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Land of the Free

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Years of war have affected even the culture of a nation untouched by the ravages of war. While most countries ship their outdated military hardware to the Boneyard, the United States government had a craftier idea. Engineers removed the weapons, equipment, electronics, and most of the armour and auctioned hundreds of APCs, light tanks, and other war machines to private dealers and citizens. The money was sent back to the Allied Nations to use for defence. The vehicles, in the meantime, were refurbished for civilian use, and now serve as taxis, buses, campers, even as cars to pick up children from school. Though this may have once been a shocking sight, the rest of the world has tanks in the streets for entirely different reasons, so it is seen as fairly normal.
 
Years of war have affected even the culture of a nation untouched by the ravages of war. While most countries ship their outdated military hardware to the Boneyard, the United States government had a craftier idea. Engineers removed the weapons, equipment, electronics, and most of the armour and auctioned hundreds of APCs, light tanks, and other war machines to private dealers and citizens. The money was sent back to the Allied Nations to use for defence. The vehicles, in the meantime, were refurbished for civilian use, and now serve as taxis, buses, campers, even as cars to pick up children from school. Though this may have once been a shocking sight, the rest of the world has tanks in the streets for entirely different reasons, so it is seen as fairly normal.
   
As on the ground, it is in the air, and America is the world leader in Air Travel. Large jet planes quickly and comfortably ferry passengers around North America and the free world. Europe itself has no time to develop its own air industries, since production is needed for war and the skies are terribly unfriendly. Most nations are content to license out to American corporations like Pan Am and TWA. The Soviet Union is particularly embarrassed by this situation. With a proud fleet of passenger zeppelins, it looked to be the leader of air transportation, but now the Capitalists are flying circles with sleek, high tech planes, forcing the Communist block to make its own and even convert old bombers to the task
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As on the ground, it is in the air, and America is the world leader in Air Travel. Large jet planes quickly and comfortably ferry passengers around North America and the free world. Europe itself has no time to develop its own air industries, since production is needed for war and the skies are terribly unfriendly. Most nations are content to license out to American corporations like Pan Am and TWA. The Soviet Union is particularly embarrassed by this situation. With a proud fleet of passenger zeppelins, it looked to be the leader of air transportation, but now the Capitalists are flying circles with sleek, high tech planes.
   
 
== Sweat of a Man's Brow ==
 
== Sweat of a Man's Brow ==
The United States is the last great bastion of free Capitalism (ignoring the Syndicate block). Though wartime demands has made many vital industries more or less controlled by the government for sake of national security, other corporations both great and small thrive on the bountiful natural resources and strong work ethic of the land, making it an industrial power second only to the Soviet Union. However, unlike in Europe (where corporations are often protected and grow into megacorporations) and Japan (where Zaibatsus are de facto branches of the government), private interests are regulated closely by the government. Paradoxically, the United States, home of many corporations, is one of the least corporate nations in the free world.
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The United States is the last great bastion of free Capitalism (though Japan is sliding towards it). Though wartime demands has made many vital industries more or less controlled by the government for sake of national security, other corporations both great and small thrive on the bountiful natural resources and strong work ethic of the land, making it an industrial power second only to the Soviet Union. However, unlike in Europe (where corporations are often protected and grow into megacorporations) and Japan (where Zaibatsus are de facto branches of the government), private interests are regulated closely by the government. Paradoxically, the United States, home of many corporations, is one of the least corporate nations in the free world.
   
With the rest of the world being caught between the extremes of Communism and Objectivism, there is a great social pressure to change the culture of America to try and go to one of these extremes. Despite this, Americans, for this reason, are the most resistant to the invasive if well meaning intentions of Allied social engineers or Syndicate bankers. America sought to go about building a great society its own way, taking up populist economics that would ensure nobody was too poor nor that anyone was too rich, breaking down long standing divisions of race, religion, gender, and sexuality, while making sure that Corporations were never able to balloon into monopolistic sizes with initiatives meant to help protect small and medium businesses from the encroachment of colossal conglomerates while making absolutely certain that foreign companies learned to respect American workers. America is not above calling out Europe for simultaneously claiming to adhere to Social Democracy while turning a blind eye to a number of states where all forms of welfare, security, and democratic control over the government have been eroded by allowing protected megacorporations to wither the state into a skeleton.
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With the rest of the world being consumed by Communism or changing to Socialism, there is a great social pressure to change the culture of America to accommodate social programs. Despite this, Americans, for this reason, are the most resistant to the invasive if well meaning intentions of Allied social engineers. It is considered a god given right and privilege to make your own way, without a government handler. The Allied Nations, to keep a powerful ally on their side, has given several concessions to the United States. One of the more stubborn attempts of the Allied Nations to help the less fortunate is the introduction of the Allies' World Health. The Kennedy administration promised that the Federal Government had approved the measure; overjoyed, the Allies sent an official ignorant of American politics to oversee the procedure. The official was then greeted with the vast majority of states rejecting the measure, leaving only a few small, liberal states accepting. The official was quickly fired.
   
 
With all the competition, the Syndicate has one of the weakest grasps on any nation not under the protection of the Soviet Union. There are only two Sprawls in the nation despite the wealth, and one has to get by on honest tourism. However, the free market works for other countries too. European imports are an accepted; if one wants a classier, more dignified car, one can drive it, if he doesn't mind being called a sissy. Imports from Japan are another matter, since Japanese products are often superior to American ones. This is at odds with the anti-Japanese bias in the nation, and "Made in Japan" is pretty much a death sentence for a product. Instead, many Japanese corporations import almost completed products into their branches in Los Angeles, where they do the last step, often little more than adding a decal stating the product was made in the USA. Because of this, a few corporations have been driven out of business, adding fuel to the fire of anti-Japanese prejudice with the rallying cry "They took our jobs!"
 
With all the competition, the Syndicate has one of the weakest grasps on any nation not under the protection of the Soviet Union. There are only two Sprawls in the nation despite the wealth, and one has to get by on honest tourism. However, the free market works for other countries too. European imports are an accepted; if one wants a classier, more dignified car, one can drive it, if he doesn't mind being called a sissy. Imports from Japan are another matter, since Japanese products are often superior to American ones. This is at odds with the anti-Japanese bias in the nation, and "Made in Japan" is pretty much a death sentence for a product. Instead, many Japanese corporations import almost completed products into their branches in Los Angeles, where they do the last step, often little more than adding a decal stating the product was made in the USA. Because of this, a few corporations have been driven out of business, adding fuel to the fire of anti-Japanese prejudice with the rallying cry "They took our jobs!"
   
 
== Freedom of, and from, Religion ==
 
== Freedom of, and from, Religion ==
The concept of secular society is that a man's government and religion shall not intermix, and that he will be free to worship without feeling oppressed or stifled by another more powerful religious denomination. In America, Catholic and Jews eat at the same delis, as Muslim imams and Buddhist monks walk the same streets. Though relations between these differing faiths have not always been easy, they have, for the most part, been peaceable.
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The concept of secular society is that a man's government and religion shall not intermix, and that he will be free to worship without feeling opressed or stiffled by another more powerful religious denomination. In America, Catholic and Jews eat at the same delis, as Muslim imams and Buddhist monks walk the same streets. Though relations between these differing faiths have not always been easy, they have, for the most part, been peaceable.
   
The Allies, however, seem to have no need of religion. To the Allies, what matters is the physical, rather than the spiritual, and to many Americans their attempts to forcefully secularize America is an almost suffocating influence. Many smaller denominations, like Native American tribes and smaller Protestant churches, feel that the Allies patronize their beliefs, seeing them as ignorant fools instead of human beings. Larger denominations are wary of Allied influences in a person's private life as well. as Syndicate influences on Allied society have engendered a certain contempt for religion.
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The Allies, however, seem to have no need of religion. To the Allies, what matters is the physical, rather than the spiritual, and to many Americans their attempts to forcefully secularize America is an almost suffocating influence. Many smaller denominations, like Native American tribes and smaller Protestant churches, feel that the Allies patronize their beliefs, seeing them as ignorant fools instead of human beings. Larger denominations are wary of Allied influences in a person's private life as well. Allied social programs, while effective, strike them as mechanical and inhuman, treating a person in need as a number instead of a human being.
   
In America, however, a man can worship as long as he does not infringe on the rights of another. Catholics are free to keep from eating meat on Friday, and Jews still reinforce their covenant with God every time a boy is born. One religion, however, is almost universally frowned upon by the American public. Shinto, the religion of Japan, is viewed with distrust and anger, though no institutional polices have been put in place to restrict its worship. Still, many Japanese communities on the West Coast have had to become more insular in their beliefs in the face of such rabid anti-Japanese sentiment.
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In America, however, a man can worship as long as he does not infringe on the rights of another. Catholics are free to keep from eating meat on Friday, and Jews still reinforce their convenant with God every time a boy is born. One religion, however, is almost universally frowned upon by the American public. Shinto, the religion of Japan, is viewed with distrust and anger, though no institutional polices have been put in place to restrict its worship. Still, many Japanese communities on the West Coast have had to become more insular in their beliefs in the face of such rabid anti-Japanese sentiment.
   
 
There is also the very real threat of religious extremism in America's underbelly. Though most contemprary faiths abhore violence towards others, some fringe groups have no such qualms. Cults and small groups of extremists crop up advocating violence, death of non-believers, even the destruction of society as a whole. Though law enforcement is often quick to crack down on these groups, the protection of the First Amendment is something few want to destroy.
 
There is also the very real threat of religious extremism in America's underbelly. Though most contemprary faiths abhore violence towards others, some fringe groups have no such qualms. Cults and small groups of extremists crop up advocating violence, death of non-believers, even the destruction of society as a whole. Though law enforcement is often quick to crack down on these groups, the protection of the First Amendment is something few want to destroy.
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What many people don't know is that America is actually a strong coalition of many nations, held within one geographic border. Each state has its own constitution, three distinct branches of government, and even its own military in the form of its National Guard. From the streets of Philadelphia to the Colorado River, each state has its own methods of governance, its own means of providing for itself, and it's own distinct taxes to seperate its own treasury from that money sent to the Federal government. For example, education is seen as a matter best left to the states, with each state's schools under the wing of the state's decisions. What qualifies a person for teaching in California might not qualify them to teach in Texas, and if you get a teacher from Pennsylvania, you're probably going to hire them over a teacher from North Dakota.
 
What many people don't know is that America is actually a strong coalition of many nations, held within one geographic border. Each state has its own constitution, three distinct branches of government, and even its own military in the form of its National Guard. From the streets of Philadelphia to the Colorado River, each state has its own methods of governance, its own means of providing for itself, and it's own distinct taxes to seperate its own treasury from that money sent to the Federal government. For example, education is seen as a matter best left to the states, with each state's schools under the wing of the state's decisions. What qualifies a person for teaching in California might not qualify them to teach in Texas, and if you get a teacher from Pennsylvania, you're probably going to hire them over a teacher from North Dakota.
   
What this also means is that each state develops it's own cultures withing the greater whole of the nation. Texans firmly believe in a man's right to his own independence, while the Native American tribes living in Oklahoma still follow the tribal rites of their ancestors, as Maine fishermen continue to use the lessons they were taught as young boys to provide for their own livelihoods. From Pennsylvania's Amish communities to California's "hippie" communes, the great tapestry of America is a mismatched amalgamation of lives come together to create a better life for their own.
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What this also means is that each state develops it's own cultures withing the greater whole of the nation. Texans firmly believe in a man's right to his own independence, while the Native American tribes living in Oaklahoma still follow the tribal rites of their ancestors, as Maine fishermen continue to use the lessons they were taught as young boys to provide for their own livelihoods. From Pennsylvania's Amish communities to California's "hippie" communes, the great tapestry of America is a mismatched amalgamation of lives come together to create a better life for their own.
   
So when the Allies came in and started instituting their sweeping social and civil reforms, thousands were outraged, many the government leaders of a good many states. The Allies had completely bypassed the barriers between the state and national government, forcing on many state governments programs that their citizens either did not believe in, did not want, or had no idea about until they were instituted. Standardized education across the country, new units of measurements in consumer goods, and a complete reworking of industrial environmental standards that would force hundreds of smaller companies to close. No distinction was made between what was a state and what was a federal power, and the enforcement by the Peacekeeper divisions sent to ensure "order" made it hard for many state governments to raise a counter-argument.
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So when the Allies came in and started instituting their sweeping social and civil reforms, thousands were outraged, many the government leaders of a good many states. The Allies had completely bypassed the barriers between the state and national government, forcing on many state governments programs that their citizens either did not believe in, did not want, or had no idea about until they were instituted. Standardized education across the country, new units of measurments in consumer goods, and a complete reworking of industrial environmental standards that would force hundreds of smaller companies to close. No distinction was made between what was a state and what was a federal power, and the enforcement by the Peacekeeper divisions sent to ensure "order" made it hard for many state governments to raise a counter-argument.
   
 
Many see these actions as a forced homogenization, the shedding of one's personal identity to become a model Allied citizen, one who would follow the Allied dictates without question or complaint. With these actions, many that would have stayed on the sidelines of the Confederate-Allied conflict started joining as Militia members against Allied rule.
 
Many see these actions as a forced homogenization, the shedding of one's personal identity to become a model Allied citizen, one who would follow the Allied dictates without question or complaint. With these actions, many that would have stayed on the sidelines of the Confederate-Allied conflict started joining as Militia members against Allied rule.
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Los Angeles, considered by many to be the sickly, filth ridden sore on California, is now considered the Japanese, filth ridden sore on California. Sharing the dubious honour held by Washington DC and Detroit as being American cities held by a foreign power, Los Angeles was occupied by the Rising Sun for much of WWIII, with the Black Tortoise blockading the port and preventing relief from the sea. In the meantime, Los Angeles was built in the image of a Japanese city, and many Japanese immigrated to this new frontier. Gone were the old art deco stylings of the past. The goal of architects was to please the new masters of the city, and this meant sloped roofs and red, thin arches, surrounded by gardens in the Japanese style.
 
Los Angeles, considered by many to be the sickly, filth ridden sore on California, is now considered the Japanese, filth ridden sore on California. Sharing the dubious honour held by Washington DC and Detroit as being American cities held by a foreign power, Los Angeles was occupied by the Rising Sun for much of WWIII, with the Black Tortoise blockading the port and preventing relief from the sea. In the meantime, Los Angeles was built in the image of a Japanese city, and many Japanese immigrated to this new frontier. Gone were the old art deco stylings of the past. The goal of architects was to please the new masters of the city, and this meant sloped roofs and red, thin arches, surrounded by gardens in the Japanese style.
   
When the city was finally freed and the Black Tortoise steamed back to Japan many people, in Los Angeles and beyond, demanded that the city more or less be demolished and returned to a western architectual style. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and prevented this waste of money and resources, although this didn't stop a wave of vandals from attempting to destroy everything that looked vaguely Oriental. Though most Japanese left with the Black Tortoise, a few stayed, enjoying the temperate climate of California. These Japanese often staff the many branches of Japanese corporations that opened in the wake of increased trade between the Allies and Rising Sun.
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When the city was finally freed and the Black Tortoise steamed back to Japan to be dismantled, many people, in Los Angeles and beyond, demanded that the city more or less be demolished and returned to a western architectual style. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and prevented this waste of money and resources, although this didn't stop a wave of vandals from attempting to destroy everything that looked vaguely Oriental. Though most Japanese left with the Black Tortoise, a few stayed, enjoying the temperate climate of California. These Japanese often staff the many branches of Japanese corporations that opened in the wake of increased trade between the Allies and Rising Sun.
   
 
Unfortunately, these Japanese immigrants have a rough time of it, because everyone else hates the Japanese with a passion, which unfortunately transfers to racism against all Orientals, even those from other countries who fled the Rising Sun. The LAPD and Allied social workers do their best to deflate any racial tensions, but Los Angeles refuses to conform to this new peace. The thinking goes that Los Angeles was occupied and oppressed, but all Geneva cares about is more money and promoting the superiority of foreign cultures over the local ones. In this tense atmosphere, race riots are common. When a Japanese man was pulled over in Watts, and shot by police for unknown reasons, an anti-Japanese riot was sparked, and lasted for 6 days. 34 people, mostly Japanese, were killed. It only ended when Peacekeepers flew in from the north to assist the beleaguered LAPD, freezing and arresting hundreds with Cryocopters and ARVs.
 
Unfortunately, these Japanese immigrants have a rough time of it, because everyone else hates the Japanese with a passion, which unfortunately transfers to racism against all Orientals, even those from other countries who fled the Rising Sun. The LAPD and Allied social workers do their best to deflate any racial tensions, but Los Angeles refuses to conform to this new peace. The thinking goes that Los Angeles was occupied and oppressed, but all Geneva cares about is more money and promoting the superiority of foreign cultures over the local ones. In this tense atmosphere, race riots are common. When a Japanese man was pulled over in Watts, and shot by police for unknown reasons, an anti-Japanese riot was sparked, and lasted for 6 days. 34 people, mostly Japanese, were killed. It only ended when Peacekeepers flew in from the north to assist the beleaguered LAPD, freezing and arresting hundreds with Cryocopters and ARVs.
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Since it is technically the nation's only Federal city, DC was expected to fit easily into the Allied methods of city management and planning. What they got was a jumbled box of neighborhoods that are desperate for representation as all other states get. A common rallying cry in the city is, "Taxation Without Representation", since many in the city are often forced to struggle through their daily lives as Congress and the rest of the government slide by on pensions and the people's taxes. A growing "home rule" movement fights in the city, and has many ties with the Confederates due to the Allied actions resetting their efforts by years.
 
Since it is technically the nation's only Federal city, DC was expected to fit easily into the Allied methods of city management and planning. What they got was a jumbled box of neighborhoods that are desperate for representation as all other states get. A common rallying cry in the city is, "Taxation Without Representation", since many in the city are often forced to struggle through their daily lives as Congress and the rest of the government slide by on pensions and the people's taxes. A growing "home rule" movement fights in the city, and has many ties with the Confederates due to the Allied actions resetting their efforts by years.
   
The bureaucrats that run the city are also in a small battle with the Allies. Though by no means the most efficient in the world, America's Federal servants have found ways to ensure their methods keep the nation from falling into the same state as Boise on a massive scale. From the IRS to the DoD, Allied efforts to "streamline" and "regulate" have sent shockwaves through the halls of power. Already this has resulted in small but powerful acts of rebellion. Congress only controls the purse, the executive must enforce and head these agencies. And none of these agencies like the current executive. The IRS has already ensured that thousands of tax dollars are lost in the shuffle that was supposed to be paying for Allied programs or supporting European corporations. The DoJ is suddenly incredibly shoddy in the prosecution of Confederate sympathizers and agents. Transit's work on the highway system in Allied-controlled America is increasingly "struggling" with potholes and basic maintenance. Only the Department of the Interior is doing it's job, and even then as an affront to Allied ideals. The Allies would see Yellowstone turned into another plot of land to potentially develop, or worse create a lab on. Indian Affairs has been the hardest hit, since Allied efforts have effectively forced the most experienced agents out, leaving both the tribes and these men and women bitter against a now-common foe.
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The bureaucrats that run the city are also in a small battle with the Allies. Though by no means the most efficient in the world, America's Federal servants have found ways to ensure their methods keep the nation from falling into the same state as Boise on a massive scale. From the IRS to the DoD, Allied efforts to "streamline" and "regulate" have sent shockwaves through the halls of power. Already this has resulted in small but powerful acts of rebellion. Congress only controls the purse, the executive must enforce and head these agencies. And none of these agencies like the current executive. The IRS has already ensured that thousands of tax dollars are lost in the shuffle that was supposed to be paying for Allied programs. The DoJ is suddenly incredibly shoddy in the prosecution of Confederate sympathizers and agents. Transit's work on the highway system in Allied-controlled America is increasingly "struggling" with potholes and basic maintenance. Only the Department of the Interior is doing it's job, and even then as an affront to Allied ideals. The Allies would see Yellowstone turned into another plot of land to potentially develop, or worse create a lab on. Indian Affairs has been the hardest hit, since Allied efforts have effectively forced the most experienced agents out, leaving both the tribes and these men and women bitter against a now-common foe.
   
 
The DoD is in the most difficult position. In the military, you must respect the rank if you can't respect the person. Unfortunately it's hard to respect the rank when the person is widely considered a traitor. Only the military takes it's oath to the Constitution, not the president or any national body. It's why defections from the National Guard are suddenly commonplace. Why certain Reservist forces are suddenly, and rapidly, transferred anywhere ''but'' the United States. It won't be effective forever with the Peacekeepers becoming more and more involved, but the DoD heads have little else they can do until the conflict nears an end. For either side.
 
The DoD is in the most difficult position. In the military, you must respect the rank if you can't respect the person. Unfortunately it's hard to respect the rank when the person is widely considered a traitor. Only the military takes it's oath to the Constitution, not the president or any national body. It's why defections from the National Guard are suddenly commonplace. Why certain Reservist forces are suddenly, and rapidly, transferred anywhere ''but'' the United States. It won't be effective forever with the Peacekeepers becoming more and more involved, but the DoD heads have little else they can do until the conflict nears an end. For either side.
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