Monday, January 14, 2013

A Modern Def'n of Equality - Access is a Better Determinant than Biology

An excerpt from "ff21st" Chapter 12 pps. 277-278


Up until the attempt on my life, I more or less proposed the thinking that humanity was equal by the standards of the United Nations.  I did, however, hold some deep reservations that everyone was actually equal in terms of contribution to society, and of value to others on an individual level.

To me the sole determinant of equality should simply not be the fact that you biologically exist.  Not to create a lousy analogy, but there is still a common phrase in use, which people who have contributed little use in terms of validation, in comparison with those who have contributed significantly more.  That phrase is:  “their shit stinks the same as mine.”  My typical response to this assertion is to say “if your sole criterion for valuing another human’s relevance is the smell of their excrement, then you are right.”

The one area where I do fully believe there should be equality is in terms of “equality of access” and this principle I hold dear.  Every individual should have access to the ability to earn a living.  Every individual should have access to basic healthcare and medicine.  Every individual should have access to clean water, food and shelter.  Every individual should have access to free movement around the globe.

I do not look at these as innate rights, rather ones that we as evolved citizens of the US should strive for, not only for our fellow Americans, but for people around the globe.  I don’t consider there to be any other equality claim other than the access points.  Every individual with their basic needs taken care of, now has the ability to live where they want, earn a living, choose how to live their life.  They must find their own way which to me is the true life experience.  Of course, even now as we approach 2050 there are still many parts of the world that have to improve in all of these areas.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The 7-1/2 Year Marriage License

Excerpt from Chapter 9 -- Pages 206-209


The policy of termed marriage licenses was an extremely novel one.  I viewed it at the time as a bit reprehensible in my heart, but the government could not overlook the will of the people.  The idea of termed marriages worked out to be perfect on just about every level.  As divorce rates, by that time, had grown to almost sixty percent, there seemed to be no point in marriages being considered for life anymore.  It just wasn’t the way that families in America were structured.

Another benefit was the strain on the relationship that this kind of the marriage alleviated.  There really was not the need for a messy divorce as people knew that they could just wait out the current term of their marriage and that would be the end of it.  Of course, messy break-ups of marriages did not become a thing of the past, as the dilemma is still a big problem when both parties do not want to separate to the same degree.  However, that was no different than what was going on prior to the termed licenses so it didn’t matter all that much.

A third benefit was the reduction of costs of legal fees.  Divorce law was a massive business and usually the biggest cost incurred during separations.  Since the settlement was now predetermined as part of the marriage license, legal expenses were lessened.  By 2025, hardly anyone went to court anymore.  Initially, there were many marriage licenses that were called into question when the marriage broke up, and it was primarily by the person who had not increased financially as much as the other.

Prior to 2018, however, there was a great injustice happening in America as the wealthier person was unceremoniously being robbed of half their wealth as a result of a divorce.  The prime example that began the backlash was Tiger Woods divorce.  Though he was clearly guilty of many infidelities, he had to part with over $500,000,000.  No one ever contested that Tiger earned all the revenue for the couple, and that she certainly provided well in her role as mother and wife, but at the end of the day I don’t think anyone felt she deserved that much money after just three years of marriage.  There was very much a sentiment in America at the time that Tiger was, in fact, being punished.

The situation as I mentioned earlier, is that many women viewed their appearance and sexuality as their means of gaining stability in society.  These women were regularly initiating divorces at ridiculous high numbers as a means of cashing in on their husbands wealth.  This happened at all levels and needed to be curtailed.  To be fair though, many men who found themselves in these situations were quite culpable in sustaining this circumstance as they married the women for their appearance.

The termed marriage license had a list of independent assets as well as the expected financial positions for each partner throughout the balance of the marriage.  There usually was a willingness on both parties to share matrimonial assets that grew (or shrunk) over the period of the license, and that was agreed upon at the time as well.  Whatever amount in either hard cash or percentages of assets was agreed upon was what was rewarded at the end of the license period.  Most of the time, it was a 50/50 split, so in practice remarkably little changed.  Where there was a substantive improvement in the dissolution phase, was where one party had a disproportionate amount of assets at the outset.  These divorces were now settled in no time and the parties involved could get on with their lives.

The terms of the license was as follows:  If one of the persons involved was in their first marriage the period was 7-1/2 years in duration. All other licenses were for five years.  Renewal of your marriage license was automatically a five-year period if no termination request was received.  After the second renewal of a license at 12-1/2 years of marriage, an update to the asset list had to be submitted.

The notion of common law marriages was entirely abandoned.  Couples that lived together without a marriage license were not entitled to any assets other than their own personal ones.  This meant that if a couple were together and did not register a marriage license, and then they broke up, there was no such thing as palimony or financial compensation to either.  The thinking was that as traditional relationships were being abandoned then so should the common-law approach.  The couple was either building a life together, which in this case meant you were married, or you weren’t.  Marriage licenses were no longer seen as an emotional type of agreement but rather a legal one.  It made sense that everyone entering a relationship that would likely end.  It was better to address this scenario up front with clarity, rather than after the fact when emotional and vindictive thinking and legal posturing would be prevalent.

Not surprisingly, the termed marriage licenses caught on like wild fire and in the first year, over 15,000,000 licenses were registered on-line.  It only took about thirty minutes as long as you had your asset inventory (which was updatable as required).  There was no need to go to a church, hire a lawyer, and register at town hall or even say “I do” if you didn’t want to.  We were quite kitschy in having both parties click on an “I DO” button as a form of agreement to the terms of the license they were submitting. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Position on Gun Control and Punishment

Chapter 8 -- pps 168-170

Author's note:  Kennedy and Newfoundland join the USA in 2016.

The quintessential example of the “framers intent” that we were able to implement first in Kennedy and Newfoundland (two new US states) was in the area of gun control.  I do not in any way shape or form disagree that the Second amendment gives the right to bear arms.  We, however, took a much more rational rather than historical or patriotic approach to reinterpret this right to exclude concealed weapons and all assault weapons.

Handguns and shot guns were allowed, but only under license and permit and certainly under overall guidelines on how they should be maintained and when they could be utilized.  Of course, in 2016 the usual rhetoric started about the rights and freedoms of Americans but with the support of our new American citizens in Kennedy and Newfoundland, who did not want guns in their states, we were able to frame an argument to continue gun regulation that would not have been possible at any other time.  The initial trial period and success of the efforts in Kennedy and Newfoundland eventually led most of the other states to implement similar laws.  Today in 2043, only Texas and Alaska have not implemented some form of gun control.

I have been accused on occasion of not defending the Constitution fully, but I disagree with this assessment as the Constitution was always part of any and all discussions.  Our argument was based once again on the intent of the founding fathers.  It is pretty clear that the right to bear arms is matched with a desire to keep unwanted military personnel out of one’s personal premises.  This was of course the result of three guiding objectives in the 1700s.  One, the British were to be fought at all costs, two, the right to own property and the subsequent right to protect your private property was something worth fighting for and three, the freedom to be left alone.  Of these three, I clearly think that the second point was the one that the founding fathers were trying to protect at the time.  Let`s face it, it was the mid-1700s and property was scarce so the point was that a homeowner who had taken the time to develop and build a property had ever right to know that the property could not just be taken away from them and that the use of personal force against any usurper was appropriate.  Keep in mind that the new Americans in the 1700s were trying to establish the concept of private property since they did not have ownership rights while they had been in Europe.  Also, home owners did not have to acquiesce to any type of governmental expropriation of property.  This too was a substantial structural change by Americans who were unable to resist against the land owning classes and, in fact, their goods and possessions as well as their private persons were ultimately owned by their superiors while in Europe.  These rights would have to be defended by force whenever necessary by the new Americans.

Utilizing this rationale, the case was made that the use of firearms to protect private property was universally justified but limited to handguns.  Hunting of course was a prominent part of the culture in Kennedy and Newfoundland and that was not going to change, so shotguns were perfectly acceptable as well.  What were not welcome were concealed weapons and assault weapons, both of which were banned and considered illegal from day one of Kennedy’s and Newfoundland’s founding.  Personal protection on the streets was not considered a valid reason to carry a gun.


Three items made this approach possible.

The first, as mentioned earlier was the willingness of our new US citizens to go along with this approach, and as I mentioned it was actually a mandate of the new Americans joining the USA.  Second, was the harsh punishments handed out by the courts towards anyone found with a gun of any sort in their possession without a license or hunting permit.  As well, not having your gun secured properly at home or within mobility situations, for example, driving to a campsite, were met with exceptionally large fines.  For example, all guns during transportation had to be unloaded, in a hard-shell gun case, in a locked position and never in an unlocked part of the vehicle except for loading and unloading.

The third thing was that no costs were attributed to licensing or registering of guns.  All guns had to be registered and it was a very easy and non-bureaucratic process.  You provided your name, your address, the gun make and model as well as the registration number on the gun.  Ammunition did not have to be registered.  If you were found with a gun anywhere on your possession or on your property that was unregistered it was an automatic jail sentence and then a probationary period.

If someone used a gun in the commitment of a crime against another then the automatic jail time period was a minimum of two years.  Discharging a weapon in the commitment of a crime carried with it a minimum sentence of ten years and if an injury was incurred then it went to twenty years.  Murder with a gun became an automatic death penalty regardless of what the motive was determined to be.  If a husband killed his wife he received a death sentence, if someone killed an innocent bystander they received a death sentence.  Guns were not to be tolerated under any circumstances in the execution of violent crime.

Some people at the time, considered the automatic death penalty as particularly harsh and inhumane.  Considering of course that the death penalty did not even exist in Canada prior to joining the US it was also a bit of a surprise.  The new citizens of Kennedy and Newfoundland though were adamant that the violence that is associated with certain parts of US culture would not come to their states.  The new Americans associated the American violent streak in relation mostly to the prevalence and acceptance of guns by the community at large in the United States.  They felt that harsh deterrents were the best way to combat any infiltration of this poor part of own US culture.

As previously mentioned, one significant problem with the US legal system in the early twenty-first century was that all deterrence had been removed from the system.  Now, as we know, forgiveness is a big part of the American way but as I have mentioned many times throughout these pages, personal responsibility had to become more of a hall mark of being an American.  This was especially so in the world of violent crime.  For too long, perpetrators of violent crime were too often able to escape appropriate justice due to a number of excuses such as over-crowding of prisons, bureaucracy, inept legal representation, access to superior legal representation and a myriad of other rules that were designed to protect their right.

Being considered innocent rather than guilty was a fine moral principle and one that I support fanatically as everyone knows.  But once guilt has been established, especially in this instance where we were referring to gun usage, punishment needed to become very severe.  The main thing that citizens came to understand that if guns were utilized in an appropriate manner and in the proper way then absolutely no retribution would ever come to that person.  However, when guns because utilized in criminal enterprises then there would be zero tolerance.  It only took six months of harsh punishments before the issues surrounding guns virtually vanished over night in the new states.  In Kennedy there were only eight murders in the entire calendar year of 2020 and only one involved a gun.  In Newfoundland there were no murders and only two people even got shot.  Let`s face it, the fear of actual and real punishment is really the only option you have against a criminal as they have already demonstrated the they are not committed to societal norms and expectations.

Also, as I mentioned earlier I am not opposed to more harsh sentences for people under-taking wrong-doing, especially in relation to violent crime.  The lack of personal accountability and the ridiculous tone of the legal profession made prosecution of violent offenders almost impossible in the early part of the century.  I felt very strongly that this had to change and I fully supported the desire of Kennedy and Newfoundland to not only impose the death penalty but to utilize it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Valuing Wealth

Chapter 2 - pages 25, 26

The foundation of my thinking was that those individuals who make the greatest contribution to their field should reap the greatest returns in terms of power, leadership and of course financial reward.  The other premise is that there needed to be a shift in what was considered a rewarding industry.  For example, actors can make millions of dollars for entertaining American children, while teachers make tens of thousands for teaching them.  Business leaders make millions or even billions of dollars while scientists make a fraction of that.

As a corollary thought, those who made the least contribution should not expect to receive much beyond basic sustenance.  America was founded on hard work, initiative and honesty and these types of efforts would gain reward in the immediate future.  However, those who chose to do very little or thought that life owed them a living were soon to find out that America owed them nothing.

My goal was never, nor will it ever be, to dictate the income, power or leadership that any individual could attain, but rather to have society at large play a greater role in determining what roles are worthy of substantive financial rewards, and which are not.  Just to make a simple argument, does a baseball player deserve to make five million dollars while a fireman makes fifty thousand dollars?  Many Americans of course who believe in complete freedom say yes due to their belief in freedom and the free market.  Many people will find it hard to comprehend that I agree with these principles as well.  What I set out to do though, was to have the market and society change the definition of freedom to personal responsibility and have a free market where ethics, values and contribution were considered the most valuable characteristics of successful people.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Two New States -- Kennedy and Newfoundland

Chapter 8  --  Kennedy and Newfoundland join the United States as the 51st and 52 states

The creation of two new US states on July 4th, 2016 was probably the single greatest legacy economically and militarily of my term as president.  With the purchase from Canada of the eastern portion of their country, which included Eastern Quebec, the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and the island portion of Newfoundland the USA headed into a period of growth and prosperity due to the expansion of American businesses, expansion of military resources, securement of natural resources, increased shipping capabilities and the ingenuity and passion of the new Americans who lived in the regions.

In hindsight, it seems ridiculous how easy the purchase of foreign lands were for the US and especially with so little fanfare and resentment of the international community.  I think this was the result of two very important, but different factors.  The first was that the area we were purchasing was of little consequence on the international stage such that no one cared all that much, and secondly that the Provincial governments and the citizens who lived in the Eastern region of Quebec and the Maritimes were so disillusioned with their Canadian federal government that they were over-whelmingly in favor of the purchase. 

Just as a quick recap, the states that we all now know as New York, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Kennedy and Newfoundland were all different prior to July 4th, 2016.  New York State was extended on its eastern border to include the city of East Montreal.  Vermont was extended north to the area across from Quebec City while New Hampshire’s borders were extended following the border with Maine to Riviere du Loup.  Maine received a tremendous benefit by receiving all the land north of Kennedy to the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The region that was formerly referred to as the Maritime Provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) became one all-new American state known as Kennedy.  The island portion of the former province of Newfoundland and Labrador became the state of Newfoundland.  Labrador became part of Quebec.  The island known as Anticosti which sits at the entrance to the St. Lawrence River was split evenly with the northern part staying as part of Canada and the southern portion becoming US territory as part of Maine.  Maine became the primary area for investment and shipping routes for the St. Lawrence which was shared fairly and equally with Canada.

Even to this day, the fact that we purchased these areas for three hundred billion dollars still amazes me considering the prosperity and ingenuity that the region has shown.  The Newfoundlanders and Kenndyites, as new American citizens, have become role models for the rest of Americans on how to live in a peaceful and orderly manner.  They demonstrate an unforeseen hospitality and demonstrate to the world a fair amount of empathy for the overall society at large.  The 51st and 52nd states of the United States of America have become not only stellar examples of US society, but have also been recognized as ideal societies around the world.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two and a Half Men

Chapter 8 -- Two and a Half Men    p.195


Personally, I recall that I had been a fan of Two and a Half Men, but I always cringed somewhat with the concept of a show about a household where a child was being brought up without much supervision and the complete lack of parental discretion that was being exercised.  In Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen’s character was uncle to the youngster involved and he was a forty year-old alcoholic, womanizer who floated through life yet received all the rewards that society at the time could offer.  He had a beach front house in Malibu, beautiful women, nice cars, essentially the ability to be totally selfish in his actions.  His brother was considered an amusing sidekick who was divorced, broke and generally just a bit of a square.  He usually tried to do the right thing by his son, but was ostracized by his brother for being such a loser.  The son grew up on TV to be portrayed essentially as someone with no intelligence and no prospects for the future.

Upon a personal collapse by Charlie Sheen, Ashton Kutcher was put into the role.  He was a youthful internet billionaire who had the mind and social awareness of a teenager.  The son at this point was relegated to making bathroom humor and being a dopey young adult who smoked a lot of pot.  The producers of the show, at this time, chose that the father’s character should become somewhat mentally unstable and had him in and out of stressful conditions until the show went off the air in 2015.  The show tried many tactics to keep up viewers and resorted to the bottom of the barrel, I thought, when they introduced lesbian grandmothers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

excerpt from chapter 9 - female sexuality in the media

Chapter 9 - pages 204-205


What I had a severe disagreement with in 2012, was that sexuality had become the dominant cultural attribute that women have in the world in order to live their life and to achieve what they want.  This very much is the result of media influence and the resultant obsession with female appearance as the defining characteristic of a woman’s value.  This to me was abhorrent.  Too many girls were content with just being recognized for being attractive or sexual, and used this as their sole criteria for their position in the world.  Before continuing, let me take a moment to point out that I am not above admiring a beautiful woman and I ended up marrying one of the most beautiful, but in Natalie’s case, there was an abundance of other attributes that affirmed the original attraction and the fact that we were in love was predicated on many other aspects of her talent, intelligence, character and personality. 

I distinctly remember that I was at a coffee shop in Seattle back around 2002, and there was a magazine rack.  While I waiting for my coffee, I was looking at the magazine covers and I noticed one magazine specifically called “Complete Woman.”  I smiled to myself as I read the content headlines on the cover of the magazine.  They comprised two articles on satisfying their men in bed, two on hair and make-up tips, one on losing their winter weight and one on fashions for spring.  I remember openly chuckling to myself that the magazine was called “Complete Woman.”  Even Cosmopolitan magazine didn’t simplify women to this standard of being just attractive and a sexual object for men’s benefit.  It turned out, however, that this was exactly what was happening and girls were being influenced into adopting this self-image.

I started asking myself what was behind all this at the time and I came to realize that it was the Mom’s who were encouraging this notion and allowing their daughters to focus on their female sexuality as the core of their femininity.  This contention goes back to the notion I referred to earlier, as an entire generation of girls had been raised with the influence of Madonna in the 1980s and embraced the desire to be sexual.