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My Path to Transhumanism and Becoming the First Transhumanist Party Member to Hold Political Office in North America – Article by Gerald Shields

My Path to Transhumanism and Becoming the First Transhumanist Party Member to Hold Political Office in North America – Article by Gerald Shields

Gerald Shields


In 2016 I changed my political party membership to Transumanist on my voter registration card. Then, I became a town councilmember of the Town of Berwyn Heights in Maryland. I served in that role from October 2016 to May 2018. I believe I am the first Transhumanist Party member to hold a political office in North America (during the time period of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s existence).

Gerald Shields at the Library of Congress in 2013. Photograph from Gerald Shields

My path to Transhumanism has been varied and interesting. I changed my voter registration for a variety of reasons. During the 2016 election cycle, I was disappointed in the various election platforms of the major parties. I thought that pushing the goal of making humanity a two-planet species was a more important goal than what was listed in those parties’ platforms. After some research for alternative parties, I discovered Mr. Zoltan Istvan’s campaign for the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Mr. Istvan called for a medical Moonshot program. Even though it was not a direct step to a two-planet species, it was a step in the correct direction to long-term colonization of other stars. I contacted the campaign, and I saw that there were no campaign posters for an internet-based campaign. I realized that without visual legitimacy, the transhumanist ideas will not get much traction. A visual will look good on television, blogs, and YouTube. A visual aids in the message. I helped create campaign posters with Ms. Chelsea Gilbert. It was my idea to use vector graphics in orange and black with classic Americana political phrases to illustrate some transhumanist ideas. The idea is to tap into the Americana meme under the banner of the Transhumanist Party without causing future shock. The goal is to stir the passion of our members as discussed during the various transhumanist conversations on YouTube.

The phrases I proposed were:

“The Future is here. The Transhumanist Party.”

“We can do it….With the Transhumanist Party.”

“The Transhumanist Party builds the Future.”

“Wake up America with the Transhumanist Party.”

“Reclaim America. Join the fight for the future and the Transhumanist Party.”

During the campaign, I attended several Washington, DC, and Seattle, Washington, transhumanist meetings, during which I met Zoltan in person.

 On October 3 2016 at Berwyn Heights Town Office, Gerald Shields (left) was sworn by Mayor Jewitt (right) in an a member of the town council. Photograph from Gerald Shields

Then, as part of my political path, I was on the Town Council of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, from October 2016 to May 2018. The competition was nonpartisan between a total of three people. I filled an empty position on the Town Council, and this was done via a special appointment, not a general election. However, in normal times, this is a nonpartisan, general-election position. I believe I am the first Transhumanist  Party member to hold a political office in North America (during the time of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s existence). During the special appointment, I campaigned on a very local and non-glamorous issue of improved storm drains. Storm drains are important because, in Berwyn Heights, there was a 100-year storm that flooded the basements of several houses.  On a town or even county level, there really is no way to have a longevity Moonshot in my view.  I am a very practical and nuts-and-bolts (no transhumanist pun intended) type of person, who wants this Party to be a success.  However, when I was on the Town Council, my political portfolio was Parks & Recreation, Education, and Civic Affairs; not Public Works. I laid the foundation for the town’s policy on non-governmental organizations. During my term, Berwyn Heights achieved the title of Banner City for the first time and attained other objectives due to my efforts. At the end of my term, I achieved my Parks and Recreation goals, so I decided not to run in the election.

Right now, the public view of transhumanism is characterized by cyborgs and other scary things. We must adapt and put forth the benefits of increased medical knowledge and increased energy resources in a beneficial way while addressing the general public’s concerns. That is why I suggested to Zoltan to emphasize the Good Neighbor Next Door policy.  The Good Neighbor Next Door policy would focus on volunteering on local committees, such as Neighborhood Watch, the State Government’s official State Defense Force, Green Team, or other local small-town groups, as well as just saying “Hi” to one’s neighbors, to show that one is a normal person who cares about local matters. Also, I suggested that Zoltan post photos of himself and his kids because this would make him more relatable to other fathers. Then, as time progresses, Transhumanists who follow this approach would show that they are ready, willing, and, most importantly, able to lead in political positions.

That is my varied path to Transhumanism and becoming the first U.S. Transhumanist Party member to hold a Town Council political office.

Gerald Shields is a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and was a Town Council Member in Berwyn Heights, Maryland, between October 2016 and May 2018. 

To Maryland Governor Larry Hogan: Liberate Vaccine Doses from the FDA! – Article by Dan Elton and Edward Hudgins

To Maryland Governor Larry Hogan: Liberate Vaccine Doses from the FDA! – Article by Dan Elton and Edward Hudgins

Daniel C. Elton, Ph.D.
Edward Hudgins, Ph.D.


Note from the Authors: This was an op-ed we wrote in the first week of February 2021. Unfortunately, no newspaper wanted to publish it. We first submitted it to the Baltimore Sun, which promptly turned it down. We then submitted it to the Capitol Gazette, The Washington Times, and The Washington Examiner but never heard back from any of them. Sadly, this op-ed is just as relevant today as when we first wrote it almost two months ago. Since it was written, the evidence for the safety and efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine has only gotten stronger. An observational study of millions of people in Scotland published in early March found that a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine offers ~94% protection against hospitalization, outperforming Pfizer’s vaccine, which offered ~85% protection. Last week AstraZeneca reached an endpoint in the Phase III trial in the United States that the FDA requested, finding an efficacy of 76%, very similar to the previous Phase III trial result (70%). Despite all this, there has been no action from the FDA,and millions of AstraZeneca doses remain languishing in factories in Baltimore, Maryland and West Chester, Ohio as thousands of American taxpayers that are desperate for them die every day.

~ Daniel C. Elton and Edward Hudgins, March 31, 2021


If Maryland Governor Larry Hogan acts immediately and decisively, he can save thousands of Marylanders from suffering and death from COVID-19. A facility in Baltimore produces the very effective AstraZeneca vaccine and has stockpiled millions of doses. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, headquartered in suburban Maryland, which must certify all vaccines and medical treatments before patients can reap their benefits, is holding those doses hostage to its antiquated, bureaucratic red tape. Hogan should act now to liberate the vaccine to save the lives of Marylanders.

Over a year into the pandemic, over 8,200 Marylanders have died, and some 410,000 have suffered from COVID-19. Marylanders have suffered from a chronic shortage of the FDA-approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. AstraZeneca is approved in the E.U. and 19 other countries. So as our morgues fill up, what’s the FDA’s excuse for delay?

The AstraZeneca vaccine has passed Phase I and Phase II efficacy trials, which were published in the medical journal The Lancet in July and November 2020. A Phase III peer-reviewed study that was conducted in three other countries indicates the vaccine has an efficacy of 70 percent, ranging from 62 percent to 90 percent with different dosages. Most importantly, the vaccine showed a 100-percent efficacy at preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. The AstraZeneca vaccine was also the first shown in a scientific study to reduce transmission. And unlike the two already-approved vaccines, it requires only regular rather than ultra-cold refrigeration. It has been given to over one million people in the U.K. without safety issues detected, yet FDA has requested that AstraZeneca redo most of their Phase III trials using patients from the U.S.

Some media outlets have reported that AstraZeneca’s vaccine “may not work” in the elderly. Unfortunately, AstraZeneca’s Phase III data published so far does not allow for efficacy to be determined for those older than 65. However, Phase I & II trials showed a similar immune response after the second dose across all age groups, including those over 65, so there are good reasons to believe the efficacy should be similar for the elderly. Even if the efficacy is much lower, because the elderly are at such high risk it still makes sense to give them the vaccine in order to save lives. This was shown clearly by Oxford bioethicists Jonathan Pugh and Julian Savulescu, who ran some numbers to show the grave consequences of denying the vaccine to the elderly. It is also true that recent results show the AstraZeneca vaccine is not very effective against the South African variant at preventing mild forms of COVID-19. However, the current study only addressed mild illness and AstraZeneca’s vaccine gives a similar immune response to Pfizer’s vaccine, which has been shown to protect strongly against hospitalization from the South African variant. The World Health Organization recently released guidance recommending the rollout of the vaccine not be halted due to this finding and that the vaccine be given to all age groups. 

The U.S. government has already contracted for 300 million doses of the vaccine, costing taxpayers over $1 billion. Yet with thousands dying daily and many more suffering from COVID-19 across the county, the FDA projects they won’t approve the vaccine until late April.  

Since FDA won’t certify the AstraZeneca vaccine immediately, Governor Hogan should act. He might invoke emergency authority to simply take possession of enough of the AstraZeneca vaccine supply in the Baltimore factory producing it to meet Maryland’s needs. But this would likely be unnecessary. He should request that the facility release the vaccine and inform them that the state will likely be able to guarantee no adverse repercussions from the FDA. After all, during the past decade over 40 states passed “Right To Try” laws that allowed terminally ill patients to access safe treatments not certified by FDA for efficacy. The only “repercussion”: in 2018 Congress passed bipartisan legislation, signed by President Trump, recognizing the state’s authority to do so. 

But in parallel, Hogan should call on President Biden to issue an executive order suspending the need for final FDA certification in this exceptional case.

Or Biden, backed strongly by the Maryland Congressional delegation, could request Congress pass emergency legislation creating a Free To Choose Medicine track parallel to FDA’s normal, slow certification process, on which COVID vaccines, tested safe and promising in Phase II or III trials, could be accessed by individuals, with informed consent. Such a track was created in 1992 for AIDS treatments, saving the lives of thousands of sufferers.

Or Biden could request Congress pass a reciprocity law certifying for the use of Americans any COVID treatment approved  in other advanced countries. Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21) and Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-TX) have introduced legislation allowing for reciprocal approval of drugs approved in other trusted countries. This proposal could be focused to allow access to COVID vaccines.

Since AstraZeneca is produced in Maryland and the FDA headquarters is also in Maryland, Hogan is in an ideal position to be the hero, shake things up, and break the bureaucratic walls separating citizens from a lifesaving medication.

If you agree that Hogan should act now, please sign this petition on Change.org:
Larry Hogan : Liberate the AstraZeneca vaccine from the FDA!

Ed Hudgins is founder of the Human Achievement Alliance and a science policy researcher.  He can be reached at ehudgins@humanachievementalliance.org. Dan Elton is  Director of Scholarship at the US Transhumanist Party.  You can reach him via direct message on Twitter (@moreisdifferent).

Where to Write In Charlie Kam for President of the United States – and How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Where to Write In Charlie Kam for President of the United States – and How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Support the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Endorsed Kam-Parrish 2020 Campaign! Write Them In!

The United States Transhumanist Party (USTP) offers this guidance to its members and to other interested persons among the general public who wish to support the USTP-endorsed ticket of Charlie Kam for President of the United States and Elizabeth (Liz) Parrish for Vice-President of the United States.

Because the Republican-Democratic duopoly set up formidable petition-signature barriers to ballot access, and then effectively prohibited the gathering of petition signatures during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the USTP considers the ballot-access process to be rigged and fundamentally unjust. Besides, the USTP could not, in good conscience, risk the safety and health of its valued volunteers in order to gather in-person petition signatures during a deadly pandemic. We are, after all, a party that prioritizes healthy life extension. Instead the USTP encourages as many U.S. registered voters as possible to write in Charlie Kam and Liz Parrish in every state where write-in options exist pursuant to law.

Find your state among the five categories listed on the map below. If you support the Kam-Parrish 2020 ticket, you are then encouraged to follow the guidance pertaining to that category of states.

During the 2021-2024 time period, the USTP hopes to collaborate with other alternative political parties and advocacy organizations to lower as many barriers to ballot access as possible, in as many jurisdictions as possible.

States That Allow Automatic Write-In Access and Do Not Limit Ballot Pictures

States That Allow Automatic Write-In Access – But Prohibit Ballot Pictures

States That Allow Write-In Candidates and Do Not Limit Ballot Pictures – But We Need to Count the Votes

States That Allow Write-In Candidates – But Prohibit Ballot Pictures – But We Still Need to Count the Votes

States That Disallow Write-In Candidates

Why Vote Transhumanist in 2020?

 

States That Allow Automatic Write-In Access and Do Not Limit Ballot Pictures

Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wyoming

Actions Recommended: Write in Charlie Kam as your Presidential candidate of choice. If there is space for a Vice-Presidential candidate, write in Elizabeth Parrish.

E-mail us a picture of your marked ballot or simply let us know that you voted for Charlie Kam. Send your e-mail to ustranshumanistparty@protonmail.com

These states will probably count your vote, but we want to count your vote as well and do it sooner! Also, we have no guarantee that these states will publish known vote totals for write-in candidates, but we certainly will.

States That Allow Automatic Write-In Access – But Prohibit Ballot Pictures

Alabama, New Jersey

Actions Recommended: Write in Charlie Kam as your Presidential candidate of choice. If there is space for a Vice-Presidential candidate, write in Elizabeth Parrish.

E-mail us to let us know that you voted for Charlie Kam. Send your e-mail to ustranshumanistparty@protonmail.com

However, please do not send pictures of marked ballots.

These states will probably count your vote, but we want to count your vote as well and do it sooner! Also, we have no guarantee that these states will publish known vote totals for write-in candidates, but we certainly will.

These states unfortunately prohibit “ballot selfies” or pictures of marked ballots, so please only tell us that you voted for Charlie Kam but do not send us actual pictures. We will believe you and count your vote.

States That Allow Write-In Candidates and Do Not Limit Ballot Pictures – But We Need to Count the Votes

Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia

Actions Recommended: Write in Charlie Kam as your Presidential candidate of choice. If there is space for a Vice-Presidential candidate, write in Elizabeth Parrish.

E-mail us a picture of your marked ballot or simply let us know that you voted for Charlie Kam. This will be important to ensure that your vote is counted, because the state will likely not publish the official totals.

States That Allow Write-In Candidates – But Prohibit Ballot Pictures – But We Still Need to Count the Votes

Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Wisconsin

Actions Recommended: Write in Charlie Kam as your Presidential candidate of choice. If there is space for a Vice-Presidential candidate, write in Elizabeth Parrish.

E-mail us to let us know that you voted for Charlie Kam. However, please do not send pictures of marked ballots.

E-mailing us to simply let us know you voted is highly encouraged, since this will be important to ensure that your vote is counted, because the state will likely not publish the official totals.

States That Disallow Write-In Candidates

Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota

Actions Recommended: Vote your conscience for the candidate / ticket appearing on the ballot whom you most prefer.

The above nine states above unfortunately disallow write-in candidates altogether, and therefore you would not have the option to write in Charlie Kam for President. The U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages you to vote your conscience based on which of the other candidates on the ballot would most closely reflect your personal views and policy preferences.

Note that the Libertarian Party ticket of Jo Jorgensen and Spike Cohen is on the ballot in all 50 states. Spike Cohen has been gracious in engaging with the U.S. Transhumanist Party and articulating many shared goals in the USTP Virtual Enlightenment Salon of September 13, 2020. Jo Jorgensen participated in the Free and Equal Elections Foundation Open Presidential Debate, co-sponsored by USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II, in Chicago on March 4, 2020.

The Green Party ticket of Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker is on the ballot in Arkansas, Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Carolina. Howie Hawkins participated in the Free and Equal Elections Foundation Open Presidential Debate, co-sponsored by USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II, in Chicago on March 4, 2020.

The American Solidarity Party ticket of Brian Carroll and Amar Patel is on the ballot in Mississippi. Brian Carroll participated in the Free and Equal Elections Foundation Open Presidential Debate, co-sponsored by USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II, in Chicago on March 4, 2020.

Why Vote Transhumanist in 2020?

In case you need additional persuasion to write in Charlie Kam and support the Kam-Parrish ticket, here are some basic reasons.

  • Your one vote will not decide the outcome of the Presidential election, even in battleground states. But it can send a message that the status quo is broken and a dramatic refocusing of American politics is needed. We can do better than the duopoly! The disgraceful Trump-Biden debate of September 29, 2020, clearly showed that America deserves far better spokespeople on the political stage.
  • Let the political establishment know that ignoring science and technology is no longer palatable. Technological progress, particularly in medicine, is urgently needed to overcome the numerous crises of our time.
  • Support dedicated life-extension advocates such as Charlie Kam and Liz Parrish. Enable them to reach new audiences and show the public that radical life extension is feasible and desirable.
  • Help us build public awareness for policy discussions that the U.S. Transhumanist Party routinely engages in, regarding emerging technologies and how to accelerate innovation and progress. We have had a legislative success already! (Nevada, May 2019)
  • Help grow membership of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for future activism, outreach, and societal change – building toward an immortal culture that embraces continuous progress and improvement and removal of barriers to these aspirations.

 

U.S. Transhumanist Party Official Week of Mourning for Duncan Socrates Lemp

U.S. Transhumanist Party Official Week of Mourning for Duncan Socrates Lemp

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The U.S. Transhumanist Party hereby declares an official Week of Mourning for our member, technologist and entrepreneur Duncan Socrates Lemp (1997 – 2020), who joined the USTP on September 6, 2019, and remained a member in good standing until he was murdered by trigger-happy masked SWAT police in Potomac, Maryland, on March 12, 2020, while asleep.

More information is found here: “Lawyer: Man killed by officer was asleep when police fired” – Article by Michael Kunzelman, ABC News – March 13, 2020

The Week of Mourning will last from March 14 through March 21, 2020.

During the Week of Mourning, the U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages everyone who knew Duncan Lemp to post accounts regarding his character and accomplishments, as well as any art and other imagery that would enable his memory to be preserved. Furthermore, during the Week of Mourning and beyond, the U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages all of its members and others to oppose senseless police violence and advocate for holding the police who killed Duncan Lemp accountable for their careless and ignominious misdeeds and atrocities. Member-generated content that preserves the memory of Mr. Lemp and expresses outrage at murders by police will be featured on the U.S. Transhumanist Party website with attribution to the authors.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party has taken a strong stance in opposition to police violence. Section XXI of the USTP Platform reads, “The United States Transhumanist Party supports a concerted effort by governments and by public opinion to eradicate police brutality against peaceful citizens, such that violent force is only utilized against individuals who actually pose an imminent threat to human lives.” The USTP Platform advocates for numerous other measures to quell police brutality, including Section XXXIV (sousveillance / body cameras), Section LXXXIX (prohibition against police being equipped with military-grade hardware), Section XC (requirement for police to be equipped with and mostly use rubber bullets), Section LIX (requirement for outside investigations of police misconduct), Section LX (prohibition of collusion among law-enforcement entities to cover up police misbehavior), Section LXXXVI (improved reporting of police misconduct), and various additional approaches to achieve police accountability. We firmly believe that, had our Platform planks been codified into law and enforced, Duncan Socrates Lemp would have been alive today. All persons of conscience should push for the unconscionable prerogatives of police use of violence to be greatly curtailed everywhere in the United States, as they have been in virtually every other civilized country.