Office of Oakvale, attorney at law
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Oakvale
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« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2021, 03:47:22 PM »


Statement on my candidacy for the Senate

I have watched with growing dismay as the field of candidates in my home region of Lincoln has remained stagnant, with partisan but little clear ideological distinction. So with the filing deadline hours away, and no further candidates emerging, I have declared as a candidate for the Senate seat representing Lincoln. I hope that my presence on the ballot will, if nothing else, broaden the choice of representative available to the people.
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AGA
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« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2021, 03:53:35 PM »

Endorsed enthusiastically!
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Dr. MB
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« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2021, 04:03:30 PM »

If elected, will you vote to pass the unicameralism plan?
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Oakvale
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« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2021, 04:19:24 PM »

If elected, will you vote to pass the unicameralism plan?

I will have to see its ultimate iteration but certainly, although I have misgivings, as it stands I believe it's a novel and interesting proposal that would be an improvement over the status quo.
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Fmr. Pres. Duke
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« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2021, 04:20:41 PM »

Wow, so nice to see some old friends still active in this game. It seems like a brave new world out here.
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Laki
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« Reply #30 on: April 21, 2021, 02:56:00 AM »

You know very well that certain ideologies cannot win. You paint me and Blair as marxists, which is simply not true (at least IG). You bypass certain procedures, and even haven't participated in the debate, while you know very well for a few weeks you wanted to run, as i've heard the rumours two weeks ago.

I find what you're doing pretty much disrespectful especially towards me. I feel like i get much more respect by Blair (think about labor what you want), but Blair is an honourable person. You (and Ishan who probably encouraged you to run) treat me as a bag of sh**t, spreading dishonest information about me further, which is why I'd endorse Blair for second preference, and why i'm encouraging everyone who votes for me to second preference Blair after me, as Blair is clear that he puts Atlasia and Lincoln first, while you only run because of some personal grudge towards some persons.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2021, 03:04:52 AM »

Wow, so nice to see some old friends still active in this game. It seems like a brave new world out here.

I only recently returned as a lockdown era distraction but it's very much a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same. Good to see you again, old friend.

You know very well that certain ideologies cannot win. You paint me and Blair as marxists, which is simply not true (at least IG). You bypass certain procedures, and even haven't participated in the debate, while you know very well for a few weeks you wanted to run, as i've heard the rumours two weeks ago.

I find what you're doing pretty much disrespectful especially towards me. I feel like i get much more respect by Blair (think about labor what you want), but Blair is an honourable person. You (and Ishan who probably encouraged you to run) treat me as a bag of sh**t, spreading dishonest information about me further, which is why I'd endorse Blair for second preference, and why i'm encouraging everyone who votes for me to second preference Blair after me, as Blair is clear that he puts Atlasia and Lincoln first, while you only run because of some personal grudge towards some persons.

What on earth are you talking about? I basically have no idea who you are and certainly haven't "spread dishonest information" about you?
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Oakvale
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« Reply #32 on: April 21, 2021, 01:30:06 PM »


Debate questions - some answers

I am unclear as to what exactly is transpiring with my erstwhile opponent. I think it is probably best if I ignore whatever is developing in that respect.

Regardless, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to respond to some of the questions that had been posed in the Lincoln Senate debate. I thank the Vice-President for the chance to share some of my thoughts on the issues facing Lincoln and Atlasia more broadly.

As we all know, Atlasia has been ravaged by COVID-19, and thousands of Atlasians have perished to this virus. As the end of the pandemic appears near, how would you support transitioning back to normal life? What safety measures do you believe are still justified? What role do you believe the Atlasian government has in continuing to fight against the social and economic effects of COVID-19?

I am in broad agreement with my opponents on the response to Covid - our vaccination programme has been a success and provide a path - the only path - back to normal life. Likewise I am supportive of the federal government stepping in an emergency situation to provide the necessary  financial firepower to address the worst impacts of the pandemic on our people. When our vaccination targets have been met it is similarly in our best interest to share our surplus supplies with other countries.

I am not in favor of any federally mandated public health measures when our vaccination program is complete, but would view this as fundamentally a responsibility of the regions.

There are two points I would highlight as central to our response as we emerge from the pandemic period: first, I am in agreement on the urgent necessity of keeping schools and, to a lesser extent, universities open by whatever means necessary, and, second, over the longer term, the need to restore the Atlasian public finances to a credible position. There is a role for the state in any economy, but if we want to enter into a new era of unprecedented public expenditure as the new normal than this will, inevitably, have to be funded. I would be wary of the implications for this on our tax burden: too often in Atlasia we have viewed businesses and the very wealthy as a limitless source of free dollars from whom extracting funds has zero negative consequences.

While a broad-based economic recovery, when we have brought this crisis to an end, will, yes, do much in restoring the public coffers to health, we will need to take a cold, hard look at where efficiencies and, indeed, privatizations can be implemented to shore up our fiscal buffers for the next black swan event.

Recently in Lincoln, two controversial legislative initiatives - one introducing further restriction on late-term abortions, and one regulating 'diversity training' - both passed in a relatively low-turnout election. In your opinion, did the people of Lincoln make the right decision? How will you address these issues as a Senator?

I voted against both these initiatives and would rather they had not passed.

I was sympathetic to the aims of the regulations on 'diversity training' - I have little patience for the cult of hyper-woke race science nonsense that has become fashionable in HR circles in recent years. But the bill included what seemed to be an excessive reward for 'whistleblowing' that would have, ironically, awarded money to people who claimed their feelings were hurt. What could be more in tune with today's HRification of society than that? Had this clause not been present I would likely have supported the legislation.

People can disagree on the abortion issue in good faith. My own view was that the legislation was ill-conceived and would have little practical impact - a case of signalling. I would note that my own personal views on this matter have not prevented me from, in Roe v. ZuWo, ruling that the federal government has no jurisdiction in abortion (a decision that has been to an extent reversed, in my view, erroneously).


With a recent bill recognizing Taiwan passing Congress, tensions with China appear to be once more increasing. What is your take on the China issue? How do you believe Congress, and Atlasia as a whole, should handle China? Are you concerned about further animosity between the governments of the two nations potentially encouraging anti-Chinese-American xenophobia?

China is the single most significant bad actor on the world stage, and an opponent of basic Atlasian values. Our predecessor state fought Soviet communism for decades and was a shining light of freedom and opportunity for oppressed peoples throughout the world. Our moral imperative is to do the same today. Of course, the economic power of the Chinese Communist Party is vast. Its tendrils are intertwined with many of our businesses. We have all witnessed the dismal displays of professional athletes and Hollywood producers bowing to Beijing.

This is to say nothing of the criminal act that China committed in its willful misleading of the world on the current pandemic. It is not exaggeration to say that the present misery we have found ourselves in is the fault of the Chinese state. I fully support the Congress' actions in recognizing Taiwan and condemning human rights violations, most notably the ongoing holocaust against the Uighur people. I am confident that, in the unlikely event that I were to prevail in this election, I would find allies in the Senate on further sanctions against the Chinese state and businesses who deal with our geopolitical enemy.

To be as clear as possible: any decent person is repulsed and horrified by xenophobic discrimination against Asian Atlasians. But we cannot let this frankly tenuous correlation, which is promoted by the Chinese disinformation media, to prevent us from taking action. I would finally note as an addendum that I am skeptical of the utility of Senator Blair's suggestion of a federal task force on this issue. This should be dealt with on a local, regional level, as with any local crime.

Many in the center and right have accused Labor dominance of perpetuating legislative stagnation. Do you believe this take is correct? Is there a dearth of meaningful legislative activity? How will you, as Senator, address this issue, if it even exists?

This is correct, objectively correct. But, to be fair to Labor, this would happen - indeed, has happened - regardless of the specific ideological hue - any time one party drains the life out of the game like some blood-sucking wraith by - if you will - gaming the system to ensure total systemic dominance. There is simply little incentive for people to participate when the natural party of government, inevitably, runs the country like a low rent mafia family.

I am optimistic that the plan proposed by the President et al. will provide a framework for discussing how to address this issue.

As for how I would address this issue were I to be elected to the Senate: people have accused me of many things - some of them true - over my long career in Atlasia. One thing I don't think anyone can accuse me of is being a party line man. The activity question, the "economy of Atlasia", as I have called it before, has been the issue most important to me for many years.

To quote myself, I have said on many occasions that the problem with our concept of 'activity' is that we as citizens tend to see it as a moral, individual failing, rather than what it really is - which is a fundamental structural flaw in our system of incentives, not character defects on the part of anyone who lapses into inaction and sloth. The dominance of one party is a structural problem that needs to be addressed. I hope we can make some progress in doing so as we debate the current reform proposal.


Recently, there have been significant concerns regarding the onset of offsite recruiting. What's your take on this issue, and do you believe that offsite recruiting's increasing prevalence is a threat to the game's survival? Do you believe regulations on new registers should be passed, to combat this?

I have been thinking about this a lot in recent weeks. We have entered into a grotesque situation whereby the electorate has been massively inflated by brutal mathematics, on both sides, yet the proportion of 'active players' has remained largely stagnant.

In most countries, the 'active players' and the 'electorate' are one and the same. This is not the case in Atlasia. Let us refer to the electorate - the voter rolls - and the citizenry - those who are at least somewhat involved with Atlasia and are aware of the issues and personalities of the day etc.

This perverse development means that the electorate has been detached from citizenry. It was ever thus, and this has been a fundamental structural problem that Atlasia has struggled with since its inception. "Campaigning" in Atlasia, in the sense of making lapel-clutching speeches or participating in debates such as this, has never mattered so much as the ability to send dozens of PMs to your legion of wiling zombies. This has meant that bad, inactive people get elected while credible and talented people are consigned to electoral irrelevancy.

But the shameful activities of those who recruited masses of meaningless, empty vessels to our voter rolls has made the problem spiral out of control. The size of the "zombie" electorate is now, quite simply, a danger to the sustainability of Atlasia as a meaningful and worthwhile democracy.

Win or lose this race, I will not stop fighting this problem. We must analyse our response with the urgency that it merits, and we must respond. If we don't, this will be how things work from here on out. People will win elections by recruiting five hundred gomers off Stormfront and shipping them to Lincoln. And our debates and policy discussions will mean precisely nothing.

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What is your proudest achievement in Atlasia?

Some of the decisions I had the opportunity to author while I was on the Supreme Court had profound ramifications and were based in a fair and objective understanding of the Constitution - which resulted in many of them being unanimous rulings despite an ideologically diverse Court. So I would have to say that part of my career is my proudest accomplishment.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2021, 04:40:36 AM »

In the debate, I said the following on the electorate crisis:


Recently, there have been significant concerns regarding the onset of offsite recruiting. What's your take on this issue, and do you believe that offsite recruiting's increasing prevalence is a threat to the game's survival? Do you believe regulations on new registers should be passed, to combat this?

I have been thinking about this a lot in recent weeks. We have entered into a grotesque situation whereby the electorate has been massively inflated by brutal mathematics, on both sides, yet the proportion of 'active players' has remained largely stagnant.

In most countries, the 'active players' and the 'electorate' are one and the same. This is not the case in Atlasia. Let us refer to the electorate - the voter rolls - and the citizenry - those who are at least somewhat involved with Atlasia and are aware of the issues and personalities of the day etc.

This perverse development means that the electorate has been detached from citizenry. It was ever thus, and this has been a fundamental structural problem that Atlasia has struggled with since its inception. "Campaigning" in Atlasia, in the sense of making lapel-clutching speeches or participating in debates such as this, has never mattered so much as the ability to send dozens of PMs to your legion of wiling zombies. This has meant that bad, inactive people get elected while credible and talented people are consigned to electoral irrelevancy.

But the shameful activities of those who recruited masses of meaningless, empty vessels to our voter rolls has made the problem spiral out of control. The size of the "zombie" electorate is now, quite simply, a danger to the sustainability of Atlasia as a meaningful and worthwhile democracy.

Win or lose this race, I will not stop fighting this problem. We must analyse our response with the urgency that it merits, and we must respond. If we don't, this will be how things work from here on out. People will win elections by recruiting five hundred gomers off Stormfront and shipping them to Lincoln. And our debates and policy discussions will mean precisely nothing.


Happily, a development in the last few days has given a crystal clear illustration of the depth of the plague. Some of the endorsements in my opponent's campaign thread:

Endorsed. only here so i get validated





The average post count here is 49. I would especially draw attention to a good example in the form of this this poster, who as far as I can tell has literally never made a post above about three words.

To be clear, Senator Blair is still, in my estimation, the favorite to win this election. And, certainly, the Labor Party are just as culpable in creating this crisis too, and the Senator will benefit from his own army of dead-eyed zombie voters being shipped to the polls. But it is disheartening to see the Federalist Party generally, and my opponent specifically, who have quite rightly criticized the Labor dominance of our politics for its vampiric effect on activity and manipulation of voter rolls, shamelessly engaging in unethical behavior this blatant.

I will repeat myself - the electorate and the citizenry hold an increasingly weak relationship to each other. This is a menace to our democracy. It is imperative that we dramatically strengthen voter eligibility requirements. Unfortunately given that the two big parties benefit the most from the zombie voter base arms race, I fear this is unlikely to happen.
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2021, 10:37:45 AM »

As weak of a point as it is, OSR is correct about one thing. A large portion of the conservative element has exported itself to discord. This is more a product of RL pressures towards echo chambers than anything in game, but it means that the posting community tilts even more to the left.

It is also been well established that many are so fed up with the continued dynamic of working your ass off each cycle only to just get steamrolled by 10% instead of 30% for going on almost 3 years now, that blatant exercises are becoming not only accepted, but even celebrated.

So the question at that point becomes, how do you unwind this dependency without further increasing the power and dominance of one party rule. If I could turn the clock back I would, the simplest answer is the impossible one.

Absent that I have repeatedly asked that people not wait to the last minute, not post the bare minimum and post in the form of legitimate posts for multiple cycles. Sadly, water follows the course of least resistance.
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tack50
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« Reply #35 on: April 23, 2021, 12:36:41 PM »

As weak of a point as it is, OSR is correct about one thing. A large portion of the conservative element has exported itself to discord. This is more a product of RL pressures towards echo chambers than anything in game, but it means that the posting community tilts even more to the left.

It is also been well established that many are so fed up with the continued dynamic of working your ass off each cycle only to just get steamrolled by 10% instead of 30% for going on almost 3 years now, that blatant exercises are becoming not only accepted, but even celebrated.

So the question at that point becomes, how do you unwind this dependency without further increasing the power and dominance of one party rule. If I could turn the clock back I would, the simplest answer is the impossible one.

Absent that I have repeatedly asked that people not wait to the last minute, not post the bare minimum and post in the form of legitimate posts for multiple cycles. Sadly, water follows the course of least resistance.

I've long proposed to require validity posts to be split over 2 months (or if you want to be punitive, over 3-4 fortnights); to make it hard if not impossible to do stuff like that.

My thought is that of the ¿8? validity posts for this April election, you'd need at least 2 to happen in March and 2 to happen in April (or for a fortnightly proposal, you'd need 2 to happen between the 1st and 15th of March, 2 to happen between the 16th and 31st of March and 2 to happen between the 1st and 15th of April).

Another proposal I had was to require a "minimum word count". So say you have to post at least 100 words over the past 8 weeks.

The main issue (other than lack of interest) is always that it'd be too hard to track for Peebs and that we shouldn't make her life harder.

Another issue is that while they make "validity posting" hard, they don't make it impossible. Minimum word counts can be defeated via copypastas and monthly or even fortnightly requirements can be defeated if you are persistent enough (though I can't imagine that many people who require validity being determined enough to be dragged to the forum twice a month)

Finally, while not related to everything, I remember ¿YE? once raising the point that not all Discord voters are validity posters (many post regularly enough in the site to reach validity on their own) and not all validity posters are Discord users (I can't think of many examples here that apply nowadays, but the AAD people Griffin dragged in here in Jun 19 might qualify).
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Oakvale
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« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2021, 03:54:35 AM »
« Edited: April 26, 2021, 04:13:56 AM by Oakvale »


Statement on election results

My first duty is to congratulate Senator Blair on his re-election. Blair has been one of the better senators and I'm sure he will continue to be so in his new term. I also must thank the people who voted for me - this was a symbolic candidacy. I did not campaign or whip votes, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that some lent me their support nonetheless.

I achieved what I set out to do when I placed my name on the ballot in protest at the homogeneity of the field - ultimately, we had an ideologically diverse election in Lincoln, where voters were not disenfranchised through a lack of choice, and that can only be a good thing.

Finally, I was also grateful for the opportunity to clutch my lapels and sound off on various topics in the debate. The election highlighted some serious issues, not least on the electorate crisis, which I intend to continue working on.

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Oakvale
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« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2021, 10:13:25 AM »
« Edited: June 20, 2021, 05:33:06 PM by Oakvale »


Statement on the ongoing election

Due to being preoccupied with matters in the bizarre dream state some of us have referred to as 'real life', I have not been as active as I would have liked in the past several weeks. I was disheartened, if not surprised, to see that the people have chosen a proto-fascist Prussian flag as our national banner.

Nonetheless, I was delighted to cast my ballot for my friend Ishan for my local Senate seat. Ishan is one of the outstanding figures in Atlasian politics and will make a terrific addition to a too-often homogenous Senate.

I have also voted for the Federalist nominee, LouisvilleThunder, for President. While I respect the Labor candidates, and, indeed, our incumbent president, I think it is bordering on the self-evident that it is time for a change after a very long period of uninterrupted socialist government. LT and Ninja have run on the clever slogan: 'had enough'? Yes, I think we all have.

It is foolish to ever bet against the brutal political machine of the 'party of power'. But it would be fantastic to see an unlikely upset in the presidential race: with LT in the White House we would have, if nothing else, an opportunity, to begin to shake free from stagnation and restore our activity levels to something above the comatose. I hope that I can do my own part to contribute.

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Southern Governor LouisvilleThunder
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« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2021, 11:54:32 AM »

I appreciate your support!
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Oakvale
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« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2021, 10:44:48 AM »


Is a vote a post? Thoughts on a relevant edge case

Atlasia's Federal Electoral Act sets out a farcically low bare minimum activity requirement for a voter's ballot to be valid - a user must have made at least eight posts (!) in the eight weeks (!) preceding the beginning of the election. Despite this requirement being generous to the point of absurdity, the ever-increasing bloating of the 'zombie voter' base means that there are nominal citizens who struggle to meet this threshold.

Eight weeks prior to the beginning of the recently concluded federal election, the federal House election was ongoing. As such, an edge case emerges: a poster could have -

1. Voted in the House election (which was within eight weeks of the commencement of the current election)
2. Made seven further posts in the intervening period
3. Posted a ballot

The question then arises: is a vote a post?

The rock bottom floor requirement imposed by the FRA has a clear, if extremely weak, motivation: to ensure that, to some minimal standard, voters are active on the forum and do not simply exist as a bank of drones to be wheeled out at each election. Eight posts in two months is, surely, more than enough scope for even the most inactive poster to meet.

But the de facto effect of counting a ballot as a post is to reduce even this requirement - down to, in a best case scenario, seven 'posts' in the forum proper. Such an interpretation thus defeats the very spirit of the legislation. It would thus seem to me that it would be incoherent to consider previous votes cast as 'posts' for the purposes of meeting the activity requirement.

A cursory scroll through the voting thread has already provided me with two examples of posters - one who cast their ballot for the Labor nominee, one for the Federalist nominee, who only met Atlasia's 'race to the bottom' low of an activity requirement if one considers their prior ballot as counting toward that minimum.

I'm not immediately aware of any existing precedent on this issue. It would seem it may benefit from legal clarification.

As I've said many times, it would be trivial to avoid the thorny legal questions surrounding this increasing amount of edge cases by simply increasing our activity requirements to something above that of the residents of your nearest cemetery.
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« Reply #40 on: June 21, 2021, 04:18:26 PM »
« Edited: June 21, 2021, 04:23:35 PM by cinyc »

Yes, a vote is a post, counselor. It is a more meaningful expression of activity in Atlasia than posting on some unrelated board. It shows the poster attuned to Atlasian politics, not real world stuff.

I don't see how a vote isn't a post. The activity requirements don't exclude votes. They could if they wanted to. Therefore, votes must count as posts.
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Oakvale
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« Reply #41 on: June 21, 2021, 04:55:48 PM »

Yes, a vote is a post, counselor. It is a more meaningful expression of activity in Atlasia than posting on some unrelated board. It shows the poster attuned to Atlasian politics, not real world stuff.

That might be the case in theory, but hardly in practice: we think of the traditional 'zombie' as someone who only shows up in Atlasia to vote while being relatively active on the forum at large, but surely the registered voter who votes, spams "endorsed" seven further times in eight weeks when directed and then votes again could not reasonably be argued to be 'attuned to Atlasian politics'.

Quote
I don't see how a vote isn't a post. The activity requirements don't exclude votes. They could if they wanted to. Therefore, votes must count as posts.

Suppose the Congress was to reduce the posts in eight weeks requirement to just one (at the current rate they may get there) - a voter's ballot would then be eligible under this interpretation simply by virtue of having voted in the previous federal election. Is this 'activity' in any meaningful sense?
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« Reply #42 on: June 21, 2021, 05:27:50 PM »
« Edited: June 21, 2021, 05:37:03 PM by cinyc »

Yes, a vote is a post, counselor. It is a more meaningful expression of activity in Atlasia than posting on some unrelated board. It shows the poster attuned to Atlasian politics, not real world stuff.

That might be the case in theory, but hardly in practice: we think of the traditional 'zombie' as someone who only shows up in Atlasia to vote while being relatively active on the forum at large, but surely the registered voter who votes, spams "endorsed" seven further times in eight weeks when directed and then votes again could not reasonably be argued to be 'attuned to Atlasian politics'.

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I don't see how a vote isn't a post. The activity requirements don't exclude votes. They could if they wanted to. Therefore, votes must count as posts.

Suppose the Congress was to reduce the posts in eight weeks requirement to just one (at the current rate they may get there) - a voter's ballot would then be eligible under this interpretation simply by virtue of having voted in the previous federal election. Is this 'activity' in any meaningful sense?

Activity outside Atlasia is largely irrelevant to Atlasia, anyway. Someone who "spams" endorsed 7 times in Atlasia is more attuned to Atlasia than someone posting 7 times on the religion board or whatever. I haven't been paying much attention to Atlasia recently, but still got to vote in the election. If I were posting endorsed, I'd be more aware of who the current major players are than I am.

Your hypothetical makes little sense. Nobody in Atlasia is talking about lowering the post requirement to 1, as far as I know. But were they to, yes, a vote in Atlasia would make more sense to qualify than some nonsense on the U.S. General Board. At least it shows the voter cares about Atlasia, not just the real world. And if they didn't explicitly exclude votes from the post requirement, it should count.

Moreover, aren't our elections usually more than 8 weeks apart, anyway? Other votes should almost certainly count toward the post requirement.
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MR. AGIDVOR LIEBERMAN
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« Reply #43 on: June 21, 2021, 05:32:21 PM »

I will note that doing some very quick math will in fact tell you that in most elections the previous federal election falls nine weeks previously, not eight.

Also more importantly cinyc is correct on the legal interpretation - while of course you can argue against counting these votes, it is not supported by the text of the FEA. Claiming the FEA does not mean to count votes as posts is a ridiculous circumventing of the text. The Atlas Forum counts them as posts and I see nowhere in the FEA or federal law as a whole defining posts in a way to exclude those in the voting booth.

If you want votes to not count towards the requirement, the way to make that happen is the same as the way as increasing the requirement as a while: the Senate must amend the text.
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