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A debate
Having seen little movement forward in his case in the courtroom on his first day in Moscow, Jon took his place in the lecture hall.

"So Mr. Little Bird. You argue that progress of legal Prudence cannot happen in the circumstances currently having arisen in the CCD?" The moderator spoke.

"That is the case," Jon replied. "Here-as my current legal suit has made certain - there exists a relationship between The Executive power and the judiciary that is inherently imbalanced. The court clearly has no power to compel the Ascendancy, and this can mean only that a de facto dictatorship Relationship exists here."

"The Ascendancy was elected democratically" shouted his opponent.
"But it is not the means but the result," Jon replied. "If one man is not held to the rule of law, the rule breaks down and is no longer of any significance. And it becomes a pathway to tournament in which he can sent the rights of others by being beyond reproach."

"But the peace and prosperity brought by him!"

Jon cut his opponent off. "These things are worthless when bought by a dictator. They are gifts, not rights, that can be withdrawn at whom. A benevolent monarchy might be ideal for a time. Who would not want a single individual to rule for the interests of all? But when that the wise monarch passes the kingdom is in peril as the heirs try to grasp into power.

"This sort of representation is doomed from the start. I don't claim the Minutemen aren't a bit nuts in their belief they need to prepare for invasion and vocally oppose any threat. But if they can be made a target by the actions of one person and that person is above reproach from law, then you have no law. Only the inclinations of it's single individual. That is not freedom but oppression.

"Under such a system, every benefit you have you have not earned nor are entitled to. They are merely given and can be taken away at a whim. That is not rule of law."

The Academics clapped. Well, they were no matter. The Camera Filming this Mattered.

Tomorrow it was back to the Kremlin. A response would come. If it didn't, he would just keeping flogging the Horse of public opinion.

(edited 8-12 for formatting purposes, removing typos, miscapitalizations etc. resulting from posting via mobile phone)
Edited by Jon Little Bird, Aug 13 2013, 01:52 AM.
This was a debate, not a public forum, not a primetime television special, and most certainly not mainstream. The platform was broadcast, but the primary viewers were limited to dry academics with little else to do with their evenings.

One such man, a Professor at MSU in the department of Historical Philosophy currently sat opposite the young hot-head running his mouth. This debate had not been Professor Napoli's idea, but rather the University bureaucracy's. Yet he found himself thrust in the center nonetheless.

Unlike his predecessor in the debator's seat, Professor Napoli did not lose his cool. He obeyed the rules and respected the time allotted. He listened intently to his opponent, pausing only now and then to write a few line of notes on the prescribed pad of paper. Electronic note-taking and internet searching was prohibited.

It was his turn again to deliver arguments, incorporating his opponents main point as well as advancing his own. Professor Napoli walked calmly, but slowly to the center pulpit. He regarded the audience hall first, then glanced at the cameras. Finally the moderator called the beginning of his time, and he began his four-minute speech.

"My opponent wishes to argue that the CCD is a dictatorship because the relationship between the Executive and Judicial branches of our Custody is structured unlike that of his homeland, the United States of America." Professor Napoli began, keeping the eye of his audience while his hands were folded across the edge of the pulpit. "In the base recipe of his argument is what also undermines him. The CCD is a Custody. Currently, the care of the Custody lies in the hands of the Ascendancy. Like a painter substitute the gardener his job, each branch has their own role. My opponent focuses on this structure but yet neglects to point out that the judiciary branch neither checks the legislative branch....

...But the CCD has no legislative branch!"

Professor Napoli leaned into the pulpit, accenting his point with the sharp movement of an one arm. "He compares apples to oranges! He knows only the United States of America, and arrogantly assumes if any nation is not organized such as his own, they must be wrong!"

There were a few cheers, and Professor Napoli purchased a few moments of silence to let his point sink in. He even glanced at his opponent who so smugly sat there. An American through and through.

"Let me turn to another issue. What says our form of government is doomed from the start? Seen from America, the dictatorships in countries of the past appear like a heavy armor, destructive of liberty, which their closely pressed-in neighboring nations had to bear, because inherited feuds whipped them on to mutual destruction, but not as what they really were, purposeful forms of organization of a most highly developed capitalism....

....which is what the CCD is! The most advanced, developed form of capitalistic government ever devised by mankind!"
The cheers dwarfed the end of his words, and Professor Napoli let them go on for a few moments before he motioned that they retake their seats once more. He had time for a few last words.

"This is the glory of the CCD. The absence of political parties! The reign of capitalism!"

The moderator called time. Professor Napoli took a drink of water, gathered his papers and walked calmly back to his seat. He glanced at his opponent on the way back, daring him to undermine those arguments.

<small>NPC Professor Napoli</small>
Jon didn't need a drink of water before resuming the pulpit in response. He practically salivated to rip the argument apart with his very teeth. It was good to see some new energy in the debate provided by professor Napoli. Finally something to sink his teeth into.

He stooped to the microphone and spoke. "I thank the professor for his response. However, if he were to speak of claiming apples to oranges, he might want to seek out his tutor in Economics 101. Capitalism is not a system of governance, but an economic theory practiced in various forms across the world. It is the system of governance that determines the ability of capitalism to function to one degree or another."

He paused, but only long enough to let the subtle insult to his opponent sink in. Time for another. They made it so easy, sometimes. "I would further thank my opponent for agreeing with my classification of the CCD as a dictatorship. This makes things easier as we are now talking apples to apples. Convenient, one might say?"

The moderator glared at him. A subtle warning he was on the verge of breaking decorum. He gently raised his palm to silently acknowledge The unspoken reprimand.

Jon had a minute left. "Your argument I am biased on a proper form of government based on not having known others is invalid. I have been to school. I don't claim the U.S. system is inviolate, but there are reasons it works. The United States has persisted as it has due to no one man being above the rule of the supreme law of the land. This prevents abuses and more importantly provides a clear pathway of transfer of power.

"No form of governance where there is not a clear pathway of succession survives. As I said earlier, great monarchies are wonderful for those who live under them, but for the succeeding generation? The empires of Alexander the Great...Charlemagne...Without the constraint of the rule of law their empires crumbled with their deaths as soon as they passed. The Romans tried to Build an empire on Rule of law with one man invested with supreme power, and it did not work. No one man can hold absolute power and hope it to last."

Jon paused For effect and for a breath before continuing. The moderator signaled he was almost out of time but he had to make this point: "What exactly is the plan of succession for the Custody? I'm afraid I am a bit fuzzy on it."

Jon had probably overrun his time by a few seconds, but thankfully the moderator hadn't noticed. Jon glanced at Professor Napoli and grinned.

(Edited 8-12 for formatting purposes, removing typos and emboldening spoken text)

Edited by Jon Little Bird, Aug 13 2013, 01:55 AM.
There was another issue besides cold facts and well-spun arguments that cost many a debator the win. Probably no more famous instances could be found as those in the history of US Presidential candidacy debates. Usually it was the incumbant which battered his opponent with nasty language, insults, and degrading behavior. No matter how flimsy the argument, or how justified the insults, the bullies in debates were always called out by those watching. The negativity and drama were the headlines the next day, not: 'Vice-president's arguments were logical, coherent, and common-sensical, declared winner.'

Napoli made his notes while Jon spoke. He even looked pleased for a moment, nodded and wrote down a few key phrases. It is the system of governance that determines the ability of capitalism to function to one degree or another. He wrote it word for word, to be sure the quote was precise.

A clear transfer of power. Romans - supreme power. Plan of succession?

He nodded when the modertor assigned his time. They would go back and forth the two of them. Each given their alloted minutes to lay out an argument, then the other would stand for a short rebuttal to immediately address concerns spoken by the other. Once rebuttal was concluded, their full time could begin.

Professor Napoli laid out his notes on the pulpit, folded his hands calmly and began his short rebuttal with a reprimand.

"My opponent said I should seek my Econ tutor." He smiled briefly, a disappointed expression so many of his students had seen before. "I ask my opponent to refrain from insults. This is a professional debate not a school project. Please present logical arguments, not emotional punches, young-man." He looked over his shoulder. The few seconds cost him precious time, however the purchase was worth pointing out who was bullying and who was being bullied. Since it was now pointed out, any future statement which deviated in the slightest from strict professionalism would stick in the minds of the moderator and audience alike. There was a reason Professor Napoli took his time walking to the podium, took a drink of water and neatly arranged his notes before beginning. It was about crafting an image, maturity and wisdom were credibility after all. Hard facts and statistics had their place, but the source was more likely to win or lose an argument rather than the sheer weight of numbers.

"My opponent brought up the greusome imagery of past conquerers. Alexander the Great, Charlemange, and an allusion to Julius Ceasar. He did this to invoke emotion in the audience. To compare the Ascendancy to a violent, power-hungry ruler so that you would overlook the fact his arguments are thin. For instance, the Roman Empire was not constructed out of ..." he held up the paper with the quote on it despite the fact that he did not need to read it to recall the specific words. It was all about credibility: a man who wrote down Little Bird's exact wording when nobody else had must have the best insight into properly interpreting those same words.

..."authority vested in one man. But this isn't my class on European Empires, so I won't subject the audience to a lecture in historical philosophy... no matter how riveting." He chuckled slightly, feeding the image of the man the audience wanted to root for. Professor Napoli was a man of hard-edges and high standards, but he was also approachable and likeable. He took a drink of water. Time was ticking away.

"I would point out that the audience ought not fall for this invokation of emotion. The emperors, ceasars, and kings of the past were tyrants. The Ascendancy most surely is not. Not a single Dominance in this great Custody was conquered. In fact, they asked for admission. Style of governance does not matter. Only tyranny matters, and the Ascendancy is hardly a tyrant."

The time for rebuttal was called and Professor Napoli prepared to switch gears and argue his own point once more.

He took a drink of water again and began once allowed to. "It is my understanding that this debate is not about classifying the CCD system of governance. But if we are going to do so, I will lay out a few points of discussion. Yes, capitalism is not a system of governance. But you cannot ignore economic policy when discussing the merits of a nation. As for the matter of succession, that is easily defined within the offices of Patrons. And once more, power is not littered with the politics of parties, buy-offs, and favors. The best performer earns the right to lead. Easy, transparent and simple. Kindergartners would understand it.

Perhaps the CCD is more closely aligned to that of a constitutional oligarchy, but power in the hands of a few does not a tyrannical dictatorship equal. When was the last time your assets were seized by the state? When were your loved ones executed for speaking against the Ascendancy? When were you last prosecuted for practicing your religion in public? It doesn't happen! And not just because we have a state-unified religion or because everyone is pleased with the Ascendancy. But because the CCD is not an overlording tyrant! If this is a dictatorship, then I welcome it!!"

Professor Napoli gathered his thoughts for a moment, and his voice returned to that of a teacher.

"Governments depend on the consent of its citizens always. Let us settle by saying that the Soviet Union was socialist. Yet it was a dictatorship. It was a dictatorship because the cement of the Soviet Union minimized any effort to bring about meaningful economic and political change within their own borders. But does this not sound similar to former Britain or the current United States? Where there is a monopoly of power held by a minority it is always fair to call that society a dictatorship!

Capitalist society stands as a dictatorship. Its institutions serve to maintain capitalism by reducing the potential to change the economic and political order to any great extent. The very definition of capitalism is that the 'Best always wins out.' There are many dictatorships in the world; undoubtedly included were historical Britain and the present-day United States.

So speak not of classifying the CCD as a dictatorship. Speak only of the unhindered right to of our citizens to seek their own prosperity; to win the best. Speak only of a stable nation unafraid of border-wars and cultural persecutions and religious infighting. Speak only of what it means to be a Custody citizen. All would agree, the Custody is a greater place than its contemporaries in the Americas."

He retook his seat, fully aware that Jon's follow-up arguments were constructed on foundations of sand and Napoli was the wave to wash him away. The argument, that the CCD is a vile dictatorship, was invalid. If it is, then, as he said, the people of the Custody welcome it.

<small>NPC Professor Napoli</small>
Jon struggled to keep himself from laughing aloud as he listened to Professor Napoli's response. He could see the headlines in the papers tomorrow, "Ascendancy apologist: Dictatorship 'Welcomed.'" Priceless. Truly, as often as often went with debates in Acadamia, it was unlikely this one would gain significant press coverage. This debate was a considerably high profile one, though -- a visiting lawyer currently engaged in a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of the CCD arguing against the wisdom of the legal construction of the Dominance -- there would certainly be some some editorials penned by big names, who had big followers.

Amazing how easy it was to trick his opponent into a trap. Professor Napoli was, of course, merely a pawn to Jon's greater game. He provided the background upon which Jon could embarrass the regime of the CCD into recognizing the need to legitimize and respond to his suit currently pending in the Supreme Court.

Also, it was fun to be a nuisance to a greater power.

It was Jon's turn to speak. He saw on the corner of his vision Professor Napolai reading his pen to jot down Jon's response. All that scribbling wasn't going to do his opponent any good.

He took the stand. Jon had to be careful here, now was not the time to act juvenile, anymore. The purpose of doing so had accomplished its ends. Now was the time to spring the trap shut.

He stepped up to the podium. "Mr. Napoli, do not tell me what I will not speak of. I will speak of what I please. What I choose to speak of is of my own right, self-evident, a fact of our Maker, and protected by rule of law. The rule of law you so casually dismiss."

He turned to the audience, who had earlier so cheered his opponent. Well, academics were as they were, aloof and feeling protected in their status, free to envision esoteric possibilities and aloof arguments, any threat to control their ivory towers was likely only casually received. They would likely publish papers and spout trivialities until the iron gauntlet came down upon them. As a group, they really didn't matter in this debate. Only what was written about it afterward, what was passed on to the people...only what resonated with them.

The individuals out in the auditorium did matter, though. Individuals wanting to remain their own selves in a world that increasingly cared less for it meant something to Jon.

Mere seconds had passed since he'd started to speak. Jon needed to press on with what little time he had.

My opponent would welcome a dictatorship. Very well, millions upon millions of people have 'welcomed' dictatorships over the millennia for promises of security of their lives, or belief in nationalism, or by threat of force. So let us see what that implies by welcoming a dictatorship.

Jon grinned a bit. He couldn't help it, though he'd promised himself he'd deliver his response with a straight face and not a cocky smile. He continued to address the audience: "A dictatorship exists when the Rule of Law does not apply equally to all, and where a small ruling class or one single individual can determine without fear of reproach or constraint the policy of a State. In such circumstances, the citizens of this State -- no matter how well provided for, or how secure in their own lives -- become mere wards to a guardian, their well being, their fundamental rights, their very lives protected not by the rule of law but instead becoming privileges bestowed upon by another person. Their ability to petition and seek redress becomes subjected to the whims of the overlord."

Jon shook his head, merely for effect. He forced a somber face upon himself. "One could hope for a benevolent overlord to rule in the interests of the people, but in practice it never works. I speak not of the means but of the ends. My opponent wishes to make light of history, claiming I am appealing to emotion with violent imagery. This is not the case."

Jon sent his gaze upon the crowd. Did someone just lock eyes with his, feeling an understanding? He spoke on, mindful of the time he was allotted. "The fate of empires built on anything but the rule of law, those built on the will of one individual -- Alexander the Great, Charlemagne -- benevolent dictators, considered, -- the Caesars, who despite my opponent's confusion were in fact absolute rulers past the fall of the Republic --

"This is not imagery. This is your history. If you do not remember it you are doomed to repeat it."

Jon took a breath before continuing. That point needed a moment to sink in, and he had not quite destroyed his opponent yet. "Let us visit more recent dictatorships. My opponent claims the CCD exists devoid of parties, and at the same time admits the old Soviet Union was flawed. But what he does not say is that factions still sprung from the one-party State Which brings me to what happened when the first Dear Leader, Lenin, passed unexpectedly. A cult of personality was built around him, so much so his body remains preserved to this day.

"If I have to remind my opponent of the lessons of history, then so be it. The heirs to Lenin's cult of personality went to war with each other. Leon Trotsky and Josef Stalin, and their supporters, squabbled to inherit Lenin's utopia. Academics would argue Trotsky remained most true to the ideals espoused by the Revolution, yet Stalin emerged victorious, and to consolidate his own power unleashed a scourge upon his own people the world has not known since! The old Soviet Union was not cemented in resistance to change, it was bathed in the blood of those who died at the hands of men unconstrained by the rule of law."

Jon kept his face blank this time, though he wanted very badly to smirk at Professor Napoli. "My opponent seems to think a successor to the Ascendancy would be a simple matter of transfer of power. But where the Rule of Law does not constrain, as in the dictatorship he would so easily welcome, it is not a simple matter. My question to him is --"

Jon turned straight to stare at Professor Napoli, who glanced up from his scribbling and caught Jon's eye -- "which of the Patrons - or the Privileges -- is Trotsky, and which one is Stalin?"

(edited 8-13 for typos)

Edited by Jon Little Bird, Aug 13 2013, 05:22 AM.
Professor Napoli greatly desired to comment upon Jon's rebuttal, but the rules of the debate forced his focus to turn toward the argument currently on the table. Which, it seemed, Jon was persistent upon this idea of classifying the CCD government. He wanted to use his parameters to define, classify, and judge a foreign people based on the curse of his american arrogance. If it wasn't the American way, then it was wrong. The fallacy of the logic in that was nearly enough to undermine Professor Napoli's collection, a countenance he was careful to reserve so far.

He did not take a drink of water this time. He did not woo the crowd with pleasantries. For this short rebuttal, he got straight to the point. "I argue the societies of the past did not welcome dictatorships. I argue the definition Jon has quoted is not sufficient. I will be blunt. Dictatorships are of 'a government that has the power to govern without the consent of those being governed.'" Professor Napoli leaned an elbow on the podium and gestured sternly at the audience. "Every single Dominance in this great Custody has elected to be governed by the Ascendancy. Therefore, by definition, we are NOT a dictatorship." He took a deep breath, knowing he'd momentarily lost his patience, but at least he was quick to regain it.

"Allow me to state another definition. Totaltarianism is 'a state that regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior of the people.'" He gestured with his other hand as a visual contrast to the first, as though he were weighing two objects on a pair of scales. "In that, the CCD is the freest of ALL nations! Walk to any dispensery and you can select the Cannabis of your choice. Peruse the market and you will find thin to none regulation in your purchases. A citizen has the right to protect themselves! The Custody freely bequeaths rights to such an extent the American Bill of Rights will choke the life out of you by comparison. Clearly, the CCD is not like this."

He took a breath, ramming his point home. "This combination of dictatorship and totalitarianism leads to the evil tyranny Jon described." Napoli pointed at his opponent without so much as looking at him. "Ivan the Terrible. Adolf Hitler. Francisco Franco. Benito Mussolini. They used the military to suppress, to constrict free speech, to spy on their citizens, to create concentration camps and gulags. They were the tyrants! Not us! Not us."

He took a solidifying breath, his voice calm and confident now. "The CCD is an enlightened dictatorship. Just as the Greeks revolutionized democracy and heightened civilization, so also has the Ascendancy elevated modern society one more. Moscow is living the American Dream but not in the American-way. And this is what bothers my opponent; this is what bothers all Americans. They are bitter over our success while they decline further to the trenches. In the last twenty-five years, this city's economy has grown by thirty percent. Average income per capita has grown by ten-fold. Poverty rates are proportionally three-times lower than the current New York City's twenty-five percent rate. These numbers far outpace that of the turn of the century UAE. Moscow runs like a swiss watch!"

He only had a few moments remaining. So he gathered his senses, took a breath and spoke with a deep, proud voice. "We believe our society is what makes us great. There is a huge disconnection of logic that my opponent says he reveres freedom, but only if that freedom is defined by American parameters. He will not allow other citizens of the world to elect their own freedom if it differs from his. So freedom is great, he says, but you," Napoli pointed into the camera, "are not allowed to the freedom to live as you want."

He finally acknowledged Jon with a glance. "If you hate the Custody so much, then leave it. You do not deserve it." The moderator began to cut him short, but Napoli spoke into the microphone even as he began to move away. "I remind the audience we are here to debate terrorism, not the merits of the Custody! But drumming up tangential controversies to distract the crowd is a sharp idea!"

He took his seat. The debate should be nearly ended.

<small>NPC Professor Napoli</small>
Jon sat in silence as he watch his opponent barely keep his countenance while deivering his barely coherent response. Clearly Jon's last remarks had been serious blow and now was attempting to save face with figures and statistics hardly relevant to the conversation at hand, backtracking his "dictatorship is welcome" remark, and falling upon anti-Americanism in an attempt to save face. He clearly knew nothing about Jon's heritage or of the litigation he had been involved with against the United States government, but that was unsurprising.

Indeed, Professor Napoli was either confused about the topic or simply trying to get Jon to talk about something else. The invitation Jon had received had been quite clear, on sovereignty and international law. Of course Jon was much to blame for taking the debate where it went, but of course it had been by design:

-To ensure a fair and impartial trial in an international court, he had to question the ability of such a court to make a binding decision on the CCD.

-to ensure the CCD would abide by a ruling that went against the Dominance's stated position, he had to question whether the Ascendancy was bound by rule of law, and if in fact the Ascendancy did not consider himself bound by the court's ruling, Jon had to make such a system known for what it was.

-To make that matter to the people and keep the court and the CCD honest, Jon had to leave absolutely no doubt that accepting a governance unconstrained by the rule of law would lead to terrible consequences.

The threat was implicit: give his client a real opportunity or it would be known that the CCD did not consider itself constrained by rule of law. To do so, Jon had to force his opponent into a debate he didn't expect to have.

He almost felt sorry for Professor Napoli for allowing himself to be drawn into a debate where he was clearly not in control of the discourse. Well, the man shouldn't have made the mistakes he did. You won debates by getting your opponent to make your argument for you, and punishing him for doing so. Napoli had been forced into a position of defending the entire makeup of the CCD, and he was doing so on Jon's terms.

The moderator signaled Jon had two minutes for final rebuttal and closing remarks. There really wasn't much left he needed to say, though. His point had already been made to those who mattered.

Jon smiled, not a smirk or a grin but merely a contented uptick of the lips. He began softly: "Mr. Napoli, you seem confused about the subject of our debate. There are no terrorists here to discuss. Only how a group can be designated so without due process, forcing one to sue to clear his own name. Such a thing can only happen in a system Where it's leaders are not bound by rule of law. A system where a nation's leaders dictate the law.

He turned to the audience. "My opponent is confused about a number of other things, including claiming the CCD is not a dictatorship because the citizens and custody states elected to be part of the Dominance, as if this has never happened before. Many a dictator has risen to power democratically, and many a ruthless conquests have begun with peaceful, willing annexation of neighboring states happy to Sacrifice sovereignty for promises of safety, security or prosperity. Nazi Germany began with a democratically elected leader and the conquest of the Third Reich began with peaceful annexation."

He continued on in the same soft voice, as if he were tiptoeing with each phrase. Soft, yet determined. "My opponent seems confused about many, many things. It is not hate of your present that motivates me to speak out as I have against the structure of the Dominance, But of fear for its Future, and of yours beneath it. Where the rule of law does not constrain your leaders and provide a clear transfer of power, the authoritarian utopia welcomed Today will become the next totalitarian nightmare of tomorrow."

Jon shrugged. "History has taught us this. But this time, my opponent claims, it will be different. Why, he cannot say."

By the moderator's clock Jon had more than a minute remaining to speak, but he was done with his argument. This debate had accomplished everything he had hoped it would. There was just one more thing Left he wanted to say.

As Jon, stepped back from podium as to take his seat, He turned back to face Professor Napoli.

"Professor, you never did answer my question," Jon said. "Which one of the Patrons and Privileges is Trotsky and which one is Stalin?"

With that, he took his seat. It was time to return to other work.

Continued in A Lawsuit

Edited by Jon Little Bird, Aug 26 2013, 01:46 AM.
Confusion hardly entered Adamo's mind. He was directing the course of the debate, jumping back from the tangents to return to the islands of his focus. It was a technique, but even the coolest of heads could occasionally lose their tempers. Now, the calloused professor was beginning to lose his.

This debate hadn't been his idea, yet here he was being dragged through the mud simply because his appointment put him in the line of fire. He was almost as annoyed with MSU as he was with his opponent, but it was the overarching frustration with American arrogance in general that spurred the motivation for these final, closing remarks.

"I believe I owe it to all listeners to provide some context. At this moment you are witnessing an example of cultural differences. Neither is one right or wrong, but rather reflects basic distinguishing characteristics between CCD and American society.

It would be obvious to respect another's culture if we were discussing individualism or collectivism: topics more politically charged, but differences between power distance has no protection in political correctedness.

That distance is of course defined by the extent to which the less powerful members of an institution, organization, or government accept that power is distributed equally. The dimensions by which a culture accepts and tolerates power imbalance and whether that imbalance is unfair or wrong."
He spoke of the core of Moscow society, of course. The fervor of an overlord was not unwelcome in the ASU, but rather heralded as a "return to the good old days." That fervor spread like wildfire across the coming and future Dominances, and today, dissent was not heard in the CCD.

"Yes, the history of the CCD is rooted in the ASU which is rooted in Russian values. Much as the East differs from the West, we accept power differences between the governed and the government and do not care because tyranny does not reign. To assume the CCD is wrong because it may be classified as a dictatorship is a western value being imposed upon us. A threat of force imposed by that man!" He violently swung an arm around the podium and pointed at Little Bird.

He spoke into the microphone but kept his stance positioned toward Jon, though now both hands gripped the podium. "You have to accept our culture; be tolerant, sir! You, and all Americans for that matter, expect autonomy and democracy because in your minds anything else is against the Rule of Law when there is yet still another Rule of Higher Law you refuse to respect." That higher law of course being to respect one another's differences in value systems.

He lowered his voice finally, a barely contained calm. "As to your question. It is irrelevant because we are here to debate 'sovereignty and international treaty law' not the succession laws of the CCD. Besides, any future rivalry between successors would be handled by Custody Court, an institution which did not exist in Soviet Russia. For example, the American contest between Bush and Gore in the 2000 Presidential Election was settled in court, not Civil War. To think the CCD would resort to barbaric, militant measures is absurd. Should disputes arise, the court would resolve them. Because, like the United States in the beginning being a novel creation of your founders, so also is the CCD an enlightened, novel and ascendant creation of the Ascendancy."

Napoli nodded and retreated from the podium. He always pictured himself as impassive to politics, however he surprised even himself at the amount of passion filling his voice in those last few sentences. He better get a raise for this.

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