is quick to eradicate any physical attack, burglary, or otherwise, shipping them off to the conservative world's jails. The economy is booming, and bankers make sure to live and work here. Businesses are always on the move, and the budget never seems to run out, despite the crippling municipal debt.
On the outside, Polaris, the "Liberal Fortress", seems to be a perfect city. After all, do approval ratings- a whopping 90%+ -lie? Obviously, that must mean the government is in good standing, the wealthy elite honest, and the taxes not wasted.
One would think that, wouldn't they?
Paradise comes at a price. According to the "Jones' Holiness Index", Polaris is the most corrupt city in Antarctica. The city has, de facto, decriminalized white collar crime to the point that the only thing the police tell those who lost it all to fraud and schemes is "sorry, you should be more careful, and you can earn it back".
The police will not pursue crimes that do not involve physical aggression (e.g. crimes that cause harm to one's body or property) unless they are given a steep fee. Unions are tied to the government to the point that some government employees also chair unions, and vice-versa.
Taxes tend to "vanish" from the general fund, and the entire City Council rides around in limousines and have scores of aides. No one has to disclose their contribution funds and electoral fraud is not unheard of (to name just one, that lone Conservative has ties from string-pulling non-Polarians). It's a good thing the city abolished districting, or school chicks would have fun times playing "What does THAT constituency look like?".
Despite all this, though, the city's budget manages to exist enough to cover its needs and expansive costs (at a huge deficit), but the real question remains: where does all that money go?
The most astonishing part, though, would have to be the populace's reaction. They know a little bit- the tip of the iceberg, a scratch on the surface -of the corruption that plagues their city, but unless they're the wealthy elite scammed out of their savings, they don't care at all. After all, as long as they have their happy shiny buildings, their aggression-free streets, their pretty little parks, that pure, free healthcare, and pure schools, who cares what some bigwig is up to? Morons.
Polarian corruption is extensive and can not be listed in its entirety. If one tried to document every scandal, every player, every instance of fraud, embezzlement, logrolling, vote buying, vote trading, electoral fraud, cheating, lying (more than normal politicians), pork barrel, union corruption, overpriced salaries, and simple "vanishing" money, this article would be UHQA and Featured in no time.
- 1 Index
- 2 Public sector
- 2.1 Polaris City Council
- 2.1.1 "Removing messiness" from P-GOV airings
- 2.1.2 Scratch his back...
- 2.1.3 Pass it to see what's in it
- 2.1.4 Filibuster
- 2.1.5 Secrets behind closed doors
- 2.1.6 Old-fashioned bribary
- 2.2 Executive branch and civil service
- 2.3 Judicial branch
- 2.4 Electoral fraud
- 2.5 Alleged secret police
- 2.1 Polaris City Council
- 3 Private sector
- 4 Attempts to stop corruption
- 5 The rest
The government does nothing to quell this corruption. In fact, the powers that be, in everything but their public speeches, encourage it. No Polarian politician, elected or appointed, can say they are pure or came to win their seat by their own merits. Someone had to push them along, some cash had to be spent, some ballot had to be stuffed... -but wherever there's a Polarian politician, there's a scandal (or twenty) behind him or her.
Where to begin?
Polaris City Council
- See also: Polaris City Council
The Council is rampant with corruption. Everything from the conduct of meetings to the penguins themselves, and right down to the broadcasted debates, is not untouched by corruption.
"Removing messiness" from P-GOV airings
Technically, their meetings are televised on the city's "P-GOV Channel", but not before it's edited and censored before being put on the air. It's never actually live. Only after the corruption is removed and the "bad stuff" edited out- not too unlike a certain zealot from Uno Valley -can they air it on P-GOV. They never say "censor", though, when referring to editing P-GOV sessions. After all, censors are evil and so not like Polaris! It's not censorship, it's just video editing!
Scratch his back...
All Polarian council penguins are in there, first and foremost, to benefit themselves as much as they can. This leads to a lot of legislative stalling and a lot of bills getting stuck in committee. This is resolved by shady promises between individual politicians. If Politician A votes "yes" to Politician B's bill, or reports it out of committee to the floor, ect., then Politician B, in turn, vote "yes" to that bill, or help Politician A's bill be pushed through a committee that he works in, and so on.
Pass it to see what's in it
Polarian council penguins will do most anything to get their bogged-down, pork-laden, multi-thousand page bills stuffed with secrets that most of them won't read all the way through, passed. Both chambers are guilty of this. Many times, they had to pass the bill to see what was in it.
They'll use everything in the book to insert their self-serving pork into any bill that exists. According to the PCC rules, amending bills with stuff is automatically approved unless explicitly rejected by a supermajority of the other Council penguins.
A "rider" is something added or written into a bill that has absolutely nothing to do with the bill.
The average Polarian bill, even if it's something as basic as extending funding to their free healthcare, will have dozens and dozens of totally unrelated provisions and things that may benefit themselves, their interests, or sneak some money away.
The end result is a bill with a subject like "Annual Healthcare Budget Continuing Act" having provisions regarding regulations, tax increases, road repair, random appropriations, bestowal of awards, school funding, business edicts, private bills, and resolutions. That causes most every bill to be hundreds of pages long, and they'll always benefit various politicians. This action often serves as a form of logrolling and vote trading, discussed above.
This is actually a legal process in any legislature, but it's extensively abused by Polaris.
Destroying disliked bills
A special type of rider, called the "Poison Pill", can be added by a politician to stop the passage of a bill he or she does not like. It is something done in bad faith and intentionally unpopular. It is usually controversial, overly self-serving, or even nonsensical. It adds incentive to vote "no" on the bill by others, and of course, the politician proposing the wrecking amendment will still vote "no" when it hits the floor.
One famous example of a Polarian Poison Pill was a 2011 attempt by the PCC's only Conservative member, Nancy Nectar, in an ironic attempt to stave off some corruption. Nancy screwed around with a bill that would increase the city's bank secrecy to the point that no Polarian policeman could open or search accounts. The bill also had backing by Eastshield's governing bodies and was going to be approved by a high state judge in exchange for the city police enforcing the First Amendment.
Nancy added one wrecker that would cut the wealthy's taxes from its usual 50% to 35%. (Of course, most of the rich didn't pay taxes in the first place, so the cut was merely symbolic.) Her second wrecker was to cut the salaries of the Council by one hundred thousand fish (leaving a measely three hundred grand a year remaining!!). The bills were so bogged down with riders already, that the wrecker passed without so much as a gasp or notice. (In fact, no one even knew Nancy put it in until it was to be voted on in final.) The wrecker succeeded when one Polarian politician happened to see it in the pages when he knocked his copy of the behemoth stack of papers that was that bill. The bill was rejected unanimously.
This is actually a legal process in any legislature, but it's extensively abused by Polaris.
|“|| The Highest Chamber of all Lawmaking Bodies which are Independent of the Courts vested with Authority by this Constitution shall be Guarenteed the Ability to Incur Limitless Vocal Debate to Stall any Motion deemed Undesirable, except when Ordered Silent by Two-Thirds of the Legislators Assembled.
Legislatures, by means through Parliamentary Procedure with Nine-Tenths Hypermajority Approval, may Add to their Rules of Order a Series of Topics which can not be Filibustered.
— "Filibuster Clause"; Constitution of the United States of Antarctica
The Constitution of the USA explicitly forces all upper chambers (if bicameral, the entire chamber if unicameral) of any legislature, no matter the level, specialization, or purpose, to permit for a filibuster of items deemed undesirable, and also providing a cloture by two-thirds vote.
Naturally, any Council penguin in the Executive Board that hates a particular bill will try and invoke a filibuster and cease it. This being said, it's not used very much, because the other methods are more rewarding and lucrative to the individual politicians. (Of course, that Conservative would be ready to use it if she was in the upper chamber.)
Banning filibusters for certain topics
- RL term: The Nuclear Option
However, it gave some leg room for the legislatures to forbid filibustering certain "extremely important and critical" legislation (e.g. budget extensions on the eve of government shutdown, or a SPC declaration of war), if nine-tenths of the legislature approved to make it a "filibuster-proof topic".
- Polaris has extensively used this provision to ban filibusters on:
- Universal healthcare appropriations (AKA continuing the spending)
- Education appropriations
- Bank secrecy bills
- Private bills
- ...-and more.
Secrets behind closed doors
- RL phrase: Behind closed doors
The Polaris City Council has long criticized its opposite, the Mattress Village Board of Censors, for being a locked session that borders on- and might just be -more of a "secret society" than an open meeting. Although any Union can become a Censor, only the Censors ever see what goes on in the chambers. The public only get the final result when it's referendum time.
Of course, like all Polaris accusations, the critics fail to look in the mirror. Who is more secretive in this situation? The MVBC has a transparency policy in place, after all, in that every bill has to be approved by the city's electorate. This means that every bill is read in full, in some manner. Although the deliberations and talks that made the ordinance are hushed, the bill is out in the open for all to see, as are the Board's minutes.
The Polaris City Council holds all legislative authority in the city. They only televise what they want the city to see (see above) and rarely show all of what was passed in a bill. They may tell the public that "we've just passed a new appropriations bill for your glorious healthcare", for instance, but what was in that bill? No one knows for sure, but a bill titled "Healthcare Extension Act" doesn't just extend healthcare. Scores of riders and personal "favors" for the politicians will always litter the passed bill, resulting in dozens of pages of completely irrevelant pork that further helps the corruption stay as it is.
Influence by Sancho's corporations
Sancho Monte Captio, the former mayor of Polaris was simultaneously the President and CEO of SkyJet Aviation Holdings, an air travel conglomerate that specializes in airlines, aircraft manufacturing and airport management. The National Airports Authority is a subsidiary of SJAH. Polaris-City International Airport and Polaris-Rogerston International Airport are rented out to the SJAH company for 7.2 billion Fish per year, which allows the SJAH and SkyJet Airways to possess master control of the airport and it's traffic. SJAH is also one of the two contributors in the PILOT FISH program in Polaris.
The other corporation which the Monte Captio family owns is CBN, a communications conglomerate, which has a critically-acclaimed News Network, a Kids Channel, and CBN1,CBN2, CBN3 and CBN4. The company also operates the largest Internet provider in Northwest Eastshield and the Happyface State.CBN is known to contribute more than 4.5 billion to the Polaris City Council, in-exchange of exclusive broadcasting rights for all PCC events, and would also allow CBN to attain a majority of the television market share in Northwest Eastshield.
Executive branch and civil service
- RL term: Spoils system
Kickbacks and graft
Hyper-biased/"extremist" liberal judges
Ignoring/rejecting incriminating evidence
False witnesses and fake evidence
Old fashioned bribery
Every politician in Polaris, with the sole exception of Sancho Monte Captio cheated in some manner to get their City Council Seat. Be it vote buying, ballot stuffing, and anything and everything in between, even direct intimidation, to get their seat.
For example, Nancy Nectar's district had a foreign-looking penguin with a weird accent come in with "sacks of absentee ballots". The precinct judge immediately knew it was false, but he "realized" that his gut instinct was wrong, and certified these "ballots" after a nice stack of money was deposited into his inventory.
Other reports are less publicized because the leftists tend to smear Nancy Nectar for the fun of it. Everyone knows her story, but since any elected politician cheated, there are countless other cheating cheaters of cheat-ery.
- In a more modern precinct near the coast, there were numerous penguins "accidentally" voting twice (dang electronic voting machines). Apparently, the touch screens were too sensitive and registered the press of a flipper twice, instead of once.
- In a poorer part of town where the old voting phrase "pull the lever" literally meant pulling levers, the levers for unfavorable candidates tended to snap off. When the voter complained to a precinct worker, he or she would explain that they have to go home and come back the next day. The poll worker would then follow their instructions and vote in the candidate that paid them to break the lever's name "on their behalf". When the voter returned the next day, they would constantly lie that the machine was still broken, even when the penguin sees others going in to that very booth. (By that time, Polarian cops would usher the complaining voter out.)
Voter intimidation case
- RL equivalent: New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case
In a district near Nancy's, where conservatives and liberals were actually equal enough to put either a conservative or a liberal in charge, Polarian police officers and Polarian Secret Police Goons would patrol around the voting precinct carrying ominous looking, large sticks and shout harsh insults and emalfs at the conservative voters that dared try and vote for a conservative candidate. They never actually hit anyone with their big sticks, but they had them there.
That was enough to trigger the federal government to investigate the sheer amount of fraud in the nation. A committee of several South Pole Council Delegates and various advocates of purity around the nation were ordered to look into it. A federal judge issued a subopnea- that is, a forced order to give something up -on Polaris to disclose the security footage around voting precincts and all the ballot records, among other things. When Polaris refused, the Antarctic Investigation Authority stormed the precincts to take them by force.
(Polaris cried a violation of their rights, but the response was "what rights?", considering there was never a bill of rights in the federal level. Polaris' charter did grant a lot of rights to all citizens, but hey, most of those were ignored too.)
Alleged secret police
Loans that can't be paid back
- RL term: Revolving door
Attempts to stop corruption
USA v. Polaris
In 2009 the city came under scrutiny by the federal government of the United States of Antarctica and the state government of Eastshield. The court case, United States of Antarctica v. City of Polaris, was initiated by AIA headmaster Professor Shroomsky, with the near-unanimous cooperation of the South Pole Council (Judge Xavier was considering just calling it to him by writ of certorari).
Forced education purity
Forced healthcare purity
- Polarian Federal Bureau of Healthcare Ombudsmen's Liquidation of Immoral, Nefarious, Evil, or Sinister Situations
Forced auditing and oversight
Threats of auditing
- Main Article: A Challenge and a Half
A Penguin called Johnathan Gwen that had just graduated after a course in Sociology at the University of South Pole City. Polaris hired him as an underpaid contracting Sociologist. He is struggling to make ends meet and decides to take freelance journalism as a second job. Using his government privilege, since despite little pay, he still plays a vital role, he goes films the corruption with hidden cameras when given the chance. He then edits the footage and puts it for sale. The major TV channels are bidding for it but eventually RTF was selected to broadcast it via RTF International. It was critically acclaimed, had the highest view figures for any RTF TV show and Johnathan later went to work for the Antarctic Times as their political columnist after his contract ended but little was done to stop the corruption. It was exposed yet nothing was done.
Electoral fraud federal investigation
The committee sorted through stacks of complaints and reports filed by conservative voters and moderate voters alike, and even a surprisingly colossal handful of liberals that voted for "the wrong" liberal that "they" didn't want. The committee had to call in extra help after the AIA continued raiding the precincts and finding whole warehouse's worth of totally ignored complaints, dating back to the Kingfish era. Apparently, electoral fraud is as old as Polaris itself, even when it was conservative.
- Some of the committee members' reactions:
- TurtleShroom Jones, considered one of the foremost experts in purity, had to resign from the committee after he had enough with battling fits of nausea from reading all the complaints.
- SPC Delegate Jacko #1558 refused to continue investigating about a third of the way through, saying "Polaris was too evil to fix".
- A penguin from Happyface State, chosen because of the state's extensive use of elections for more than judges and its championed separation of powers, noted that "Polaris was a sea of cheating and lies", commenting that "if the federal government wanted to purge the city of corruption, they'd have to revoke the city charter and eliminate its government completely".
- Tammyshroom Jones, the main censor of media in Antarctica and TurtleShroom's sister, stayed through the investigation until the end and managed to shakily write the final report. Other members said she cried a lot in the investigations and had to be ushered out of the room to be consoled.
- Judex Maximus, chief justice of the High Court of Eastshield (the state's supreme court), also went through the committee, but didn't have the heart to prosecute it, because doing so would have to bring in every elected politician in Polaris, as well as all of their aides, three quarters of the police, and most likely half the city's wealthy population.
The committees's conclusion
In the end, the committee reported back to the Council and the federal courts with the recommendation not to press charges against Polaris.
TammyShroom was chosen to write the committee's conclusion, and she managed to pen the short document despite all the emotion she had been experiencing seeing the corruption. (It was a combination of misery and anger, really.)
IN THE CITY OF POLARIS
THIS TENTH DAY OF FEBRUARY IN THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND ELEVEN ANNO DOMINI
It is the unanimous recommendation that we, the SCAIEFICP, recommend to our appointers that all charges against the city of Polaris be dropped and no charges pressed. This is not because we find innocence in the city, but the exact opposite.
Polaris is so embroiled in the swamp of corruption that prosecuting the entire wave of evil would involve well over a fourth of the city's population on crimes ranging from fines to years, decades, or life in prison, and perhaps one death penalty. The amount of prisons needed to impound most of a city that size is absurd and simply not feasible given the current situation of the nation's corrections department.
Even if all the federal courts of Antarctica were granted permission to hear these criminal charges, there are not enough prosecutors and paralegals in Antarctica to properly and accurately review all the evidence to score a conviction. Even if every court was used and no appeal was granted, it would take about fifteen years to prosecute everyone. That would pretty much shut down the country on the federal level, and that could fiercely endanger the stability of the United States of Antarctica.
If we had the resources, it'd be proper to completely prosecute this city and bring it to the floor. Sadly, the entire justice system of Antarctica can't even begin to charge an entire city's populace with corruption. It'd take decades and would eliminate the federal courts from doing anything else.
The only possible way to end Polaris' governmental nightmare, in the eyes of this committee, is to revoke the City Charter of Polaris. However, there is a fierce constitutional question raised in who can revoke the City's Charter. Poalris' current charter was a direct Royal Charter in 1992 by Colonial Antarctica's King. The USA is the successor state to that nation, but who exactly is the equivalent of the King? Yes, most royal actions fell on the shoulders of the federal government, but then again, most royal charters were also approved by the people. Polaris' charter wasn't. Only the King and the politicians signed it. To our knowledge, there is no consensus on the constitutional feasibility of revoking the Charter.
We will do all in our power to begin the process, but Sky Programmer only knows what we'd do or how long it'll take.
We humbly apologize for our failure to eliminate this heck-hole of corruption we call the City of Polaris.
— Committee's report, February 2011
- The Polarian Freedom Fighters are able to thrive because of Polaris's corruption, though the group hopes to crush corruption in the country as they are the only apparent opposition there.