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U.S. Transhumanist Party Positions on 2020 California Ballot Propositions

U.S. Transhumanist Party Positions on 2020 California Ballot Propositions

Gennady Stolyarov II


The United States Transhumanist Party  offers the following brief statements of position on the ballot propositions currently before California voters in the 2020 General Election.

Summary

California Proposition 14 – Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative: Support

California Proposition 15 – Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative: Oppose

California Proposition 16 – Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment: Oppose

California Proposition 17 – Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment: Support

California Proposition 18 – Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment: Support

California Proposition 19 – Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment: Neutral

California Proposition 20 – Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection Initiative: Oppose

California Proposition 21 – Local Rent Control Initiative: Oppose

California Proposition 22 – App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative: Support

California Proposition 23 – Dialysis Clinic Requirements Initiative: Oppose

California Proposition 24 – Consumer Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative: Neutral

California Proposition 25 – Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessments Referendum: Support


California Ballot Proposition 14 Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative Support

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Authorizes $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to fund grants from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine to educational, non-profit, and private entities for: stem cell and other medical research, including training; stem cell therapy development and delivery; research facility construction; and associated administrative expenses.

● Dedicates $1.5 billion to research and therapy for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy, and other brain and central nervous system diseases and conditions.

● Appropriates General Fund moneys to pay bond debt service.

● Expands programs promoting stem cell and other medical research, therapy development and delivery, and student and physician training and fellowships.”

(BallotPedia)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party strongly supports California Ballot Proposition 14, which will allocate major funds for life-saving and life-extending research into stem-cell therapies as well as the fight against ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and epilepsy. The U.S. Transhumanist Party has long supported significant increases in research funding in all of the aforementioned areas. Indeed, Article VI, Section V, of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform reads: “The United States Transhumanist Party supports concerted research in effort to eradicate disease and illness that wreak havoc upon and cause death of sapient beings. We strongly advocate the increase and redirection of research funds to conduct research and experiments and to explore life, science, technology, medicine, and extraterrestrial realms to improve all sentient entities.” Ballot Proposition 14 is an example of the precise kinds of research funding that are referenced in Article VI, Section V.

California Ballot Proposition 15 Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative Oppose

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Increases funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges, and local governments by requiring that commercial and industrial real property be taxed based on current market value, instead of purchase price.

● Exempts from taxation changes: residential properties; agricultural land; and owners of commercial and industrial properties with combined value of $3 million or less.

● Any additional educational funding will supplement existing school funding guarantees.

● Exempts small businesses from personal property tax; for other businesses, provides $500,000 exemption”

(BallotPedia)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party opposes property taxes and thus opposes any net increases to property taxes. Article VI, Section XXXVI, of the USTP Platform states that “all taxes on land and property should be abolished.” California Ballot Proposition 15 would greatly increase property taxes on net by changing the basis for taxation from the purchase price to the current market value. Moreover, this shift would unduly burden businesses in California, since the market value of most California properties is artificially inflated due to irrational restrictions on new development, which greatly constrain the supply of buildings of every sort. While the aspect of Proposition 15 to exempt small businesses from personal property tax is admirable – since personal property taxes also should not exist – it is nonetheless possible for Proposition 15 to harm small businesses which rent real estate from larger organizations. If a larger organization is still obligated to pay the higher property tax based on the market value of the leased building, much of the added expense is likely to be passed on to the small-business tenant.

California Ballot Proposition 16 Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment Oppose

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Permits government decision-making policies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to address diversity by repealing article I, section 31, of the California Constitution, which was added by Proposition 209 in 1996.

● Proposition 209 generally prohibits state and local governments from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, individuals or groups on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, education, or contracting.

● Does not alter other state and federal laws guaranteeing equal protection and prohibiting unlawful discrimination.

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party strongly opposes California Ballot Proposition 16 – a measure which would overturn the justified 1996 Proposition 209, which prohibited the State of California from considering race, sex, color, ethnicity, and national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting. Proposition 209 should remain, and circumstantial attributes over which people have no control should not be considered in making the official policy of the State of California.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party is committed to cosmopolitanism, inclusivity, and fair treatment of all individuals, irrespective of attributes (some of which pseudoscientific descriptors to begin with) such as race, ethnicity, or national origin, among the others listed.

Article VI, Section II, of the USTP Platform states, in part, that “The United States Transhumanist Party supports all acceptance, tolerance, and inclusivity of individuals and groups of all races, genders, classes, religions, creeds, and ideologies. Accordingly, the United States Transhumanist Party condemns any hostile discrimination or legal restrictions on the basis of national origin, skin color, birthplace, ancestry, gender identity, or any manner of circumstantial attribute tied to a person’s lineage or accident of birth. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party strongly opposes any efforts to enforce said restrictions regardless of cause or motivation thereof.”

California Ballot Proposition 16 would open the door to hostile discrimination against applicants seeking state employment or other services – based on their national origin, skin color, ethnicity, or other currently protected attributes. This is unacceptable, even if the motivation is to make amends for past injustices. Multiple wrongs do not make a right. Race-based or nationality-based preferences are always inherently unjust, because they sacrifice consideration of the genuine and unique attributes of each individual in favor of circumstantial descriptors which do not define the essence of that individual. Furthermore, any measure that embraces “reverse discrimination” renders itself vulnerable to later being turned into the instrument of the very discrimination it seeks to combat; all it would take is a shift of the people in power and the prevailing ideologies of the day. Racial preferences of any sort are odious and have no place in a society that truly rejects racism.

California Ballot Proposition 17 Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment Support

Summary of Ballot Proposition: “Amends state constitution to restore voting rights to persons who have been disqualified from voting while serving a prison term as soon as they complete their prison term.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports California Ballot Proposition 17, since there is no reason to deprive the essential right to vote from individuals who have completed their prison sentences. The Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0, Article XXXVIII, states,The will of the constituent sentient entities shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage of sentient entities and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.” Nothing in the USTP’s affirmation of the “universal and equal suffrage of sentient entities” would justify depriving of the right to vote an individual who has been released from prison with the intent of reintegration of that individual into the processes of society – one of which is voting. Additionally, many individuals on parole had been previously imprisoned because of nonviolent “victimless” offenses for which the USTP supports decriminalization altogether. For instance, a person on parole for a marijuana possession offense should not be deprived of the right to vote, since marijuana possession should never have been a crime to begin with. Even for those who committed genuine crimes, the ability to vote once they are on parole would not raise the risk of recidivism and, on the contrary, might interest some of these individuals in staying involved in the operations of civilized society on peaceful terms.

California Ballot Proposition 18   Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment Support

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

● The California Constitution currently permits individuals who are at least 18 years old on the date of an election to vote in that election.

● Amends constitution to permit 17-year-olds who will be at least 18 years old and otherwise eligible to vote at the time of the next general election to vote in any primary or special election that occurs before the next general election.

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports California Ballot Proposition 18, a modest expansion of the right to vote in the primaries to 17-year-olds who will be turning 18 on the day of the general election. The U.S. Transhumanist Party is generally supportive of expanding the franchise to sentient entities capable of forming political opinions, as 17-year-olds clearly are. Article VI, Section XXIII, of the USTP Platform states that

“The United States Transhumanist Party supports the rights of children to exercise liberty in proportion to their rational faculties and capacity for autonomous judgment.” Most 17-year-olds are clearly capable of understanding the issues being voted and forming autonomous, rational judgments regarding them. Indeed, because many such individuals are students who have recently studied U.S. government, civics, and history, they would be more likely than the typical voter to have correct factual information about the U.S. political system at their disposal.

The USTP would go further than California Ballot Proposition 18 and enfranchise all children and teenagers who can demonstrate knowledge of the American system of government and the candidates and issues being voted on. This would, indeed, be a more stringent set of criteria than currently expected of adult voters and would contribute to a more informed electorate. However, California Ballot Proposition 18 is clearly a modest step in the correct direction.

California Ballot Proposition 19 Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment Neutral

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Permits homeowners who are over 55, severely disabled, or whose homes were destroyed by wildfire or disaster, to transfer their primary residence’s property tax base value to a replacement residence of any value, anywhere in the state.

● Limits tax benefits for certain transfers of real property between family members.

● Expands tax benefits for transfers of family farms.

● Allocates most resulting state revenues and savings (if any) to fire protection services and reimbursing local governments for taxation-related changes.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party is neutral on California Ballot Proposition 19. The USTP generally opposes property taxes and thus considers any expansion of credits or exemptions that would lower the property-tax burden to be beneficial. However, Ballot Proposition 19 is a mixture of expanding and limiting exemptions from property taxes. In particular, according to Ballotpedia, “The ballot measure would eliminate the parent-to-child and grandparent-to-grandchild exemption in cases where the child or grandchild does not use the inherited property as their principal residence, such as using a property a rental house or a second home.” It is difficult to weigh the impacts of the additional tax exemptions and exemption removals vis-à-vis one another, especially since different components of this measure will affect different individuals, and any systematic comparison of benefits and costs across individuals is methodologically problematic to say the least. The best policies are Pareto-efficient, in that they benefit at least one person without harming any other person. California Ballot Proposition 19 is certainly not Pareto-efficient. Because of the ambiguous effects of California Ballot Proposition 19, the U.S. Transhumanist Party as an organization does not take a stance on this measure and recommends that its members make their decisions by individually considering the potential benefits and costs and how this measure might affect them personally, if at all.

California Ballot Proposition 20 Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection Initiative Oppose

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Limits access to parole programs established for non-violent offenders who have completed the full term of their primary offense by eliminating eligibility for certain offenses.

● Changes standards and requirements governing parole decisions under this program.

● Authorizes felony charges for specified theft crimes currently chargeable only as misdemeanors, including some theft crimes where the value is between $250 and $950.

● Requires persons convicted of specified misdemeanors to submit to collection of DNA samples for state database.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party opposes California Ballot Proposition 20, as this measure would have the net effect of significantly increasing the population in prison for relatively minor criminal offenses, such as petty thefts and various nonviolent crimes. Such crimes are better addressed through restitution than through imprisonment. According to the fiscal impact statement for this measure, as related by Ballotpedia, there would arise “Increased state and local correctional costs likely in the tens of millions of dollars annually, primarily related to increases in county jail populations and levels of community supervision.”

Article VI, Section XV, of the USTP Platform states, “The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to significantly reduce the massive incarcerated population in America by using innovative technologies to monitor criminals outside of prison.” California Ballot Proposition 20 would go in the opposite direction by reducing opportunities for criminals to receive parole. Instead of continuing to overload the prison system, the California State Government should invest in monitoring technologies such as personal drones that would follow certain parolees during their daily activities and have the ability to alert law enforcement if the parolee attempts to commit a criminal offense that would have a victim.

California Ballot Proposition 21 Local Rent Control Initiative Oppose

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Amends state law to allow local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. Allows local limits on annual rent increases to differ from current statewide limit.

● Allows rent increases in rent-controlled properties of up to 15 percent over three years at start of new tenancy (above any increase allowed by local ordinance).

● Exempts individuals who own no more than two homes from new rent-control policies.

● In accordance with California law, prohibits rent control from violating landlords’ right to fair financial return.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: While the U.S. Transhumanist Party considers the cost of housing, including rental housing, in California to be unreasonably high – indeed, wildly exorbitant on a historically unprecedented scale – the U.S. Transhumanist Party nonetheless opposes California Ballot Proposition 21 and rent-control measures more generally. Article XVIII of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0, expresses the right of all sentient entities to “housing or other appropriate shelter” – and thus affordability in housing is a goal embraced by the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Rent control, however, is a poor means toward that goal.

The path toward improving housing affordability is to greatly increase the supply of housing, which is tightly restricted in California due to pressure from NIMBY special interests and local anti-development activist groups. In the absence of such new construction, rent control creates undesirable incentives that harm tenants of rent-controlled buildings, including situations where landlords would be motivated to pressure the tenants to leave by indirect means, such as failing to adequately maintain the building or trying to intentionally find or engineer minor lease violations and over-zealously pursue such violations as a means to legally evict the tenants.

In order to generally reduce housing and rental costs in California, a massive building program using 3D-printing technologies and other innovative construction methods would be a far superior option to rent-controlling the existing California housing stock, which is already quite old and in need of significant maintenance.

California Ballot Proposition 22 – App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative – Support

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Classifies drivers for app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery companies as ‘independent contractors,’ not ‘employees,’ unless company: sets drivers’ hours, requires acceptance of specific ride and delivery requests, or restricts working for other companies.

● Independent contractors are not covered by various state employment laws—including minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.

● Instead, independent-contractor drivers would be entitled to other compensation—including minimum earnings, healthcare subsidies, and vehicle insurance.

● Restricts certain local regulation of app-based drivers.

● Criminalizes impersonation of drivers.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports California Ballot Proposition 22 in order to enable technologically driven economic progress in the personal transportation industry, which has been brought about by ridesharing services (a.k.a. transportation network companies) but which has been hampered in California by the passage of Assembly Bill 5, which had classified rideshare drivers as employees of the platforms they use and thus precipitated a threat of pullout from California by the transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft.

Article VI, Section IX, of the USTP Platform, reads, in part, that “The United States Transhumanist Party supports all emerging technologies that have the potential to improve the human condition” – and innovative, technologically driven ridesharing platforms are among such emerging technologies, subsumed in Section IX under “applications for the sharing of durable goods” (in this case, vehicles).

The flawed classification of ridesharing services’ drivers as employees is contrary to many of those drivers’ own wishes, as employees often do not have the flexibility to set their own hours or the conditions of their work, and such flexibility is a primary attraction of becoming a rideshare driver. It is clear that classifying ridesharing services’ drivers as employees is intended as protectionism for legacy taxicab companies, whose business model has often resulted in sub-optimal treatment of consumers and thus led to widespread consumer frustration. On the other hand, most consumers have expressed overwhelming satisfaction with ridesharing services. California Ballot Proposition 22 restores the more reasonable classification of ridesharing services’ drivers as independent contractors while affording them basic protections regarding their earnings, healthcare, and vehicle insurance. Those who perceived the classification of such drivers as employees to be necessary to afford them the aforementioned benefits were mistaken; the benefits can be conferred by law without the restrictions and added costs that employee status would entail.

California Ballot Proposition 23 Dialysis Clinic Requirements Initiative Oppose

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Requires at least one licensed physician on site during treatment at outpatient kidney dialysis clinics; authorizes California Department of Public Health to exempt clinics from this requirement if there is a shortage of qualified licensed physicians and the clinic has at least one nurse practitioner or physician assistant on site.

Requires clinics to report dialysis-related infection data to state and federal governments.

● Prohibits clinics from closing or reducing services without state approval.

● Prohibits clinics from refusing to treat patients based on the source of payment for care.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party opposes California Ballot Proposition 23 primarily because of the requirement that at least one licensed physician be on site during treatment at outpatient kidney dialysis clinics. Because of the dire shortage of available physicians, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, this requirement would mean that many dialysis clinics would be unable to operate or offer life-serving services to patients who require dialysis.

More generally, the U.S. Transhumanist Party advocates lowering barriers to entry into the medical profession and recognizing numerous areas of patient care which could be provided effectively and affordably without the presence of full-fledged MDs.

Article VI, Section LXXX, of the USTP Platform reads, “The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to increase opportunities for entry into the medical profession. The current system for licensing doctors is highly monopolistic and protectionist – the result of efforts by the American Medical Association in the early 20th century to limit entry into the profession in order to artificially boost incomes for its members. The medical system suffers today from too few doctors and thus vastly inflated patient costs and unacceptable waiting times for appointments. Instead of prohibiting the practice of medicine by all except a select few who have completed an extremely rigorous and cost-prohibitive formal medical schooling, governments in the Western world should allow the market to determine different tiers of medical care for which competing private certifications would emerge. For the most specialized and intricate tasks, high standards of certification would continue to exist, and a practitioner’s credentials and reputation would remain absolutely essential to convincing consumers to put their lives in that practitioner’s hands. But, with regard to routine medical care (e.g., annual check-ups, vaccinations, basic wound treatment), it is not necessary to receive attention from a person with a full-fledged medical degree. Furthermore, competition among certification providers would increase quality of training and lower its price, as well as accelerate the time needed to complete the training. Such a system would allow many more young medical professionals to practice without undertaking enormous debt or serving for years (if not decades) in roles that offer very little remuneration while entailing a great deal of subservience to the hierarchy of an established institution. Ultimately, without sufficient doctors to affordably deliver life-extending treatments when they become available, it would not be feasible to extend these treatments to the majority of people.”

Thus, the USTP advocates the development of competitively offered certifications for dialysis specialists who would be able to provide patients with quality care and respond effectively to emergencies or complications. However, the USTP strongly opposes any mandate that would prohibit a clinic that offers a lifesaving service from operating if no physician is on site.

California Ballot Proposition 24 Consumer Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative Neutral

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“● Permits consumers to: (1) prevent businesses from sharing personal information; (2) correct inaccurate personal information; and (3) limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information”—including precise geolocation; race; ethnicity; religion; genetic data; private communications; sexual orientation; and specified health information.

● Establishes California Privacy Protection Agency to additionally enforce and implement consumer privacy laws and impose fines.

● Changes criteria for which businesses must comply with laws.

● Prohibits businesses’ retention of personal information for longer than reasonably necessary.

● Triples maximum penalties for violations concerning consumers under age 16.

Authorizes civil penalties for theft of consumer login information, as specified.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party is neutral on California Ballot Proposition 24, a 50-page measure whose net effects on consumer privacy and control over personal data would be unclear.

The USTP strongly supports individual privacy. Article VI, Section I, of the USTP Platform, reads, in part, that “The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere.”

While some of the provisions in California Ballot Proposition 24 are intended to support the right of individual privacy, the USTP questions the length and complexity of the measure, when effective protections for privacy could be articulated in a straightforward and concise manner. Various privacy advocates are split on California Ballot Proposition 24, and many have alleged that the length and complexity of the measure are the result of various carve-outs that allow large companies to collect significant amounts of data on consumers without their consent, sometimes in ways that are more permissive than current California law – the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. Furthermore, California Ballot Proposition 24 would appear to allow “pay for privacy” schemes, instead of privacy being the default. The USTP holds that the basic option for any service should be that the consumer owns all of his, her, or its data – and if the consumer is to be asked to give control over any such data to a third party, the consumer should be affirmatively rewarded for such a decision (for instance, via micropayments or other special benefits) – instead of being denied access to the default service for refusing to give another party control over the consumer’s personal data.

Ultimately, because the net impacts of California Ballot Proposition 24 on privacy are difficult to ascertain, the U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages its California members to study the proposal’s components and the issues involved and to individually weigh the potential benefits and costs of this measure in order to arrive at a reasonable personal position.

California Ballot Proposition 25 Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessments Referendum Support

Summary of Ballot Proposition:

“A ‘Yes’ vote approves, and a ‘No’ vote rejects, a 2018 law that:

  • Replaced the money bail system (for obtaining release from jail before trial) with a system based on a determination of public safety and flight risk.
  • Limits detention of a person in jail before trial for most misdemeanors.”

(BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports California Ballot Proposition 25, which would uphold the 2018 Senate Bill 10 – legislation that has performed well in reducing California’s jailed population such that nonviolent accused persons who are determined by a thoughtful risk assessment not to be flight risks could be released on their own recognizance without the need for cash bail. The USTP supports reductions in the incarcerated population, and this applies before a person undergoes trial just as it applies afterward if that person is convicted. The ability to make a bail payment is not a determinant of a person’s objective risk to others, and most accused individuals end up purchasing bail bonds due to the inability to afford the bail amount out of pocket. While the bail amount gets returned to the defendant after trial, the bail-bond amount gets paid to a third-party bail agent. A person who goes to trial and is exonerated for the alleged offense should not be made any poorer as a result, yet the system of cash bail channels many people in already precarious financial situations into arrangements which lead exactly to such impoverishment.

 

U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party Positions on 2020 Nevada Ballot Questions

U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party Positions on 2020 Nevada Ballot Questions

Gennady Stolyarov II


The United States Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party offer the following brief statements of position on the ballot questions currently before Nevada voters in the 2020 General Election.

Summary
Nevada State Question 1 – Removal of Constitutional Status of Board of Regents: Neutral
Nevada State Question 2 – Marriage Regardless of Gender Amendment: Support
Nevada State Question 3 – State Board of Pardons Commissioners Amendment: Support
Nevada State Question 4 – State Constitutional Rights of Voters Amendment: Oppose
Nevada State Question 6 – Renewable Energy Standards Initiative: Oppose

Note: There is no substantive Question 5 on the Nevada ballot; Question 5 was intentionally left blank.

Nevada State Ballot Question 1Removal of Constitutional Status of Board of Regents Neutral

Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to: (1) remove provisions governing the election and duties of the Board of Regents and its control and management of the State University and require the Legislature to provide by law for the State University’s governance, control, and management and the reasonable protection of individual academic freedom at Nevada’s public higher education institutions; and (2) revise the administration of certain federal land grant proceeds dedicated for the benefit of certain departments of the State University?” (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party are generally neutral as to the structure of oversight over educational institutions and so are indifferent as to whether Nevada universities are overseen by a separately elected Board of Regents or directly by the Legislature. There is a favorable component of Ballot Question 1 which would mandate for the Legislature to provide by law for “the reasonable protection of individual academic freedom at Nevada’s public higher education institutions” – which would be in addition to any such protections for academic freedom that exist at the U.S. federal level. The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party are supportive of strengthening protections for individual academic freedom; however, if Ballot Question 1 passes, it is not clear what form these protections would take or how substantive they would be. The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party do not see any specific harms arising from Ballot Question 1 but would generally consider the issues involved to be outside the purview of specifically transhumanist political advocacy. Therefore, members are encouraged to vote their conscience on this ballot question by consulting their own individual understandings of the relevant matters.

Nevada State Ballot Question 2Marriage Regardless of Gender Amendment – Support

Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to: (1) remove an existing provision recognizing marriage as only between a male person and a female person and require the State of Nevada and its political subdivisions to recognize marriages of and issue marriage licenses to couples, regardless of gender; (2) require all legally valid marriages to be treated equally under the law; and (3) establish a right for religious organizations and clergy members to refuse to perform a marriage and provide that no person is entitled to make any claim against them for exercising that right?” (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party support Ballot Question 2, which is essentially a recognition of the existing United States law, stemming from the U.S. Supreme Court 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. De facto Nevada already recognizes same-sex marriages, and for the sake of consistency, the Nevada Constitution should also offer this recognition de jure. Moreover, Article XII of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0, supports the right of marriage for all “sentient entities of full age and competency” – without distinction as to the genders of the sentient entities involved.

Nevada State Ballot Question 3 State Board of Pardons Commissioners Amendment Support

Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to: (1) require the State Board of Pardons Commissioners—whose members are the Governor, the justices of the Nevada Supreme Court, and the Nevada Attorney General—to meet at least quarterly; (2) authorize each member of the Board to submit matters for consideration by the Board; and (3) authorize the Board to grant pardons and make other clemency decisions by a majority vote of its members without requiring the Governor to be part of the majority of the Board that votes in favor of such decisions?” (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party support Ballot Question 3 due to the provisions in Article VI, Section XIV, of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform and Article I, Section X, of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform: The United States Transhumanist Party [or Nevada Transhumanist Party] supports efforts to significantly reduce the massive incarcerated population in America by using innovative technologies to monitor criminals outside of prison. All mandatory sentencing laws should be abolished, and each individual should be sentenced based solely on the consideration of the nature of that individual’s crime, its context, and its severity.” More frequent meetings of the State Board of Pardons Commissioners would allow more frequent consideration of circumstances that genuinely justify releasing an individual from prison. This would allow opportunities to lower the excessive incarcerated population in Nevada. Furthermore, the ability to make clemency decisions by a majority of the votes of the State Board of Pardons Commissioners would also enable individuals to be released when the prevailing opinion of the Commissioners is that the facts of the situation justify such release – again contributing to the reduction of needless incarcerations.

Nevada State Ballot Question 4 – State Constitutional Rights of Voters Amendment – Oppose

Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended by adding a new section guaranteeing specific voting rights to all qualified and registered voters in the State?”

Per BallotPedia, “The amendment would provide qualified persons who are registered to vote with a constitutional right to receive and cast a ballot that is written in a ‘format that allows the clear identification of candidates’ and ‘accurately records the voter’s preference in the selection of candidates.’ It also would provide registered voters with other constitutional rights, including:

(a) to have questions about voting procedures answered and have voting procedures posted in a visible location at the polling place;

(b) to vote without intimidation, threats, or coercion;

(c) to vote during any early-voting period or on election day if the voter is in line at the time polls close;

(d) to return a spoiled ballot and receive a replacement ballot;

(e) to request assistance in voting if necessary;

(f) to a sample ballot ‘which is accurate, informative and delivered in a timely manner;’

(g) to receive instruction on how to use voting equipment;

(h) to equal access to the elections system without discrimination, including on the basis of ‘race, age, disability, military service, employment or overseas residence;’

(i) to a ‘uniform, statewide standard for counting and recounting all votes accurately;’ and

(j) to have ‘complaints about elections and election contests resolved fairly, accurately and efficiently.’”

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: While the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party consider the intentions of Ballot Question 4 to be laudable – who could oppose transparency, clarity and freedom from intimidation? – some of the proposed constitutional protections could, as an unintended consequence, entrench an already-obsolete paper-based voting system which should, as soon as the technology is viable and deployable at scale, be replaced with an electronic, blockchain-based system using which people could securely verify their identities and vote from the comfort of their homes. The above-listed protections already exist in Nevada statute, which is adequate to the circumstances and would be more readily open to amendments as the technological possibilities would suggest to be proper, as contrasted with a Constitutional provision which would be extremely difficult to amend once enacted.

The argument of the opponents of Ballot Question 4, as published in the sample ballot provided to Nevada voters, is persuasive: “There is a reason that the voting rights listed in Question 4 exist in statute and have not been added to the Nevada Constitution: these voting rights, while vitally important, are not timeless in their structure or application, and the forms they take may change substantially as the ways in which we vote and conduct elections evolve. Future advances in technology will likely make several of the voting matters addressed by Question 4 – such as written ballots, polling places, and even in-person voting – obsolete.”

Nevada State Ballot Question 6Renewable Energy Standards Initiative Oppose

Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall Article 4 of the Nevada Constitution be amended to require, beginning in calendar year 2022, that all providers of electric utility services who sell electricity to retail customers for consumption in Nevada generate or acquire incrementally larger percentages of electricity from renewable energy resources so that by calendar year 2030 not less than 50 percent of the total amount of electricity sold by each provider to its retail customers in Nevada comes from renewable energy resources?“ (More information on BallotPedia.)

Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party opposes Ballot Question 6. While the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party support economical renewable energy and the acceleration of efforts to develop technologies to render as much of our energy supply renewable as possible, the ability to affordably generate 50 percent of the total electricity through renewable energy resources is ultimately a technological challenge, not a political one. If the technology is ready, and the market is robust and competitive enough to deploy it to consumers at more attractive prices than fossil-fuel energy, then a 50-percent or greater renewable proportion of electricity will be achieved by 2030 without the need for a mandate. If, however, the technology cannot yet render renewable energy competitive with fossil fuels, then the only effect of the mandate would be to push up costs and constrict supply of electricity to consumers. The surest way to bring about a future of greater renewable energy in Nevada is to repeal the NV Energy monopoly which has been standing in its way. Through competition, both technological and marketing innovations will thrive and will deliver renewable energy solutions to consumers.

Gennady Stolyarov II is the Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party and the Chief Executive of the Nevada Transhumanist Party.

This post may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License, which requires that credit be given to the author, Gennady Stolyarov II. Find out about Mr. Stolyarov here.

United States Transhumanist Party Announces Major Internal Reorganization and Launch of the Charlie Kam 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign

United States Transhumanist Party Announces Major Internal Reorganization and Launch of the Charlie Kam 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Gennady Stolyarov II
Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party
E-mail:
gennadystolyarovii@gmail.com 

June 11, 2020 – The United States Transhumanist Party (USTP) is pleased to announce a major internal reorganization undertaken in the interests of advancing the transhumanist movement, improving internal efficiencies, leveraging Officer skill sets, and bringing our internal conversations and outreach to the public in closer alignment with the USTP Values and Platform. 

Highlights:

  • Charlie Kam has been endorsed as the USTP’s 2020 Presidential Candidate and promoted to USTP Director of Marketing.
  • Arin Vahanian has been promoted to USTP Vice-Chairman. 
  • (Art Ramon) Garcia, Jr., has been newly appointed as USTP Director of Visual Art.
  • Tom Ross has assumed the new position of Director of Sentient Rights Advocacy.
  • John J. Kerecz has assumed the new position of Director of Energy Issues.
  • B.J. Murphy has assumed the new position of Director of Foreign Relations.
  • Recent Foreign Ambassador appointments: Christian Meniw in Argentina and Henry Hoyos in Bolivia.
  • Daniel Yeluashvili has joined the USTP Officer team as the new Director of Longevity Outreach. 
  • A six-person USTP Social-Media Team was formed, consisting of USTP Officers Arin Vahanian, Brent Reitze, Tom Ross, Dan Elton, David Shumaker, and Daniel Yeluashvili. 

“This reorganization emphasizes the importance of maintaining a cohesive, civil, techno-optimistic, and constructive approach to the work of the U.S. Transhumanist Party during the last seven months of 2020 and beyond,” USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II explained. “During an extremely difficult time for the United States and for the world, we must ensure that our organization and the broader transhumanist movement remain resilient and continue to produce inspiring output in spite of great turmoil. We must not allow the forces of that turmoil to divide us, but rather should remain a big-tent organization that is welcoming of diverse advocates of a technologically driven future, no matter which conventional political perspectives those individuals choose to espouse.”  

The USTP hereby confirms the departure of Johannon Ben Zion (J. Ben Zion) from our organization. As the USTP and several other groups combined and reorganized, Mr. Ben Zion found himself better aligned with a more directly techno-progressive platform and has opted to head that initiative, leaving his capable running-mate as the USTP’s candidate. Accordingly, the Officers of the USTP have determined to release Mr. Ben Zion from any of his roles and affiliations with the USTP, as well as from any previous endorsements by the USTP. 

In accordance with the rules of succession and as confirmed unanimously by the USTP Officers, the previously endorsed U.S. Vice-Presidential candidate, Charlie Kam, has become the USTP’s endorsed U.S. Presidential nominee. Mr. Kam has also concurrently been promoted to the role of USTP Director of Marketing, and the USTP looks forward to a variety of creative approaches to promoting the USTP brand from an individual with a long-standing history in the transhumanist movement, who has forged effective alliances with celebrities and scientists alike, while entertaining members of our community with his creative films in support of the technological Singularity and longevity research. Mr. Kam’s involvement with the recently formed Institute to Expedite the Singularity, which he co-founded, is a demonstration of his commitment to accelerating beneficial technological progress.

Charlie Kam, 2020 U.S. Presidential Nominee and Director of Marketing, United States Transhumanist Party

After the confirmation of his endorsement by the USTP, Mr. Kam released the following statement: “I am both excited and honored to be the 2020 Presidential nominee of the USTP.  I’ve been a Transhumanist for decades, having studied books by Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, K. Eric Drexler, and other great thinkers. I hosted and sponsored the TransVision 2007 conference with scientist and celebrity speakers, including William Shatner. I’ve produced many films and songs on the subject, and have long believed that the human race can ‘evolve’ beyond its current physical and mental limitations by means of science and technology. The goal of my candidacy is to help spread these ideas to the benefit of all of humankind.”

Chairman Stolyarov commented on the USTP’s endorsement of Mr. Kam’s campaign, “Above all, the USTP’s Presidential nominee is a spokesperson for the ideas and goals of transhumanism, and the USTP has always sought individuals whose dedication to those ideas and goals takes precedence over any personal ambitions. Charlie Kam is a prime example of this kind of person. He has worked for decades to forge the transhumanist movement into what it is today, and he has done it out of a passion for seeing the future articulated by the great scientists and innovators whom he mentioned come to pass during our lifetimes. Charlie Kam is universally admired and respected throughout transhumanist and life-extensionist circles. I can think of no better nominee to focus the remainder of the 2020 election season on healing our community, withstanding the pandemic, and ensuring that transhumanism comes out of it healthier and more vibrant than ever before.” 

Arin Vahanian, Vice-Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party

In recognition of his dedication to the USTP and passionate advocacy of transhumanism and life extension, the USTP’s previous Director of Marketing, Arin Vahanian, has been promoted to the role of Vice-Chairman. Mr. Vahanian has worked extensively to cultivate mainstream appeal of transhumanism, necessary for our movement to become a major cultural, societal, and political influence. In response to this appointment, Mr. Vahanian stated, “Improving the human condition through advancements in science and technology is something that is very near and dear to me. Therefore, the opportunity to serve as Vice-Chairman of the USTP is a tremendous honor. I hope to repay everyone’s trust in me by doing the best I can to continue our advocacy work and spread the word about our party and our movement’s focus and dedication on improving the human condition by leveraging science and technology.”

(Art Ramon) Garcia, Jr., Director of Visual Art, United States Transhumanist Party

The USTP has also at last satisfied its goal of filling its long-vacant position of Director of Visual Art. Esthetics constitute an important part of political communication and public relations, and the addition of a talented painter and graphic designer, (Art Ramon) Garcia, Jr., will enable the USTP’s output in this area to reach new heights. Mr. Garcia’s ambitions for the future of human creativity are immense and multi-faceted. He depicts his transhumanist belief in his artwork while creating novel symbols to represent the belief within his works. He envisions becoming an immortal AI-enhanced posthuman who will one day build the largest art gallery space on Mars. Mr. Garcia’s paintings can be viewed here, and he has also contributed a multitude of concepts to the USTP’s Free Transhumanist Symbols project. 

Mr. Garcia outlined his objectives in his new position:

“As Director of Visual Art, my goal is to assist the party in all facets of artistic, visual, and creative tasks that are required of any organization wishing to present itself to a targeted audience in order to promote its goals while attracting supporters. This can include anything from graphic design and web design, which are my stronger skillsets. However, I’m open to learning skills in the area of video and audio production.”

“In addition, I also have connections within the art community which can be leveraged for tasks that may be beyond my skill level.”

“Secondly, as a creative brainstormer, my goal is to present ideas that may have been overlooked or not considered by the Party, as well as to identify caveats not foreseen by others, which can assist with decision making and guidance of the Party. As a self-identifying transhumanist for almost 5 years, who constantly read on the subject, numerous ideas have sparked in my head, but I had nowhere to apply them.”

“Third, my personal objective is to be fully informed of all facets of transhumanist research, direction, technology, and culture, as I decide how to evolve my current form into the immortal posthuman cybernetic being I wish to become. In this new form, I’ll be able to achieve self-actualization as an artist without the worry of a decaying body, since at present most of my time is spent working for monetary compensation in order to fulfill basic needs, depriving me of valuable artistic improvement and creation of artworks.”

Tom Ross, Director of Sentient Rights Advocacy, United States Transhumanist Party

Tom Ross, who has capably served as Director of Media Production for the USTP since early 2019 and created numerous engaging, high-quality graphics and videos for our organization, has stepped into a newly formed position, Director of Sentient Rights Advocacy. This position will apply the provisions of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0, to the extent achievable in the contemporary world, and work for the protection of sentient entities whose rights are under threat, identifying ways to creatively use technology and applied rationality to resolve long-standing societal problems that endanger the rights of sentient entities.  “I joined the USTP because it has real-world ideas to fight Modern Slavery and includes definitions of and proactive solutions for achieving Sentient Rights,” Mr. Ross stated. “This is the central theme of my work as an author and as an A.I. advocate, so I am extremely excited to be named Director of Sentient Rights Advocacy. As such, I look forward to further publicizing the USTP’s definitions, aligning with Sentient Rights groups of all levels, and co-producing awareness campaigns to secure these rights well into the future.”

John J. Kerecz, Director of Energy Issues, United States Transhumanist Party

John J. Kerecz, a unifying presence within the USTP’s ranks, has assumed the new role of Director of Energy Issues to capitalize on his expertise in energy assurance and resiliency. This position will focus on energy policy and innovation. As energy supports the entire infrastructure of technological development and contemporary life more generally, Mr. Kerecz’s expertise in this realm will inform the USTP’s advocacy regarding how our civilization could always cleanly and affordably maintain sufficient energy to develop the advances we need to fundamentally improve the human condition. Mr. Kerecz expressed his support for the USTP’s goals and stated, “I believe in the future of tomorrow and that future is what we are making happen through the USTP.”

B.J. Murphy, Director of Foreign Relations, United States Transhumanist Party

B.J. Murphy, who originated and has capably managed the USTP Foreign Ambassador Program, has formalized his role in this area by stepping into the newly created position of Director of Foreign Relations. Mr. Murphy will continue his present duties in that role, and the USTP looks forward to expanding our international reach through active Foreign Ambassadors and Allied Members. The USTP has added multiple Foreign Ambassadors in 2020. Since the last announcements of such additions were made, the USTP welcomed Dr. Christian Meniw as the new Foreign Ambassador in Argentina and Henry Hoyos as the new Foreign Ambassador in Bolivia. Dr. Meniw currently has two projects related to the future of Latin America. The first project is to provide a new path forward through the economic and political landscape through the development of megalopolis, and the second one is called Society 5.0+, which aims to establish the democratization and decentralization of emerging technology. Mr. Hoyos has expertise in building business models in telecommunications, cybersecurity, Smart City development, and digital transformation, and is currently developing biosecurity, telemedicine, and tele-education business models based on emerging neuroscience and digitalization.

Daniel Yeluashvili, Director of Longevity Outreach, United States Transhumanist Party

A crucial initiative on which the USTP has been collaborating with Dr. Meniw has been our widely publicized Proposal for Argentina to Declare a Mandate for Longer Life Spans and the Reasonable Treatment of Aging as an Ailment, which has advanced to increasing prominence in discussions with Argentine officials. USTP member and Climate Advisor Daniel Yeluashvili has been instrumental in spearheading and sustaining this initiative, and the USTP has recognized Mr. Yeluashvili’s efforts in this regard by designating him as the USTP’s new Director of Longevity Outreach. Mr. Yeluashvili also has considerable expertise on climate issues and has provided thoughtful input into the USTP’s Platform proposals since the onset of member voting within the USTP 3.5 years ago.

Many other USTP Officers will continue in their current roles and collaborate with the realigned Officer positions described above. Officers continuing in their current positions are Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II, Secretary Pavel Ilin, Vice-Secretary Caeus H. Antony, Director of Admissions and Public Relations Dinorah Delfin, Director of Applied Innovation David Shumaker, Director of Publication Brent Logan Reitze, Director of Scholarship Dan Elton, and Legislative Director Justin Waters. “This reorganization is intended to be a set of changes to harness various incremental improvements, but it should not be seen as a disruptive or revolutionary type of change,” Chairman Stolyarov explained. “Everything good about how the USTP has previously operated will be retained and amplified. This set of changes is intended to preserve all that we have accomplished during our first 5.5 years as an organization, while setting the stage for further progress. At this time, steady leadership, incremental improvement, and preservation of our achievements and values are essential to steer our organization amidst a world in chaos.”  

The USTP Officers have also made active efforts to enhance the regularity and quality of the USTP’s social-media presence. In the past, the USTP had Director of Social Media and Director of Media Production positions; however, the USTP Officers have recognized that the responsibilities of these roles pertain to an extremely broad array of tasks and areas of involvement. Accordingly, distributing the workload of social-media promotion and content creation to a six-person team was decided to be more effective from the standpoint of attending to the wide variety of the USTP’s social-media activities and coordinating on the production and distribution of USTP-endorsed content. The members of the USTP Social-Media Team also hold other Officer roles in our organization. They are Arin Vahanian, Vice-Chairman, Dan Elton, Director of Scholarship, Brent Logan Reitze, Director of Publication, Tom Ross, Director of Sentient Rights Advocacy, David Shumaker, Director of Applied Innovation, and Daniel Yeluashvili, Director of Longevity Outreach. “Each of the six Social-Media Team members has a skill set that is distinctively suited to this realm,” explained USTP Chairman Stolyarov. “Even more importantly, each of them has a thoughtful and rational demeanor that allows for sincere and civil communication to transpire in determining what content to create and share. If these six individuals can agree on a decision to distribute any content, we can be assured that such content will be of high quality and reflective of the USTP’s principles and objectives.” The USTP has already begun more active social-media outreach efforts, with Director of Scholarship Dan Elton greatly amplifying the frequency of our Twitter posts. Through regular, high-quality social-media offerings, the USTP hopes to expand its reach and the rate of growth of its membership, and the USTP Officers look forward to the Social-Media Team’s work in advancing these aims.

The USTP takes the opportunity offered by this reorganization to reaffirm its commitment to the pursuit of superlongevity, the philosophy of transhumanism, and its techno-optimistic vision of a future where historical and contemporary human limitations are overcome and longer, better lives are achieved for all sentient entities. To our members, our Advisors, our state-level affiliates, our Allied Organizations, and to the transhumanist and life-extensionist community more broadly, we expect this reorganization to enable a more high-minded, inclusive, resilient, and constructive expression of the USTP’s Core Ideals and aspirations – a dedication to our founding documents and to upholding the decisions of our members, while preventing the divisions of mainstream politics from imposing themselves upon our interactions and endeavors. We look forward to what the Kam 2020 campaign and the realigned Officer team can achieve.