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Messages - Istefan Perþonest

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1
The Hopper / Re: The We Really Mean It This Time Bill
« on: Yesterday at 08:43:16 PM »
You'd seriously pass up the opportunity to become the second female King in Talossan history?
Note, under the current Organic Law, at least as posted to the wiki, "The Kingdom of Talossa is a constitutional Monarchy with a King (or, if female, Queen) as its head of State."

So, unless that was also revised, there'd be no chance of a "King Miestră".

2
The ideal of the Civil Service is that it nonpolitically serves Talossa in administering the state under the direction of the Government of the day, and I believe my service as Burgermeister of Inland Revenue has exemplified that standard. I think my role as such is, indeed, fundamentally compatible with a role on the Uppermost Cort, at least under current Talossan conditions.

Now, I do acknowledge that I was involved in policy and politics early in my tenure as Burgermeister, but that was in my then-role of Minister of Finance. Since my (stormy) resignation from that office in 2014, the closest I believe I've come to national politics is giving advice to the Government when that advice has been requested. The lesson I took from that experience, after I had some time to clear my head, was that I'm not temperamentally suited to a political role in Talossa. I'll note that not only have I not held national political office since (not even a seat in the Cosa), but I've also not been a member of any party, and to my recollection have largely refrained from even expressing political opinions. I have, I feel, already stepped back from Talossan politics. (Inherent in saying that is that I believe my performance in the other offices I've held in the last six years has been consistent with having stepped back from politics. Whether as Cunstaval of Fiova, Arvitieir Prima of Benito, Electoral Commissioner, or even Maestro of Benito, I believe I've largely avoided politics.)

In a perfect world, I would drop all my other offices upon becoming a Justice, to eliminate as many potential conflicts as possible. But in a perfect world, there'd be a bunch of active and qualified candidates to take over them all. As it is, I don't currently plan to resign any of them.

On the more general point, I don't have a lot of insight, I'm afraid. Given how central political activity is to Talossa, being both active and apolitical are in tension with each other, and thus there's a marked historical tendency for Justices to drift away from paying attention. I don't have a good idea as to how to square that circle in general, even if it seems like I've done it in my personal case.

3
My broad judicial philosophy is textualism; that the actual, ordinary, public meaning of the words should prevail. (Fortunately, in Talossa, our laws are not so old as to raise the question of linguistic drift.) This itself is based on two principles.

The first is democratic legitimacy. What, exactly, was the intent of each and every one of the legislators at the time they voted for the legislation is impossible to know, and so any version of reading legislative intent or considering the question of the problem the law was intended to address inherently privileges some votes over others. The actual language they voted all for, however, is unambiguously the language they all chose to enact. And when an unelected judge substitutes his sense of justice for what the law says, he is usurping power from the representatives that made the law; and here it is a worse usurpation of democracy, because while the legislature can change the intent by passing a new law, they certainly can't change the judge's sense of justice the same way. The defect of democracy is that it never can implement uncompromised justice; the glory is that it is far more amenable to correction than any other system.

The second reason is the principle of fair notice. Any individual person should be held to adhering only to the law as written, rather than being expected to know the intent of those who wrote it or of the sense of justice of the judge. The "crime of analogy" seen in Soviet and Imperial Chinese law creates a structurally unjust society in a way that no unjust but published statute possibly can.

(The concept of lapsus linguae still applies; obvious human error should be treated as such. I grant that my predicates are vague enough that there's a sorites paradox in drawing the line between noticing drafting errors and trying to read intent.)

Now, how does all this impersonal theoretical principle rubber hit the road when you reach the personal end of small-group dynamics and the emotions? I think, ultimately, it works better for a judge to adhere to the principle than to try to directly address the dynamics. While I think it is potentially worthwhile for a judge to promote non-public discussion between the parties to reach a settlement friendlier to the dynamics, if there is no settlement, the best way to rule is, in fact, impersonally. A party that loses what it think it deserved is going to be all the more incensed if it thinks it was a case of the judge personally siding against the party, to the detriment of the group dynamics, and every millimeter by which the judge deviates from the impersonal application of the law is the more justification for feeling so.

Of course, other people will disagree with me on pretty much all those points, and I can see their arguments for doing so, even if they do not persuade me. If any of you find my approach truly unacceptable, I urge you to vote against my appointment, because after decades of amateur legal philosophizing it is very unlikely that I will change my mind.

4
Honorable Senators, thank you for this opportunity to speak.

When I was a nine-year-old boy, I came across a book on the United States Supreme Court in my elementary school library. By the card in the back of that book (this was back before computerization), I was the first student to take that book out of the library. As a result of reading that book, I conceived an ambition to become a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Two years later, as part of an assembly celebrating the bicentennial of the US Bill of Rights, correctly answering a question about what proceeded the Constitution in the US got me put on a mock Supreme Court, where I wound up (after manipulating the line-up so I'd be in the middle, and thus Chief Justice) casting a deciding vote against allowing 13-year-olds to drive cars.

Nine years later, various events in my life had caused me to abandon my childhood ambition, but the echo survived. When I became Talossan, in both my citizenship application and discussion on that era's Wittenberg, I expressed interest in serving on the Uppermost Cort. The dramas of that era wore on me, and I started a pattern of going inactive for long stretches of time, and I let the ghost of my childhood ambition slumber.

When I returned to the changed Talossa of the Reunision era, that ambition continued to sleep for the most part. On a couple occasions I expressed interest in joining the Talossan bar, but my timing was poor when I did; the bar had lapsed into inactivity. On one occasion I did privately message it to one person about my willingness to be on the Cort, but I did not vigorously pursue it; I thought that actively campaigning to be a Justice was unseemly, and I was quite afraid of rejection.

Then, recently, Seneschál Miestră Schivă, UrN, asked me if I would be interested in serving on the Cort. I leapt on the opportunity like my cat attacking a catnip-stuffed toy. The nine-year-old boy still inside this forty-two-year-old man is downright gleeful at the chance to become a member of Talossa's Uppermost Cort.

So, enough about how this, in of course its own Talossan way, would fulfill a childhood dream of mine. I'm sure many of you have questions and opinions about what sort of Justice I would be, so let's get to them.

5
Wittenberg / Re: Legal Issues Not Directed at Anyone in Particular
« on: October 13, 2020, 05:50:38 PM »
Any party with a majority in the Ziu and any province can create themselves a friendly Senats seats whenever they please.  A simple act of the Ziu creates a new province from the existing one and assigns whatever specific citizens they want, however they please (as long as it includes one active person and nine other citizens).  Theoretically this could be done multiple times, in fact, if there are enough citizens available -- but I think only Benito could actually do it more than once right now (yielded two new ten-person provinces and one four-person province).  As far as I can tell, there is nothing to prevent this.  It's actually a significant danger, since any majority in the Ziu is going to command a majority in at least a couple of provinces, and two Senats votes would be a big deal.
Well, obviously, the first check is that you actually have to have a Senats majority in order to pass an act of the Ziu. At which point, why do you need to expand the Senats in order to secure a friendly Senats?

The only obvious case would be if you had a majority in the Senats but needed a two-thirds majority. And such cases are limited to impeaching a member of the Senats (which still has to be ratified by a provincial vote), and certain OrgLaw amendments (which would still need voter approval). It seems a contrived scenario.

The other case would be if a party thought it was going to lose the next election but could retain the Senats if it made a few friendly Senators. But, frankly, Talossan politics are too small-scale and too non-geographic for that to be the sort of secure thing that, say, a transient Congressional majority making DC into a state would be. And to do it, you'd either need the consent of the king or a two-thirds Cosa majority to pass the bill over his veto.

6
All right, by the schedule, the first speech of the hearing is supposed to be no earlier than yesterday, and I get the first one, and everyone's supposed to make a request to make the speech to this thread. So, here's my request (which, really, I should have made rather earlier, but I had just skimmed for the date rather than reading everything carefully).

7
Wittenberg / Citizenship Petition for Nicholas Richard Burman
« on: October 08, 2020, 12:24:06 PM »
Citizenship Petition for Nicholas Richard Burman

WHEREAS it has been more than a fortnight since Nicholas Richard Burman first posted on Wittenberg and in that time he has demonstrated an active and genuine interest in Talossanity, and

WHEREAS Nicholas Richard Burman desires citizenship in the Kingdom of Talossa and by all indications it appears that he would be a loyal and dedicated citizen and a credit to this nation if he obtains a grant of citizenship, and

WHEREAS I, have communicated via Zoom with Nicholas Richard Burman last Thursday as a private Talossan citizen, so


THEREFORE I, Istefan Éovart Perþonest, petition the Secretary of State to issue a grant of citizenship to Nicholas Richard Burman, as specified by law.

8
Wittenberg / Re: D&D
« on: October 07, 2020, 08:23:18 PM »
No objections being heard, Thursday it is. 8:00 EST.
Having recovered from my cold, I should be awake at the start time this week, and more coherent in my interactions.

9
Fiôvâ / Re: An Acting Capitán for Fiôvâ?
« on: September 26, 2020, 06:35:45 PM »
I mean, I'd do it if you really thought it was important, but honestly I've been trying to take AD's advice, i.e. be absent because it'll encourage people to fill the gap. Hasn't worked, lol
That's fine, I was just seeing if being a bit provocative could provoke someone into activity. Looked to be vaguely inside the ambit of "advise, encourage, and warn".

(If I thought the absence of a Capitán an actual crisis, rather than make a public post, I'd have gone directly to you-as-provincial-SoS about it. After all, then the goal would be getting the job filled, not trying to see if talking about "Acting Capitán Donald Trump" woke people up.)

10
Fiôvâ / An Acting Capitán for Fiôvâ?
« on: September 25, 2020, 11:43:59 PM »
While in general I feel that the best way for me to interact with Fiôvâ's governance is entirely at the request of the elected government, I note that Fiôvâ currently doesn't have one.

So, since I do have the power to appoint an Acting Capitán for the province under Article V of Fiôvâ's constitution, and given the extended vacancy in that office, I'm wondering if I should appoint one.

(Not that I have any candidates in mind. Incidentally, did y'all ever notice you didn't specify that the Capitán had to be either a Fiôvân or a Talossan in your Constitution, and so I could appoint, say, Donald Trump as Acting Capitán? You know, that might actually convince someone to volunteer to be elected Capitán . . .)

11
Wittenberg / Re: D&D
« on: September 21, 2020, 08:54:17 AM »
No, I'm "Toruun". And I'm holding off actually creating my character until I know what the rest of the party is like.

(I figure people with less D&D experience should get their choices, and the guy with thirty years' playing experience and seven paid TTRPG writing credits can slot in a character wherever's appropriate.)
I didn't know that about you!  You can wait to make your character if you want, sure.
Very minor credits, mind.  Contributions to Scarred Lands open calls back for D&D 3rd-era D20 material that got into four books, one Munchkin d20 article for D20 Weekly during the brief period it was a going webzine, two GURPS articles for Pyramid when it was a webzine. All paid at three cents a word; I framed the first check because I thought it was worth more as a wall decoration than the $8.73 I could get at a bank.

12
Wittenberg / Re: D&D
« on: September 21, 2020, 03:34:31 AM »
OK, I have a character made (although I have no idea what equipment to pick). What do I do now?
Are you Toruun?  It still says you haven't finished making your character at all.  Just pick whatever equipment makes the most sense to you as you finish up -- we'll sort you out in the finer details once the broad strokes of what you'd like to play are filled-in.
No, I'm "Toruun". And I'm holding off actually creating my character until I know what the rest of the party is like.

(I figure people with less D&D experience should get their choices, and the guy with thirty years' playing experience and seven paid TTRPG writing credits can slot in a character wherever's appropriate.)

13
Wittenberg / Re: D&D
« on: September 19, 2020, 04:52:17 PM »
It recently came up in the immigration board that there are some folks interested in playing D&D.  I'd be happy to DM a one-shot in 5th edition just to start, using Foundry VTT.  It's okay if you're new, since I have a lot of experience with newbies and 5e is really remarkably easy to play.  Please post here if you'd be interested.  Play hours would be something like 8-11 pm EST on some weeknight or another, depending on scheduling.

Count me in.

14
Wittenberg / Re: Calling Council of Governors
« on: September 14, 2020, 08:21:17 PM »
Istefan Perþonest, Maestro of Benito.

15
Benito / Re: Assembly of Benito Seats Distribution, 55th Cosa
« on: September 06, 2020, 01:37:46 PM »
According to the Benitian constitution, I cannot serve as Maestro and Sebator simultaneously.
Oh, yeah, forgot that, sorry.  I should go read the Constitution again . . .

Hmm.  "The first order of business of each newly assembled Assembly will be to elect a new Maestro from among its members."  That means the Maestro has to be a member of the Assembly.

Well. I'll accept a seat and the Maestroship, if you want to do it that way, Eiric.  Otherwise, we can, er, wait for someone else to volunteer?

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