I’m glad you asked. My name is Chuck Charles, the most famous reporter in the entire Federation of Legopolis. Recently LC1 asked me to write a column regarding my views on politics, the economy, and anything else I find interesting. Don’t worry about censorship, the government’s goons can’t seem to find out about the existence of this column.
Here you can find every single article I’ve written for The Morning Report.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil…
During my extended leave of absence, I had the opportunity to explore many parts of the minifig world. One set of adventures brought me to the PBR, an island nation desperately trying to convince themselves that the nice folks over on Cobra Island really have no more interest in the PBR as a whole. Sure, maybe they made a couple mistakes in the past (if you consider kidnapping the head of state and waging a violent war to be a “mistake”), but I’m sure they’re just a bunch of nice guys now. No doubt they’ll be holding some sort of meet-and-greet (the chef’s a bit crazy, but he makes some mean ribs) once they get their island all tidied up.
Now, before you start looking for your invite, let me remind you of something; Cobra is a terrorist group. Hello, anyone hear me, a terrorist group. Do you really think giving them a little island will make them leave you alone? If so, perhaps we ought to have your drinking water checked for some sort of brain-disorientation toxins (more commonly known as alcohol).
This piece isn’t the ramblings of some journalist thousands of miles from the action. I learned about this while in the PBR. Most of the figs I spoke with are just happy that their lives are finally getting back together. Honestly, I don’t think they care too much about Cobra as long as Cobra stays out of the PBR.
Their reaction is understandable. Following a bloody and destructive war, it’s fine to be delusional and pretend your non-vanquished enemies suddenly decided to become boy scouts (they always take first prize at the shooting competition). I mean, armed terrorists who insist on carrying their blue uniforms and weapons and armor all onto their little island and immediately proceed to build a fort are really just looking for ways to help their community. Besides, if any problems come up, I’m sure we could engage them in dialogue.
But this article isn’t about insulting the minifigs of the PBR. Rather, it’s about investigating the connection that Cobra still has with the PBR. And I don’t mean emotional, spiritual, or diplomatic connections. No, I’m referring to underworld and espionage-based connections.
Traveling through the PBR, you’ll notice some strange things. Arbco security, which now secures the very peaceful and crime free island of Sierra Muerte is very, well, strange. Very plain, blue uniforms, similar to what Cobra wears, and quite rude and aggressive, just like Cobra again. But this is just the beginning of the similarities. Cobra. Arbco. Same letters. Different spelling. Coincidence? I think not.
When I asked one of my friends (who shall remain nameless for his sake) what the story with Arbco was, he got very silent. He admitted that he, like many others, had some suspicions about Arbco, but they are never able to get very far. “Governor General Broca [same letters as Cobra and Arbco] brought them in here to protect us. Make no mistake, most of us are grateful and there doesn’t seem to be any trouble as long as you leave them alone.” As long as you leave them alone. See, that’s when you know you have a good government; when there’s never any trouble for the figs who obediently stay in line and keep quiet.
Not even the PBR government is willing to address this issue. You’d think when I call saying “Hello, what can you tell me about the relationship between your nation’s main security company and a terrorist group,” I’d get more than just a busy signal. Really guys, get your act together. Quit trying to disillusion yourselves into thinking Cobra is some sort of charity (maybe I should stop using the word “charity” before Cobra decides to follow in Deeds’ footsteps and open some sort of summer camp, because if we know one thing for sure, it’s that nothing bad ever happens from having terrorists run around with children).
Now, I’m not trying to say the PBR government is bad and corrupt. Sure, they have their faults, but I’d say, after the Lego Republic they probably have the most democratic government out there. And I know many hard working figs in the PBR are constantly striving to further eradicate corruption and tyranny within the system. I’m just trying to say that these good figs need to open their eyes to what is happening. Quit calling every bad thing an “accident” and calling every relation to Cobra a “coincidence.” Do you have any idea what’s in the containers Arbco ships around the PBR? Or have you just decided to take General Broca’s word that the containers are fine and don’t need to be examined so please go away before I shoot you because there is nothing in them that you need to see? If you answered yes to either of these questions, maybe you should poke around a little more and find out why Broca is so scared of the figs in the PBR whom he works to serve.
If nothing else, I hope that the PBR will at least remember that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good figs do nothing.
Legoland: Take 2
Rebranding is often a tool used when people are in trouble. After some very disturbing ties between Citrus Fruits LLC and the mafia, they quickly became Universal Fruits and (most of us) forgot about their past. Not only did it work for the consumer, it also really helped in the trial phase, too. I mean, sure the slimy mobster could be a crook, but not these respectable businessmen. I’m sure the fact that these respectable businessmen kept forgetting large sums of money at the judge’s house had absolutely nothing to do with the trial being dismissed at all.
Clearly, the Legoland regime has an image problem. Can you imagine any other place where the head of state is busy looking at carpet samples while his military goes rogue and decides to overrun a democratically elected parliament. “No, not red. Hmm. Could I see the light blue again?” No doubt figs found his calming presence reassuring at a time when the military was ruling with an iron fist to destroy and signs of freedom or self-determination. And let’s not forget the military junta’s lackey, international war criminal Fred Deeds who is holding the remains of a victim’s leg one minute and eating ice cream with kids the next. Now, I’m not sure if this is an image problem or some serious mental disorder, but I suspect it’s both.
Now, don’t just take my word for it. Even Emperor David said Legoland has an “image problem.” Although I’m fairly certain he’s referring to some bad photos he took, I think he subconsciously was also referring to the chaos he allowed his nation to fall into while comparing appliances for his new house (well, this one has a better energy star rating, but that brand is more reliable). Sigh, the burdens leaders have to bear.
So how does Legoland take care of this issue? Well, first, they announced that they would release the (surviving) members of parliament from military prisons. Of course, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not they actually will be released. I mean, these are the same fun loving people who arrest the “dangerous criminal” Jesus for preaching violent and resistive messages such as “love thy neighbor.” The nerve of some minifigs. Obviously, simply announcing that they would be nice to the democratically elected figs isn’t enough to appease everyone. No, they went a step further and decided to tone down their threats. Yes, that’s right. We’ll be less obnoxious than usual. Now if THAT doesn’t make the world love Legoland, I don’t know what will. Who could be upset with a tyrannical dictatorship as long as said dictatorship is being quiet while they exterminate dissidents?
And of course, let’s not forget about the Emperor’s recent reforms. That’s right, let’s take 10 ineffective agencies and consolidate them into 4 ineffective agencies! Government efficiency! And while he’s at it, he is rebranding them with more authentic names such as “Ministry of War” and “Ministry of Truth/Information/Propaganda/just believe whatever we tell you or you’ll find yourself in prison.” In his own words, Emperor David said these reforms will make it easier to “hoodwink” figs and the international community while making it seem more normal. I couldn’t agree more. When the guy in the tank introduces himself as being from the Ministry of Peace, figs tend to get a little nervous, but when the same guy says he from the Ministry of War, why, then it seems perfectly normal for him to be playing whack-a-mole with his tank and minifigs. Nothing to see here folks, we’re here to wage war and we’re proud of it. Maybe that could be their motto, “Waging War and Proud of it.”
Now, I’m just a reporter, not some branding consultant, but I for one think these reforms will be very well received. Some folks think that minifigs really want freedom and rights, but the good fellows down in Legoland know that all their figs really need is a change of the scenery. Besides, in the famous last words of countless figs “what could possibly go wrong?”
We Value Your Opinion
Who doesn’t like suggestion boxes? You find them at restaurants, shopping malls, theaters, even Lower Metropolitan Area station recently put one up. Spend a couple minutes checking boxes, writing down your thoughts, and then, voila! you’ve just made a difference! Right?
Once I suggested that a local store clean the sidewalk in front of it. Several weeks later, the sidewalk is missing the paper and cups and leaves which used to be permanent residents. Then again, I’ve also suggested that Citidel Financial modify their corrupt system in which executives were getting golden parachutes (plus the porters to carry them) while the rank and file were left with little more than a thank you note for their years of loyal service.
Why does it seem to me like the Federation has recently done the exact same thing? Free elections! Yippy! Just what we the people have always wanted. Now I can actually elect a representative for my precinct to attend meetings and represent me, not on national issues nor even serious local issues, but on minute details of city life. For example, the most recent agenda included the very pressing issues of “Timing of Traffic Signals at Commerce Ave. and Harbor St.,” “Performance Review on the Department of Parks and Recreation,” and, arguably the most important, “ Suburbia Winter Carnival Themes.” See, don’t worry voters, we’ve heard you. Now we know what you really wanted was “Winter Wonderland” and not “Frozen Fun.”
I can almost imagine the governors of Legopolis’ meeting. Probably sat in their plush executive chairs cracking up at the very thought of minifigs suddenly becoming content because now they have a say in how many new daffodils will be planted along the Main Street median come spring. Well, I have a message for you… look out Big Brother. Maybe you can’t hear the crowds as you sit hidden behind the bullet proof glass of Government Building, but those of us on the street sure can and let me tell you, we’re tired of wasting time on trivial matters. And unless you want full scale riots on your hands, you’d better make sure the next box I check is under the heading of “President of Legopolis.”
Capital in the Capitol:
How Mega-Corps Destroyed our Free Market
Walk anywhere in Legopolis, and I guarantee you’ll see PCI and Universal. Don’t believe me? Think I’m crazy? Perhaps you’ll see some Universal shipping containers near the port. PCI? The manufacturing giant? You might find their offices in the downtown, but nothing else, right?
Trivia fact, PCI doesn’t just have manufacturing. PCI is the corporation that Citidel Financial, All-Mart, Metropolitan Communication Corporation, Rex Realtors, and Trans Global Airways are all owned by. Yep, stop in an All-Mart to buy the latest MCC gadget for the home you bought from Rex Realtors that’s financed through Citidel Financial? Well, you’re not dealing with 4 companies, you’re dealing with one behemoth. Want to discuss Universal? Well, they’re a bit easier, their names almost always have “Universal” in them. Universal Exports, Universal Fruit, Universal Foods, and United Insurance Company are all Universal companies.
Perhaps some of the older figs can remember the good old days when you had options. All-Mart or Empire Market? Did you visit Green Grocers, Farmers Market, or Smiths to get groceries?
Not today. Now, you have one, maybe two options. Why? Mega-corporations have become so large that they don’t allow for competitors to enter the market. Apologists for these companies point to River Styx Savings and Loan and Barney and Benz as examples of companies that defied mega-corps and have become successes in their own right. These companies may be around, but they’re hardly a shining image of the free market. River Styx is only around today because their founder was able to (using ethically and legally questionable methods) gather enough money to build their own 4 story headquarters. Even then, they rent out 50% of the building’s space just to get enough money to stay out of the red. They’re not making enough to expand, and the only reason they don’t fly the PCI banner is because the founder of Styx has turned down incredibly generous buy-out offers by PCI (over 5 times Styx’s value). When this attack failed, police “regulators” began “investigating” Styx’s books after an anonymous informant-read PCI/Citidel-brought some concerning bookkeeping to the attention of the authorities. This is coming from the company whose former VP of Finance and Accounting stated “I don’t think there’s a fig alive who could tell you how much capital we have unless they entered our vaults and counted it by hand…with all the money transfers between departments, I don’t even see why we bother keeping records.”
Similar deal with Barney & Benz. Benz inherited some land from his father, gathered some money by selling part of it, and spent the rest building his company. Being stubborn as a mule has saved him from being bought out, however it has made it impossible for him to get enough investments to continue expanding. That’s mostly because Citidel and United Insurance downgraded Barney & Benz. Annual profit growth: 28%; debt: $0; bond status: junk.
This is where Part 1 ends. Please come back next week for Part 2.
IS IT THE PBR OR PBR?
The Lego world was shocked when it woke several days ago to the news that the PBR was engaged in a civil war. Most thought that Deeds was firmly in control of his nation and that his security forces would quickly and quietly silence any dissent from the recent elections. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Instead of marching in victory parades, loyalist soldiers are currently battling Free Brikpublic Army (FBA) units in the northern part of the island nation. Deeds, once poised to become the undisputed ruler, now lives in fear for his reign and life as nation after nation, the Federation included, throws their hat into the FBA ring. Deeds is slowly learning the danger of despotic regimes built on the volatile backs of the oppressed. He will eventually be overthrown and a new government will be sworn in.
Unfortunately the situation is not that simple. While there is no doubt that Deeds is undesirable, is the FBA really that much better? Their support lies with the former strongman, President Brik. This is not because he is a competent ruler or because he has the popular support of the masses. No, it is because he will reward them if returned to power. This whole situation has become one big political game, with two dictators vying for power, unconcerned for the innocent figs that will be trampled under the foot of their military machines.
Of course, some nations have begun making wagers as if they were at Royal Downs where the losers are thoroughbreds, not civilians. Instead of doing what’s best for the figs of the PBR, they do what’s best for their greedy selves. It’s time for this to change.
Minifigs of the world, pressure your leaders. Force them to cease hostilities. Convince them through your untied voices to send humanitarian aid and secure the liberties of civilian figs. If Deeds and the FBA wish to fight, fine. Let them do so on their own time away from civilians. But don’t allow your nation to support either of them until one of them decides it’s time for democracy to stand tall in the PBR. Only then, only if you do all this can the PRB cease to be the President’s Brikpublic and truly become the People’s Brikpublic.
HOIST THE COLORS!
I’d like to open today’s article with some thanks for my many fans out there, in particular Acting President Deeds of the People’s Brikpublic. Apparently, they have added me to a list of VIPs deserving of special attention from the PBR and, Deeds’ office publicly stated that “we will take care of him [referring to yours truly].” This just goes to further show how much they value free speech and what an influence I’m having on them.
Deeds isn’t the only one showing his true colors. Here at home the police have released pictures of figs they claim are “armed and dangerous protest organizers.” On local radio, politicians have criticized the protesters for being “violent, disruptive of local traffic, and setting a negative example for the youth.” Seems to me that these politicians are getting our protest confused with the underfunded, mismanaged gang haven that is Project Feelgood. But hey, why should details like fact checking burden these obnoxious wastes of ABS as they try to calm a rebellious nation?
Just to drive their point home, the city has requested assistance from the military in preventing the spreading of ideas. Ideas, like light, can be painful for people who live in darkness. When the light becomes too bright, they will do anything to dim it. If this means the censorship and closure of popular media (try logging into Facebrick or STUDder recently?) they’ll do it. If it means they must arrest and threaten figs who aren’t even adults, they’ll do it. And now, if it means calling upon the military and potentially deadly force, they’ll obviously do it.
To the city, thank you for showing your true colors. You’ve shown us that you refuse to find common ground, to engage in democratic talks. To the protesters who continue to pressure the government, thank you for showing your true colors. Remain resolute and defiant. It’s time for this government to see that their foundation is moving against them so that the whole house may come tumbling down.
“FOR ASSISTANCE WITH DEMOCRACY, PLEASE STAND BY”
Tensions continue to rise in the minifig world. Much to the disapproval of Caprican scientists, Acting President Deeds of the PBR launched the PBR Vanguard, the nation’s first rocket, into orbit. Legoland has completed construction on a nuclear power facility to power the nation’s grid. Caprica continues the investigation into an explosion on a royal yacht as they warn that the Legoland nuclear plant is capable of producing “dirty bombs” that can “render cities uninhabitable for decades.”
And the Federation of Legopolis? Nothing. Foreign powers continue their word games, insulting each other’s leaders, policies, and cultures, without actually taking any action. Still, the Federation is spared.
I must give credit where credit is due. The Federation has played its corrupt hand well. It has maintained friendly relationships with all nations, allowing it to go about its daily business; slaughtering minifigs and eliminating rights. The PBR denounces Legoland’s calls for Bob the King to be named ruler, opting for sovereignty and democracy. The Capricans continue to decry the invasion of Paradistan by Legoland. Even Legoland gets in on the fun, torturing ambassadors and building nuclear bomb facilities (or peaceful power plants depending on who you believe) as they threaten the Capricans.
One would think that nations with democratic ideals would be standing up in defense of the democracy movements in Legopolis, yet none have. As they take to the polls, the PBR remains silent. Not even the extreme Legoland political parties will demand free elections in the Federation. Capricans, who get to sleep in safe, warm beds, simply change the channel when news about rights violations from the Federation come forth.
To these nations, to these people, I ask for one thing. Give us a voice we’ve been denied. Let us be heard that we might know where our friends are. Start ignoring the cheap smile plastered on Chief Dover’s face and let us see change that coming generations might truly live in a nation where freedom rings!
The Roast of Imperia
As heavy artillery rains down on helpless, innocent minifigs, unable to flee a city surrounded by Federation soldiers on a ruthless campaign to eliminate all who oppose Federation policy in any form, are slaughtered. The Federation has not released any information regarding casualties from Imperia, and resistance fighters are unable to provide current, reliable numbers. In March, when the government ordered the siege of Imperia, they didn’t bother to stop and think about the innocent minifigs, men, women, and children, who, simply by chance, called Imperia home. As a result, resistance figs have been slaughtered alongside civilians as they attempted to bring basic necessities; food, water, medicine, denied to them by the Federation.
More recently, the Federation has sent heavily armed infantry into Imperia to crush all who resist. Once again, they are showing no regard for the innocent minifigs who have avoided the slaughter up until now, instead hearing all of them into the center of the city, where artillery continues to rain down.
How can the Federation be considered a modern nation which respects the rights of minifigs everywhere when it shows this little regard for minifigs it subjugated years ago in order to improve their lives while securing the dominion of Legopolis? The Federation claims to have justice, but what is just about denying a fig democracy and blowing up his entire city? Until minifigs of the Federation are willing to stand up and force the government to address these abuses, the Federation will be as unjust as ever it was.