Karabou - Politics and Government
Karabou is a democratic republic with a popularly elected President and House of Delegates. Three major and one minor political parties regularly contest elections for the presidency and seats in the House. Elections and political debates draw great media and popular attention. However, true power in Karabou rests in two shadowy organizations that most citizens are unaware of: the Star Chamber of Commerce (SCC) and the Homeland Security Council (HSC).
The Star Chamber of Commerce consists of executives from Karabou’s five to ten largest corporations. The exact number of members fluctuates as a result of mergers and hostile takeovers. The SCC has a long standing policy that what’s best for the SCC member organizations is what the Karabou government is going to do, even if it may be what’s worst for Karabou. SCC makes its power felt through support of politicians and the Homeland Security Council. No political party will nominate a candidate without first clearing the nominee with the SCC; a practice endorsed by all four party leaders as the SCC guarantees them uncontested re-elections.
The Homeland Security Council is made up of senior officers of the Karabou military, intelligence, and police services. The HSC’s mission is to maximize defense spending as a percentage of Karabou’s national budget. To this end, the HSC routinely warns of impending crises caused by foes ranging from crazed demon loving wizards to invading extraterrestrials to zealous fans returning from the latest sports match. The SCC dominated media cover these warnings, no matter how overblown, as gospel truth. This results in a near constant state of anxiety amongst Karabou’s electorate which is transferred to their elected representatives who give the military lots of money. The SCC is willing to support HSC spending as long as SCC member businesses are the preferred (read exclusive) recipients of military contracts.
A side effect of the constant siege mentality promoted by the HSC is that military authorities are often granted emergency powers that permit them to indefinitely detain citizens.
Karabou has a few costumed heroes, but nowhere near as many as Borderline City. Heroes in Karabou need to sign an endorsement deal with a Star Chamber member corporation. The SCC will only sponsor the most annoyingly squeaky clean do-gooders they can find such as Superiorguy and Captain Karabou. Furthermore, costumed heroes are legally required to enlist as reservists in the Karabou military—Captain Karabou really is a commissioned officer. The Karabou military routinely denies rumors that they have special black ops squads composed entirely of supers, cyborgs, or genetically modified creatures.