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Old Ironsides

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Old Ironsides last won the day on November 26

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  1. Old Ironsides

    PRC Rocked by Economic Troubles, Party Squabbles

    Li Declares Martial Law, Arrests Begin Following the spread of protests across China and internal party squabbles, Premier Li Peng has declared a state of martial law in major urban centers across China and begun the process of confronting protesters with military force. According to reports on the ground, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Zhao Ziyang and former Premier Bao Tong have been taken into custody by the People’s Liberation Army, with Li publicly accusing them of supporting the protests and dismissing their legitimacy. Jiang Zemin, a close ally of Deng Xiaoping, has assumed emergency control over the party and is presently acting as Chairman. Additionally, former politburo member Hu Yaobang has been taken into custody, with statements from the Chinese government continuing to blame him for the recent economic downturn. This comes only days after Hu’s removal from the Politburo and a year after his removal from the upper echelons of the Communist Party. While the PRC has made no official statement on the matter, former Communist Party Chairman and Premier Hua Guofeng has not been seen in public since his initial appearance at the protests at Tiananmen, leading to wide speculation that he has also been taken into custody. Protesters in Beijing have added calls for the release of the four politicians to their chants at Tiananmen. Internal leaks from the Communist Party of China have reported that, even with Zhao’s assumption of power, calls for the removal of Deng Xiaoping from his various political and party posts have intensified, most notably from Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Qiao Shi, as well as other Politburo members such as Hu Qili and Chairman of the United Front Work Department Yan Mingfu. This has proven to be a risky move, as Li’s declaration of martial law has only intensified Deng’s power as Chairman of the Central Military Commission. Additional leaks have reported that Deng Xiaoping has personally intervened in this process, directing General Zhang Aiping, the Defense Minister, to organize a crackdown on the protesters. So far, sources indicate, Zhang and his immediate deputy Qin Jiwei, who are both members of the politburo, have rejected Deng’s commands both due to not having received the orders from Zhao Ziyang before his arrest and a belief that the People’s Liberation Army should not be used to disperse protests. Of the military forces presently in Beijing, only the 38th Army Group has officially mobilized. Protesters Coalesce Around Both Communist and Democratic Reformers In recent weeks, protesters in Tiananmen and across China have taken to naming explicit replacements for Deng. The most popular of those figures, if signs and chants can be taken as an indicator, include the recently arrested Zhao Ziyang and Hu Yaobang. Others have embraced figures that have built careers out of their opposition to PRC dominance, namely Wei Jingsheng, the leader of the failed Democracy Wall movement who has been incarcerated by the PRC since 1978, and expelled CPC member and author Wang Ruowang. People’s Liberation Army Masses at Tiananmen, Potala Palace Shelled Under Li Peng’s directive, the 38th Group Army of the People’s Liberation Army has been dispatched to Tiananmen to disperse the protesters. At present, individuals on the ground have reported that the 38th Group Army has ordered the square cleared, but has not as of yet taken violent action against the assembly. According to insiders, this is like more hesitancy on the part of the 38th Group Army and its commanders rather than Li Peng, as the 38th Group Army is largely recruited from the Beijing area and has responsibility for training the reserve army, which many Beijing locals are a part of. This hesitancy has been less noticeable in other areas of China, particularly in the city of Lhasa. Protesters have occupied Potala Palace since the outbreak of demonstrations, and earlier this week the People’s Liberation Army shelled the former home of the Dalai Lama and reclaimed the six-hundred-year-old structure by force of arms. So far, there have been no reports of fatalities or casualties, but analysts predict casualties in the low hundreds and a handful of fatalities. Reagan Issues Sanctions, European and Asian Allies Follow Suit Following the shelling of the Potala Palace and the declaration of martial law, U.S. President Ronald Reagan has issued sanctions against the People’s Republic of China, freezing assets in U.S. banks as well as restricting trade. Taking this lead, European leaders ranging from Helmut Kohl to Margaret Thatcher have issued similar policies, and were quickly joined by Japan, South Korea, and India. Even Mikhail Gorbachev has condemned the actions taken by the PRC, urging them to accept the demand for more openness and economic reforms. While refusing to break trade relations with the PRC, Gorbachev has announced his intention to visit Beijing at the soonest possible opportunity to meet with Deng Xiaoping and other senior Chinese leaders in the hopes of finding a reasonable solution to the crisis. Deng, for his part, has agreed to allow Gorbachev to visit but has refused Gorbachev’s request to speak directly to the protesters assembled at Tiananmen.
  2. Old Ironsides

    PRC Rocked by Economic Troubles, Party Squabbles

    China’s Protests Escalate, Deng Continues to Purge Party and State Leadership Beijing - In what can only be interpreted as a direct challenge to the power of Deng Xiaoping, former Chinese Premier Hua Guofeng has reportedly joined protests occurring in Beijing. Hua, who was ousted by Deng and his ‘eight elders’ in 1981, has generally avoided political involvement despite retaining a handful of honorific titles. While not popular with the masses or the internal party apparatus, Hua’s presence has emboldened the protesters who are now actively calling for Deng Xiaoping’s removal. The protests have also spread out from their epicenters in Beijing, Cheng Du, and Shanghai to include Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, and Lhasa. Protesters in Beijing have peacefully occupied the square connecting the Tiananmen to the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, while more aggressive protesters in Shanghai and Lhasa have occupied major landmarks, the People’s Park and Potala Palace respectively. Internally, additional leaks within the party have reported the voluntary resignation of Chen Yun from his position as Chairman of the Central Advisory Commission. Chen, widely considered the second most powerful of the Eight Elders after Deng, but also one of the strongest opponents of Deng’s reform efforts. Experts have been confused by some of Deng’s internal moves, as he appears to be striking against some potential opponents as well as those who have risen to prominence on the strength of his economic reforms. The two most notable casualties on this second front have been PRC President Li Xiannian and former General Secretary of the Communist Party Hu Yaobang. Hu, whose public resignation in 1987 was justified on the grounds that he had largely been responsible for some of the earlier attempts at liberalization, was reduced to holding a seat in the Politburo. According to reports, he has now been stripped of this honorific as well. Li Xiannian’s resignation was more predictable, as the aging President has reportedly been on the way out since late last year as part of Deng Xiaoping’s efforts to reduce lifetime office-holding. Li, whose rise to power came as one of the few figures in Communist China who was able to count Mao Zedong, Hua Guofeng, and Deng Xiaoping as close allies, is considered one of the primary architects and theorists of Deng’s economic reforms, and analysts doubt that his resignation as President will actually remove him from the centers of power that he has occupied for over thirty years. The new PRC President, Yang Shangkun, is an eighty-one-year-old politician with a long history in the People’s Republic China. Purged and rehabilitated multiple times, Yang is considered one of the more consistent critics of Mao’s legacy and a close ally of Deng. Whether this new appointment will shore up or undermine Deng during this crisis remains to be seen, but experts on the Chinese system have described Yang as low energy and lacking the will or vision to push an agenda unique from the party establishment. Finally, leaks from within the Communist leadership have reported growing tension between Premier Li Peng and Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang over the appropriate response to the growing protests. According to reports, Li is advocating for a hard line stance against the protests while Zhao is generally more supportive of a PRC that is more permissive of protests. Li, largely viewed as a cat’s paw for Deng and the ‘Eight Elders,’ has been involved in a series of semi-public spats with Zhao over the direction of the PRC for several years running, and there is an expectation that these protests could bring the matter to a head.
  3. Old Ironsides

    Associated Press Newswire

    AP Non-Breaking News: Redskins Set Record at Superbowl XXII. After a blistering first quarter where the Denver Broncos led by John Elway scored ten points over the Washington Redskins, the Redskins turned the game around in the second quarter by scoring a record thirty-five points, while the Broncos were unable to score any more points of their own. The final score was 42-10 in favor of the Redskins. This was the second consecutive appearance of the Broncos at the Superbowl, following last year’s loss to the New York Giants. This Superbowl followed a labor dispute between players and owners, resulting in a shortened season and the extensive use of replacement players. The replacement players, widely reviled by fans and competitors alike, played what were considered some of the worst games of the season and resulted in a slump in NFL attendance, with audiences returning with the close of the strike in week seven. Moving forward, it is unclear whether the owners will face another player strike in the 1988 season.
  4. Beijing – Following what appears to be a recession brought on by the Black Monday stock market crash, PRC Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping has reportedly found himself in an increasingly tenuous position within the Communist Party. Deng, who holds only a few small offices within the People’s Republic, has exercised near complete control over the country due to his internal influence and commitment to reforming China’s economics, a reputation that now appears to be undermining his authority. According to leaks within the Communist Party, Deng has been secluded in his residence with the seven other ‘Eight Elders,’ elder statesmen within the Communist Party of China who have exercised almost unquestioned control over the country since they deposed Hua Guofeng in 1978. Three of the ‘elders,’ Chairman of the National People’s Congress Pang Zhen, Central Advisory Committee Vice Chairmen Bo Yibo and Wang Zhen have reportedly been internally ousted by Deng, who the leaks also see at risk. Wang Zhen, who was seen as the individual most likely to become the next Vice President of the PRC, has been marked as the most surprising removal. The ousters come amid growing economic confusion and a string of spontaneous protests that have rocked Beijing, Cheng Du, Shanghai and various other cities across the country. Many of these protests have called for a rollback on Deng’s market reforms as well as a more visible political hierarchy, advocating for more power to be vested in the hands of public-facing officials like Premier Li Ping.
  5. Old Ironsides

    International News

    Quarter 1 1988 Recap CALGARY GAMES CALLED A SUCCESS, US AND CANADA FAIL TO IMPRESS Calgary – The 1988 Winter Olympics have concluded in Calgary, closing an Olympiad that organizers had designed as a showcase for winter sports that would place the winter games on equal footing with their summer equivalent. The Calgary games saw more competing nations and individual athletes than any previous winter game, which the International Olympic Committee has hailed as a sign of things to come. As far as medal standings go, however, both the host nation of Canada and the United States of America failed to make a meaningful impact. Canada scored zero gold medals, replicating a long-standing tradition for Canadian under-performance whenever they host the games. The United States claimed two gold medals out of six total medals, coming in between West Germany and Italy. The real winner of the games ended up being the Soviet bloc, with the Soviet Union claiming eleven gold medals and East Germany nine, claiming fifty-nine total medals out of one-hundred-and-twenty-three available. The real story for many Americans, however, has been the sudden popularity of both the Jamaican bobsled team and British skier Eddie Edwards. The Jamaican bobsled team emerged from relative obscurity to have strong showings until a freak crash removed them from competition, while Edwards, known affectionately as ‘the Eagle,’ had the worst showing of any skier in Olympiad history despite a storied career as a professional ski stuntman. USS YORKTOWN RAMMED Ankara – According to reports coming out of both the Pentagon and the Kremlin, the USS Yorktown has been rammed by the Soviet frigate Bezzavetnyy. The Yorktown, which was conducting a military exercise in conjunction with the Republic of Turkey, entered Soviet waters along with the USS Caron. The Bezzavetnyy, significantly smaller than the Ticonderoga-class Yorktown, made contact with the American ship approximately ten miles off the Russian coast and forced the Yorktown into international waters. Assistant Secretary of Defense Dick Armitage, in a press briefing held following news of the event, stated that the entry into Soviet waters was intentional and designed as a test of freedom from navigation. When questioned further by reporters, Armitage admitted that the entry was not operationally necessary. The Reagan administration has condemned the Soviets for not recognizing freedom of navigation laws, while the Gorbachev administration returned fire on the grounds that they have an obligation to protect their territorial integrity. PRESIDENT OF TAIWAN DIES, KUOMINTANG LEADERSHIP IN QUESTION Taipei – Chiang Ching-kuo, President of the Republic of China and Chairman of the Kuomintang has reportedly died in the Presidential residence in Taipei of a sudden, acute hemorrhage. Chiang Ching-kuo, the youngest son of deceased Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek, has led Taiwan as president since 1978 and served as chairman of the Kuomintang since 1975. The new President of the Republic of China, Lee Teng-hui, was appointed Vice-President in 1984. While Lee Teng-hui’s presidency is currently undisputed, experts are expecting a struggle for leadership of the Kuomintang, where Lee’s popularity and effectiveness are in severe doubt. This has roots in Lee’s Taiwanese heritage and his belief that relations with the PRC need to be approached from new angles and moving away from the traditional Kuomintang claim to mainland China. The internal party election for the new chairman is currently scheduled for July. GORBACHEV REPORTEDLY RIDING HIGH AFTER A SERIES OF BOLD MOVES Moscow – Russian Premier Mikhail Gorbachev has been widely applauded by fellow members of Soviet leadership after what they have identified as a series of successes in addressing the growing international economic crisis. Whereas his Chinese equivalent has come under fire for failing to handle the blowout of the Black Monday crash, Gorbachev has credited his Perestroika program, first initiated in 1982, with allowing the Russian economy to quickly bounce back. This has also come on the heels of events at the periphery of the Soviet Union. The Ninth Company of the Soviet Army scored a major success over Mujahidin forces in Afghanistan, when twenty-nine paratroopers successfully held their ground against an estimated four hundred rebel fighters. This, coming in the middle of peace talks between the Soviet Union and the Mujahidin, has given the Soviets the advantage at the negotiating table. Similarly, the Nagorno-Karabakh referendum, widely expected to see the secession of the autonomous oblast from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic to Armenia, returned a surprise stay voted. Observers, internal and external, have credited this to Gorbachev’s jump in popularity. USMC COLONEL MISSING Beirut – The Department of Defense has confirmed that United States Marine Corps Colonel William Richard Higgins has gone missing on a highway just outside of Tyre. Higgins, who was assigned to Lebanon as part of a UN peacekeeping force, was travelling from Tyre when communication was lost. The Reagan Administration has announced that they believe Higgins was kidnapped and have demanded his safe return. So far, there has been no word from the captors and their identity is unknown.
  6. Old Ironsides

    VGS Game Discussion: Thoughts and Future

    I agree with essentially everything already expressed, and would second the idea that we need to pause the advance of deadlines and the like until we figure out the exact path forward.
  7. Old Ironsides

    Leave of Absence

    Starting at 1 PM tomorrow, I will be in seclusion until October 20th. I will then surface for a few days before a second LOA soon after. Love you all.
  8. Old Ironsides

    Department of Veterans Affairs Act

    Mr. Speaker, I request unanimous consent. I yield.
  9. Old Ironsides

    Vote: Speaker of the House Election

    Congressman Benjamin Welles (D-TX)
  10. Old Ironsides

    Motion to create the Select Ethics Committee

    Mr. Speaker, I do not believe we need to amend the rules, merely suspend them. I yield.
  11. Old Ironsides

    Motion to create the Select Ethics Committee

    Mr. Speaker, revise and extend. I would also propose that, should any recommendations not be accepted by a majority of the members, that both the Majority coalition and the Minority coalition be empowered, by a vote of their own members unanimously, to be allowed to issue Majority and Minority opinions. Furhermore, it should be codified in this motion that the SEC would not have the ability to levy punishments, per the constitutional powers of the Congress, and when wrong doing is found that is beyond the scope of Congress to handle through either reprimand or censure, that the committee be obligated to forward findings to the Department of Justice or other appropriate legal bodies. I yield.
  12. Old Ironsides

    Motion to create the Select Ethics Committee

    Mr. Speaker, I am worried about having a system where the ranking member has to sign off on a subpoena, as that brings us back to square one on the ability of one party to block the proceedings by simply refusing to sign off on a subpoena. Therefore, I propose that we grant them both the power to individually issue subpoenas, automatically voted on, where they are issued in the event of the committee not voting in the majority to reject them. I yield.
  13. Old Ironsides

    Motion to create the Select Ethics Committee

    Mr. Speaker, Having seen the comments in the media, I support the idea that this committee should have equal representation. However, in order to prevent either party from stonewalling, I suggest that we amend this motion to grant individual subpoena powers to the chair, unless a majority of the committee members vote to reject the subpoena. I yield.
  14. Old Ironsides

    Motion to create the Select Ethics Committee

    Mr. Speaker, I second the motion. I yield.
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