Friday, January 27, 2006

News Release: Knox County Endorsement

William Pierce was endorsed for the U. S. Senate by the Knox County Republican Central Committee on Thursday evening. Pierce received more than the required 66% of the total votes cast by the elected precinct committee men and women on the second ballot.

Incumbent Senator Mike DeWine failed to obtain another county endorsement, Pierce carried the majority in Clermont County being deemed as "Highly Qualified" at their meeting of just over one week ago.

The Pierce campaign team was exuberant, having won the only two County endorsement meetings to date. "Our Message is resonating with the heart of the Republican Party, the elected precinct committee men and women," Pierce commented, "these are the people who, year after year, turn out the Republican votes and win elections. I am very grateful to them for their support and confidence."

In other contested races, no candidate received the required 66%, so no endorsement was made. The Central committee will advise the Republican voters in Knox County of their decision and recommendations.

Roger Gillespie
Campaign Manager
Pierce for Senate Committee

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Call to Action

Shortly before the Christmas recess the Senate passed a 774 page budget bill, the contents of which are just now starting to surface. Once again the Senate has acted with good intentions, but has done so while taking liberties with the Constitution and at the expense of fiscal prudence.

The Senate approved a five year, $3.75 billion dollar initiative to provide $750 to $1300 grants to low income freshman and sophomores in college who have completed a “rigorous secondary program of study.” It will also afford larger amounts to juniors and seniors majoring in math, science, and other critical fields.

Trouble begins with the definition of “rigorous study.” It will require someone, or some organization, to identify the qualifiers of a rigorous study program, and then it will require a significant organization to evaluate the curriculum in the nation’s 18,000 high schools. Who would that person or organization be? The answer is obvious – Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and the federal bureaucrats in the Department of Education.

The clear result will be the establishment of a “national curriculum” - another Washington mandate, unfunded too, settled on States and local school boards across the nation by federal bureaucrats harboring not in the classroom but rather in the sterile offices far removed from the students they seek to guide.

The assault on the Constitution evolves around the Tenth Amendment which says:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Article 1 – Sections 8 through 10 clearly delineates the roles and responsibilities of a central government and the restrictions placed on the States. Education is never mentioned, meaning it is not the role of a central government, nor is the responsibility to educate denied to the States. Given that public education was not identified as a role of the federal government, it is “reserved to the States respectfully, or to the people” and we the people must lay claim to it or stand to be further divorced from a responsibility so critical to our children and future generations.

President Carter created the Department of Education in the late 1970’s because of the perception that public education was slipping. We have now had nearly thirty years of a federal agency attempting to redirect the path to quality education, but I do not believe it has changed any perceptions of public education at all. We must look to remove this federal bureaucracy from the equation, and return school operations and curriculum to the States and local school boards.

Another problem surfaces with the expenditure of $3.75 billion dollars at a time when our Nation is engaged in a War on Terrorism and faced with continued budget deficits year after year. Since the federal coffers do not have the funds to cover the $3.75 billion, the expenditure will simply be added to our mounting national debt which currently stands at $8.1 trillion. You and I will pay the interest on these borrowed funds, as will our children and the generations to follow.

Some day in the future some hapless generation of American taxpayers will be forced to finally pay the principal amount our Senate is so generous on committing today. But that time will come long after this 5 year initiative is over and forgotten.

The Senate’s initiative is aimed at supporting students majoring in math, science, and other critical fields to support the technical needs our Nation’s businesses require to remain competitive in our global economy. As a benefit to business, let the benefactors support the initiative through grants and scholarships rather than the overstretched federal budget.

To date, the well intended measure has only passed the approval of the Senate, and awaits review by the House when it returns. It is time “we the people …” have our voices heard, and that the message we send says that we do not support the continued federal interference with our local schools. Furthermore, we expect our elected representatives – public servants – to manage our Nation’s finances as we must manage our own, which means deficit spending must cease.

Abraham Lincoln said a prayer at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania that “this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.” I ask you to join me in calling on the House to reject the Senate’s initiative to further direct the precious responsibility to educate our children into the hands of federal bureaucrats far removed from the day to day operations of our schools, and to reject the commitment to additional deficit spending.

William G. Pierce, P.E.

Monday, January 23, 2006

On DeWine's Record of Spending

There was a Warren County Central Committee meeting in Lebanon last week that had nearly 100 in attendance. I had an opportunity to speak and the response was very, very favorable. Along with the introduction, I spoke of my positions regarding small business, education, and the national debt.

I told the group that I was troubled by recent campaign literature in which Senator DeWine stakes his bid for re-nomination on the monies he has brought to the State as it perpetuates the belief that our government has an endless supply of financial resources to be distributed among the populace. The premise is simply not true. It took six years for the national debt to grow from $5 to $6 trillion, two years to increase from $6 to $7 trillion, and only one year to surpass the threshold of $8 trillion.

A candidate running against an incumbent usually does not direct the voters to visit the opponent’s official government website, but I encouraged them to visit the “Press Release” section of Senator DeWine’s website because it shows more than 410 entries in the last 50 weeks which flaunt the grants flowing into our State from federal coffers. I ask that you do the same, and as you look through the listing, ask yourself if it represents the responsibilities our founding fathers envisioned of a central government. I think you will agree it does not.

I do agree with the Senator that the average of 8 new grants per week represents a very impressive number, but I ask that you consider who is paying this extravagant bill. Mike DeWine has not, and neither have any current taxpayers. The fact is that it has been “charged” to your account, your children’s account, and your children’s children’s account. For the foreseeable future, Americans will be making interest only payments while leaving the principal amount for some future generation to pay. At the meeting the other evening, I saw a lot on nodding heads in agreement - I think people are fed up with pork.

Today, interest payments on the national debt total more than $26 billion per month, and represent the third largest expenditure in the federal budget – soon to be number two. China owns $448 billion of this debt and its benefit in our economy is growing at an annual rate of more than 15% per year. That means American taxpayers are making interest only payments to the Communist government to the tune of $2.5 to $3 billion per month – and it is growing. Furthermore, future generations will continue to face this debt until Congress can control its spending habits, pass a balanced budget, and use surplus revenues to pay down the debt rather than continue the practice of buying votes at the expense of our national security.

The legacy we are leaving for future generations is a legacy of extravagance. It will be necessary, and possible, to explain to future generations that the War on Terrorism and Homeland Security required great financial resources. On the other hand, it will be quite difficult to explain to them that the debt burden they carry was created to build two “bridges to nowhere” in Alaska, to assist families in the purchase of digital converter boxes for better TV reception, to keep the price of milk constant, and the myriad of other items which fall under the category of wasteful spending. Congressional spending far removed from the Constitutional requirement of “common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.”

The culture of extravagant spending must cease; and simple, every day business practices of balancing expenses to revenues must become the norm. Businesses and our own personal family budgets require it and government should be no different. But it is not going to happen until “we the people …” demand it to happen, and that is only going to be accomplished when Americans let their voices be heard at the voting booth.

On the Wednesday before Christmas, the US Senate passed, after Vice-President Cheney’s tie-breaking vote, a $39.7 billion dollar budget reduction bill which must be viewed as a very small, albeit a very necessary, down payment in fiscal responsibility. The actual bill included a $30 billion in reduced spending and nearly $10 billion dollar in new revenues. Had it been a single year’s reduction it would have been far more noteworthy, but the budget reductions are spread over a five year period.

As impressive as that number may seem, it is insignificant when compared to the overall national federal budget of $2.5 trillion or $2,500 billion dollars. Suddenly $6 billion out of $2,500 billion is not quite such an accomplishment. In personal terms, which are always easier to wrap our minds around, the numbers become truly unimpressive. For a family with a $50,000 annual income, a budget reduction of $120 per year is an equivalent accomplishment. That is $10 per month – not much more than a movie ticket for one patron.

Senator Mike DeWine was one of five Republican Senators to vote against the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. His stated reasoning was “[t]his bill was, unfortunately, very detrimental to poor children with regard to health care.” He went on to cite cuts in funding for child support enforcement, foster care, and Medicaid health insurance for the poor.

In reality, the $30 billion reduction out of a projected $14.3 trillion (or $14,300 billion) in federal spending over the next five years amounts to less than one-half of one percent. And, it is only a one-half of one percent reduction in the current 5.4% rate of growth – not a cut from current spending levels.

It is for that reason I ask that you support my candidacy to the U.S. Senate. I would welcome the opportunity to join a threesome of new maverick Senators – Coburn (OK), DeMint (SC), and Ensign (NV) – all of whom are entrepreneurs and small business owners, and have push back against the “old guard” with the belief that our Nation’s business must be conducted differently for a prosperous and secure future. They have stopped “pork” from being added to Katrina relief funds, changed Senate rules to highlight “pork” buried in legislation, and have challenged the Senate leadership to end the culture of extravagant spending. My added voice and efforts would certainly energize the much needed change.

William G. Pierce

Thursday, January 19, 2006

On Clermont County

News Release:
The Clermont County Republican Central Committee met Wednesday night to consider their endorsement of candidates seeking nomination for public office in the May 2 primary.

The 125 elected precinct committee men and women require a minimum of 75 votes to receive their endorsement to the people who reside in the State's 7th most populated county. Any candidate receiving 56 or more votes received a "highly qualified" designation and recommendation.

Mr. William Pierce, challenger to current Ohio Senator Mike DeWine received the "highly qualified" designation, narrowly missing the coveted endorsement. Senator Mike DeWine DID NOT receive the endorsement, as some observers have predicted, further he did not receive enough votes to obtain the highly qualified designation. DeWine, in Clermont County Wednesday morning, sent a letter asking to receive the endorsement but stated he would not be available for the meeting due to other obligations.

The Pierce supporters were buoyed by the evening’s events, feeling this was just the start of getting subsequent endorsements. Pierce has spent the last five months traveling the State with a crowded agenda of meetings with key party members and Republican workers. His supporters feel his message is resonating with the mainstream party and community leaders and that he embodies the basic Republican principles that are cherished by the majority. "Boy, this is really big...the Bandwagon is beginning to roll" one of his supporters exclaimed upon hearing the news.

Pierce For Senate Committee
Roger Gillespie, Campaign Manager

Thursday, January 12, 2006

On the Alito Hearings

I marvel at the personal restraint and decorum I see in Congress as members on both sides of the aisle argue their convictions, which at times seem light years apart. As they discuss and debate the merits of legislation our elected officials address each other kindly with a good dose of respect; and very, very rarely engage in personal attacks.

Recently, key senators have shown they afford that respect only to their colleagues within the halls of the Senate and have adopted an “anything goes” policy towards other government officials. Few Americans could have escaped the barrage of media reports before the holidays wherein Democratic Senators leveled direct charges of lying against President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and the Secretaries of State Powell and Rice. Their claims, without documentation and proof, were that the Administration lied about WMD and the intelligence reports regarding the threat of Saddam Hussein.

Now they have turned their personal attacks on Judge Samuel Alito during the nomination hearings. The demagoguery of one particular senator stands far beyond all others. Senator Ted Kennedy’s viscous attacks in an attempt to paint Judge Alito as a bigot, unworthy of membership on the U.S. Supreme Court, is completely contrary to the position taken by the American Bar Association which identified him as highly qualified. Please keep in mind that his Democratic colleague, Senator Chuck Schumer, stated repeatedly during the Ginsburg and Breyer hearings that the ABA’s position is the “gold standard” of recommendations.

I listened in amazement when Senator Kennedy questioned Judge Alito as to whether he read (not wrote, but read) a specific article written in a newsletter 20 years earlier, and then raised the same question for four more subsequent newsletters. At that point, Senator Kennedy said Judge Alito’s answers did not “add up.” I view such a statement as a half a step short of saying the Judge lied during his hearings.

Senator Kennedy has held his legislative position since 1962 when he was sworn in with the same oath Judge Alito will take after confirmation process is complete. The oath Senator Kennedy has taken 7 times and Judge Alito has taken numerous times in his career requires them to uphold the U.S. Constitution and to defend the country against all enemies, foreign or domestic.

If Senator Kennedy feels Judge Alito’s history 20 to 30 years earlier, as a student at Princeton and an alumnus, is so critically important to suggest that the Judge is lying, then maybe the Senator should be asked why he was expelled from Harvard two times during his tenure as a student before he begins his next term in office. If the Senator feels every single detail of Judge Alito’s background is critical to his ability to carry out his obligations under the oath to defend the Constitution, then Senator Kennedy should be prepared to answer questions concerning a driving accident he had after a party in 1969 because his accounting of the incident did not “add up.” After all, why should we hold one “public servant” to a different standard than another?

Senator Kennedy must recognize that the decorum he affords his colleagues in the Senate must be extended to others in government. Disagreement may well be in order and is certainly a critical aspect of a democratic society, but his despicable practice of smearing a man (Bork, Thomas, and now Alito) with vile innuendoes is simply unwarranted, unprofessional, and contrary to ideals “we the people …” expect of our Senators.

Once before I have quoted the time honored words of Senator Margaret Chase Smith, and they are worthy of repeating once again:
“I am not proud of the way the Senate has been a publicity platform for irresponsible sensationalism … I want to see our Nation recapture the strength and unity it once had when we fought our enemies instead of ourselves.”
And to that I add, … Amen.

William G. Pierce

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Why Run?

Twice last week I was told by members of the Republican Party in two counties that representatives of the DeWine senatorial staff (one being State Director Barbara Schenck) had met with them to discuss my candidacy. Both were told that my challenge of Senator DeWine is merely a vendetta due to a labor and tax issue which affected my engineering consulting firm in the 1990’s.

Let me set the record straight – my candidacy has nothing to do with a vendetta. My candidacy has everything to do with providing Ohioans with the opportunity to elect an outspoken, pro-active conservative who will stand firm for the Republican ideals of limited government. My disagreement with Senator DeWine on a number of critical issues facing the Nation is no more a vendetta than the individual who plans to vote for a challenger because of opposing views on filibustering judicial nominees, the 2nd Amendment, and the votes cast recently on drilling in ANWR and reducing the budget.

Was the Senator’s non-reaction to my plea for help correcting a double standard the US Department of Labor created bothersome to me? As a member of the Senate Labor Committee with oversight responsibilities, of course it was and still is troubling. The matter involved the creation of flextime for public employees while prohibiting the same for private sector employees in spite of an acknowledged Congressional mandate and a Supreme Court ruling calling for parity under the FLSA. Businesses across the country are still vulnerable to an attack by the DoL for offering a flextime policy to their employees which mirrors the one government employees enjoy.

It is for that reason, among a great many of other examples I have seen and heard about, that I seek to be elected as the US Senator from Ohio so I can offer my constituents and small business the support and protection they need from the obstructions established by federal bureaucrats and their obtrusive behavior. Federal bureaucrats, like all Americans, are most interested in bettering their careers; BUT the public servants do not concern themselves with ramifications of their actions on a business and its employees 1500 miles away. I will engage my time and efforts on reviving the oversight role and responsibility of the Senate.

My campaign is also built upon my out-spoken beliefs in a number of other issues:
* Permanent tax reduction to continue stimulating growth, as well as simplification of the tax code;

* Elimination of pork, and developing a real reduction in federal spending;

* Unburdening small business by reducing the surge of stifling new rules and regulations promulgated by federal bureaucrats;

* Eliminating Washington’s micro-management of education and mandates which have failed over the last 30 years to reverse the tide of a declining public educational system;

* Encouraging real dialogue in Washington to solve the problems of illegal immigration, border security, and Social Security;

* Ensuring that the President’s judicial nominations receive their “day in court” without delay by filibusters, which result in vacant seats on the bench – justice not served is justice denied;

* Enacting tort reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits that benefit nobody except the lawyers; and

* Winning the War on Terror. While Ted Kennedy and John Kerry call for the abandonment of the Iraqi people, I will pro-actively and steadfastly support the President’s Plan for Victory and the protection of democracy around the world.
As our Nation is hampered by special interest groups and their longtime bond with career politicians, I seek this nomination in the spirit of the ideals established by our forefathers – that our country will be led by citizen legislators who have experienced the real world of business and the obtrusiveness of an unhindered and bloated government.

As I have traveled across Ohio and have met the Republican Party Chairs in each county, I have made the promise that I will not attack Mike DeWine the man, Mike DeWine the family man, nor will I challenge him on ethical, moral, of character values. I will stick strictly to the important issues facing our Nation, and the ones Ohioans want to hear discussed. I ask Senator DeWine to instruct his staff to do the same.

William G. Pierce

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

American Conservative Union on Pierce

Tim Holloway, writing for the American Conservative Union Foundation, had this to say about Bill Pierce:
Bill Pierce, teacher, engineer and entrepreneur has recently announced his candidacy to challenge DeWine for the Republican Senatorial primary in Ohio. Pierce is friendly and engaging and his passion for governmental reform and a return to governance as intended by our constitution resonates with his every word. Pierce’s experiences as a business owner and his run-in’s with the Department of Labor demonstrate how detrimental government interference in the free market can be to the small business owner. On the issues, Pierce is solidly conservative. Local conservative groups are asking for meetings with Pierce and are anxious to support him and there is also evidence that county level Republican leaders are realizing that it may be time to move on from Dewine and support a true conservative like Pierce.
Learn more about Bill Pierce's positions on a variety of topics on the Issues page of the campaign website and keep checking this blog for more commentary.

Right Angle Poll

Please vote for Bill Pierce in Right Angle blog's poll for Republican candidates for the US Senate. The poll can be found in the right sidebar here.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

On ANWR and Energy

It is time to put the rhetoric aside and talk seriously about Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) - the history, current debate, risks, needs, and the vision for a national energy policy. The Senate's recent filibuster of a Defense Appropriation Bill because oil exploration was added to the legislation brought the issue to the forefront once again. Senator Mike DeWine's vote (one of two Republican Senators) against cloture of the filibuster was instrumental in the rejection of the plan to open ANWR to oil exploration and drilling.

For a little bit of history, the Eisenhower Administration signed a Public Order establishing the 8.9 million acre Alaska National Wildlife Range for "...the purpose of preserving unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values...." In 1980, President Carter expanded the area to 18 million acres, renamed it the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, designated 8 million acres as wilderness, and called for wildlife studies and an oil and gas assessment of 1.5 million acres of the Refuge coastal plain.

As a result of the authorization to assess the oil reserves of the area, surface geological investigations, aeromagnetic surveys, and two winter seismic surveys (in 1983-84 and 1984-85) determined that a the potential of 10 billion barrels of oil may exist. The resource evaluation, conducted by the Department of Interior, was released in 1987 and recommended that Congress open the Coastal Plain for oil and gas exploration and development. In 1995, Congress voted to proceed with drilling by attaching the authorization to a federal budget bill, but President Clinton vetoed the bill which cancelled any plans for exploration and development. The debate continues today.

The area in question involves a very small portion on the ANWR Coastal Plain, comprising 1.5 million acres on the northern coast of Alaska and less than 50 miles from the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field which has been operating since the mid 70's. Because of new technology, the base field will incorporate less than 2000 acres or 0.01% of ANWR's 18 million acres and have an underground reach of a 4 mile radius.

More than 75% of Alaskans support exploration and drilling in the Coastal Plain area; but more importantly, so do the only inhabitants of the area. NIBY (not in my backyard) is not the attitude of the residents of Kaktovik, the only people living on the Coastal Plain of ANWR. The Inupiat people of the North Slope have called the Arctic their home for thousands of years, and Former Mayor Benjamin P. Nageak says:
I was taught by my father to respect the land and its resources because our very life depends on them. But we are both the same in our dependence on the resources found on our lands. For my father, it was the food he hunted to feed his family. I also use the land to hunt food for my family. But the oil beneath the surface of ANWR can also provide jobs, schools and a thriving economy for my people.

In 1969, when oil was first discovered on our lands, those fears were foremost in our minds as we fought for self-determination in order to be able to protect our resources. Since then, we have had over twenty years of working with the oil industry here. We enacted strict regulations to protect our land and the oil companies have consistently met the standards we imposed.

ANWR holds resources that can be extracted safely with care and concern for the entire eco-system it encompasses. The Inupiat people, working through the North Slope Borough, will act in the same careful, caring and cautious manner we always have when dealing with our lands and the seas.

We have the greatest stake possible in seeing that any and all development is done in such a way as to keep this land safe. Because it is our world. It is where we live. It holds the remains of our ancestors. It holds the future of our children.
Opponents of exploration and drilling contend that the 10 billion barrels of oil, and the daily production of 1 million barrels/day it could reasonably produce, are insignificant compared to the imported 13 million barrels/day to satisfy America's daily consumption of 21 million barrels of oil. The numbers can be extrapolated to show that the percentage of oil imported on a daily basis would fall from 61.9% to 57.1% at today's usage rate. Consequently, the argument continues that the benefit of drilling in ANWR is not worth the potential harm to the eco-system.

I suggest that Congress immediately authorize exploratory drilling to determine the real quantity of oil and natural gas reserves exist in the Coastal Plain. Most geologists agree that the potential may rival or exceed the initial reserves at Prudhoe Bay, but we will not know until beneath the surface exploration is accomplished. At the same time, plans should be developed and initiated to build the base field and connect to the trans-Alaskan pipeline 50 miles to the west.

If the sub-surface exploration indicates the reserves are far greater than anticipated and a significant impact can be made on the amount of imported oil, then drilling should begin immediately. On the other hand if the exploration supports the current predictions, then the drilling operation should be built and the equipment maintained while the Coastal Plain reserves are capped and held as part of our nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR).

The SPR was created by 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), primarily to counter a severe supply interruption. The goal was to establish a billion barrel reserve with the authorization to permit a removal rate (physical restraints) of 4.4 million barrels a day. In the mid 70's the US consumption rate was 14.7 million barrels/day so the removal rate allowed for the reserves to meet 30% of the country?s needs for 7 to 8 weeks. However, at today's consumption rate, the SPR provides only 20% of the needs, or 5 weeks if the original 30% of supply was met. A lower quantified amount of ANWR reserves which would not significantly impact the amount of imported oil could wisely supplement the Strategic Petroleum Reserves for future emergencies.

Recently Americans saw a spike in gasoline prices due to the interuption of production by Hurricane Katrina, and the Department of Energy tapped the SPR in an effort to stabilize the market. I suggest that the spike was minor in comparsion to the effects the "law of supply and demand" will create on the price of a barrel of oil as China continues on the path of industrialization and begins to compete on the world market for energy sources.

The Administration, in colaboration with Congress, must develop a truly viable and meaningful energy policy. One that is driven towards a reduction in oil imports and ultimately to energy independence. Special interests groups, their agendas, and their influence peddling must be set aside so America can re-shape its energy requirements and fight for "independence" once again = this battle is no less important than the one waged two hundered and thirty years ago.

We need to establish a national goal of energy conservation and the development of new, efficient, and clean forms of energy. As President Kennedy inspired the nation in 1962 to land a man on the moon and return him home safely by the end of the decade, we must do the same today with regard to energy. Modern computers, rocket engines with the required thrust capabilitiues, and the other technolgy required to reach the dream in 1969 were not yet conceived when JFK rallied Americans around something which seemed impossible.

Our President and Congress must inspire the genius of "free enterprise" and mix in a good dose of government support and incentives to create a long term solution to an immediate and long term need while creating a national goal of energy independence within the next ten years. We will not be required to start with a blank slate as we did in 1962. A number of passive systems (solar and wind) exist, which will become more economically feasible as the competition for a barrel of oil heats up and prices increase. The technology to increase battery life and reduce physical size has made great strides, which will allow coal burning and nuclear power plants to replace oil. Automobiles designed to operate on biofuels, some on a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, are scheduled to come online in 2006. Fusion technology is in its infancy, but so were computers in 1962.

Let us stop the bickering over drilling for oil in ANWR, establish specific goals, and then permit the potential oil and gas reserves in the Coastal Plains to support America's drive to prosperity, security, and energy independence. Future generations will thank us and we likely will leave the world a better place in which to live.

There is simply no option - lets get it done AND soon!

William G. Pierce

Additional Resources:

Fusion Industry

Fusion Power

Technology Development

1/3 Update:

Right Angle Blog read this piece and says:
The challenger to Mike DeWine is looking smarter and smarter everyday.
Thank you, Right Angle.

1/5 Update: Reworked paragraph 11.