Browsed by
Month: July 2017

U.S. Transhumanist Party Supports U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, Approved By 122 Member States

U.S. Transhumanist Party Supports U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, Approved By 122 Member States

Martin van der Kroon


The U.S. Transhumanist Party applauds the efforts by members of the United Nations (UN) to ban nuclear weapons.

On Friday, 7 July, 122 of the 193 member states adopted the treaty to ban nuclear weapons, which is “the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty to be concluded in more than 20 years,” according to Elayne Whyte Gomez, president of the UN conference that negotiated the treaty.

Unfortunately none of the nine member states that possess nuclear weapons (United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel), or are thought to have such weapons  supported the treaty. The Netherlands also opposed the treaty, as it has U.S. owned nuclear weapons within its borders at Volkel military air base, and Singapore abstained from voting.

We, the U.S. Transhumanist Party, oppose the use of nuclear weapons, as per Article III, Section III, of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution.

“However, a minority of technologies could be detrimental to human well-being and, as such, their application, when it results in detrimental consequences, should be opposed. Examples of such detrimental technologies include nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons . . .”

Furthermore, we support the complete abolition of nuclear weapons as outlined in Section IV:

“In recognition of the dire existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to sapient life on Earth – including as a result of such weapons’ accidental deployment due to system failures or human misunderstanding – the United States Transhumanist Party advocates the complete dismantlement and abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere, as rapidly as possible. If necessary for geopolitical stability, synchronized multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties should be pursued, strengthened, and accelerated in the most expeditious manner. If, however, multilateral agreements among nations are not reached, then the United States Transhumanist Party advocates that all nuclear powers, especially the United States and Russia, should undertake unilateral nuclear disarmament at the earliest opportunity in order to preserve civilization from accidental annihilation.”

It is our hope that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that entered into force in 1970, as well as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons of 2017 (Draft), is part of an ongoing process for the disarmament and abolition of all nuclear weapons by every nation. 

Martin van der Kroon is Director of Recruitment for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

 

Will Today’s Disabled Become Tomorrow’s First Post-Human? – Article by B.J. Murphy

Will Today’s Disabled Become Tomorrow’s First Post-Human? – Article by B.J. Murphy

logo_bg

B.J. Murphy


Needs will almost always come before wants. When it comes to Transhumanism, the ability to differentiate the two tends to blur, because a need could also be a want depending on the various methods of achieving a need. There’s the “getting by” need and then there’s the “thriving” need.

For the disabled, this dichotomy determines how well they’ll get by in life. If someone loses a leg, then simply getting by could be achieved with a cane, a walker, or even a low-tech prosthetic. However, if this person wishes to thrive in life, then a high-tech prosthetic would be much more preferable, though could also be considered a want rather than a need.

For Transhumanism to work, however, I’d argue that the ability to thrive should be considered an absolute necessity. Thus when it comes to the disabled, I believe they deserve the ability to reach post-humanity before anyone else. In all actuality, this is already happening.

Read More Read More

Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 2.0, Featured in Catalan TV Documentary on Cyborgs

Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 2.0, Featured in Catalan TV Documentary on Cyborgs

logo_bg

Gennady Stolyarov II


The Catalan television channel TV3 has published a new documentary, entitled “Sense ficció – Cíborgs entre nosaltres” (“Not Fiction – Cyborgs Among Us”), which is available to be viewed on YouTube. In addition to featuring today’s cutting-edge augmentations to human senses and several individuals who have already been enhanced with such augmentations, this documentary, in its latter segment, focuses on Zoltan Istvan’s 2015-2016 campaign for President as the candidate of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. As part of that segment (starting at 48:13 in the linked video), the documentary features screenshots of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Version 2.0, which was adopted democratically by the members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party via an electronic vote held between December 25 and December 31, 2016.

While the film is in Catalan, it is possible to receive an approximate automated translation of the subtitles into any major language, including English. To see the translated subtitles in English, go to the YouTube page linked above and click the “CC” button for “Subtitles / Closed Captions”. Under the gear-shaped “Settings” button, select “Subtitles / CC” > “Auto-Translate” > “English”. The translation is not perfect but is mostly intelligible. This feature is a fitting illustration of how technology has advanced in certain areas – such as auto-translate algorithms – which renders it possible to now watch films in other languages and mostly comprehend them without needing to learn those languages directly.

As the organizer of the vote to adopt the Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Version 2.0, I consider it an honor to have spearheaded this endeavor and thus to have contributed to how transhumanist ideas are perceived in the media. It is excellent to see that the new Transhumanist Party website is beginning to become a go-to source for media and other interested persons to find out about our positions and aspirations for the future.

Screenshots of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights from the documentary are below.

Results of Platform Vote #5 and Adopted Sections

Results of Platform Vote #5 and Adopted Sections

logo_bg

Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party conducted its sixth vote of the members and the fifth vote on its platform planks on June 18 through June 24, 2017. Official ballot options can be found here.

Detailed results of the voting have been tabulated here. In one instance, where no majority was reached in the first round of voting, options were selected based on the ranked-preference method with instant runoffs.

As a result, the following sections of Article III of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution were adopted.

Section XLVII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to have bills proposed without sub-sections or provisions unrelated to the main subject of the bill. A single-subject or germaneness rule for bills would:

  1. Simplify bills, rendering them more accessible and less convoluted;
  2. Enable a focused vote for or against a bill without the possibility of having to accept or reject an embedded unrelated provision; and
  3. Prevent an unrelated provision from being buried within a bill as a possible tactic to have it passed.

Section XLVIII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to limit protectionism and subsidization of an industry or group of companies. The exception to this would be that of extenuating circumstances, such as natural disasters or catastrophes, in which case a limited window of support could be approved. The United States Transhumanist Party understands that in a free-market society, private businesses, in order to continue their existence, ought to adapt to market changes instead of being shielded from such changes.

Section XLIX: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to increase autonomy of individuals to decide over their own bodies and holds that individuals should have the legal right to undertake procedures including gender reassignment, hysterectomies, vasectomies, technological augmentation, cosmetic alterations, genetic enhancements, and physical supplementation at or after the age of 18 years, as long as this does not create health hazards or threats to other individuals.

Section L: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the autonomy of an individual to decide on the continuation of that individual’s own life, including the right to choose or not to choose life-extending medical treatments. The United States Transhumanist Party does not consider it practicable or desirable for suicide to be illegal but discourages suicide from a moral standpoint, and furthermore considers that the legal right of suicide should only pertain to the individual and should not extend to any euthanasia or direct administration of a life-ending substance or procedure by any other person. The United States Transhumanist Party has grave concerns with anybody but the individual acting to hasten the end of that individual’s life.

Although each individual should be free to decide upon the duration of his, her, or its own life, the United States Transhumanist Party supports cultural changes and discussions that would encourage all individuals to undertake life-prolonging choices and activities. Advances in medical technology would facilitate more open-ended lifespans and would enable individuals to choose either finite or indefinite lengths of their lives. However, if individuals are recognized as having this autonomy, the United States Transhumanist Party is interested in persuading as many people as possible to decide to preserve their irreplaceable lives instead of hastening their end.

With regard to any legalization of assisted suicide or measures to provide patients with life-ending prescriptions, the United States Transhumanist Party supports stringent legal safeguards to ensure that each individual patient’s choice with regard to such matters is entirely free and uncoerced, and that there is no steering of any particular individual toward a life-ending choice by family members, medical practitioners, health insurers, activists, or any other individual or organization standing to benefit financially from the end of a patient’s life. However, efforts to persuade an individual to prolong his, her, or its life should not be restricted.

The United States Transhumanist Party opposes the emergence of any financially motivated lobby or industry whose primary business model would be assisted suicide or euthanasia, as the existence of such a lobby could create incentives and policies to steer people toward life-ending choices, including through legislation that might favor such “choices” in not-quite-voluntary situations. Instead, any prescription for a life-ending substance should only be provided as an incidental service by a patient’s primary-care physician, with the express written consent of at least one other unaffiliated physician, and the substance in question should only be allowed to be self-administered by the patient directly after a pre-defined time period since the obtaining of the prescription. Once the substance is prescribed, no medical practitioner should be permitted to benefit financially based on any specific choice of the patient to self-administer the substance to end the patient’s life. This position should not be construed to restrict any non-financially motivated political advocacy on the subject of assisted suicide, which involves individuals expressing their views on this subject in a public forum, when those individuals do not stand to gain financially from others choosing to obtain a life-ending substance.

Section LI: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to establish a cross-border or international organ-donation system so that organ donors who wish to do so may donate their organs in a foreign country. This could pertain to Americans working or traveling in foreign countries, but also foreigners or travelers who pass away within U.S. borders. This system would be particularly useful for saving lives with organs that have a very short preservation duration, and would take too long to be sent to the country of the donor’s nationality.

Section LII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to increase the ability for public sousveillance on the functioning of government officials, in particular those who may propose laws, during negotiations and deliberations on proposing bills and national and international trade agreements. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to make the current hosting of live-streams from United States Congress more user-friendly and accessible to the public, accompanied by links to proposed bills where applicable.

Section LIII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to have a mandatory standard clause or affidavit, affirming that a Representative, Senator, or other Legislative Branch lawmaker proposing a piece of legislation, such as a bill in Congress, has no conflict of interest between serving the public and serving other parties, such as special-interest groups. The clause would have to be signed and dated by the representative before the legislation is allowed to be proposed.

Section LIV: The United States Transhumanist Party supports increasing broad accountability of Federal Government departments, agencies, and entities, especially those tasked with national security and / or criminal investigations, to the United States Congress. Currently some agencies may receive government funding without any accountability as to what the funding is used for, often based on arguments that this information is ‘classified’ or ‘may not be revealed in the interest of national security’. This is irresponsible use of taxpayer money.

The United States Transhumanist Party does acknowledge that such entities or agencies may have security concerns regarding the publication of details of their budget plans. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party supports setting up a special non-partisan security budgetary review committee where more details of budget plans would have to be provided before considering to provide funds to an agency or entity.

Section LV: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to consolidate and reduce some redundancies among agencies and entities tasked with national security and law enforcement, as well as to reduce the number of such agencies and entities currently in operation. However, while supporting the elimination of parallel redundancies which can create problems, the United States Transhumanist Party recognizes that certain types of hierarchical redundancies can help with quality control.

Section LVI: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to ensure that no United States Representative or Senator may be obstructed in their ability to vote on any piece of legislation, or be kept from the Senate or House of Representatives for intra- or extra-curricular political-party activities which interfere with their primary task as representatives of the people within government. For example, protections should exist to prevent situations where Representatives or Senators are forced by their political parties to do fundraising calls during a vote on a bill.

Section LVII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to restrict and limit civil asset forfeiture laws, and other laws that assist law-enforcement agencies in circumventing the Fourth Amendment, such as asset seizure, or detainment or arrest in situations where no criminal charges have been filed, except as part of an active interrogation of a person suspected of a crime or unless the person detained or arrested poses a clear and probable danger of inflicting physical harm upon others or their property.

Section LVIII: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to investigate questionable, but currently legal, actions by law-enforcement agencies that have over time garnered critical attention by the public. The safety of the public could benefit from such actions being revisited or revised to limit abuse and to close legal loopholes.

Section LIX: The United States Transhumanist Party considers it important for impartial, objective investigations of alleged police and other law-enforcement misconduct to be pursued. While law-enforcement agencies should not be prohibited from internally investigating potential abuses within their own ranks, such investigations should never be considered exclusive or conclusive, and further external checks and accountability should be instituted. As part of providing such checks and accountability, investigations regarding police misconduct, criminal activity, felonies, and misdemeanors should, in addition to any internal investigation, also be investigated by a different source – for example, a different police department, or a district attorney for a different area assigned to lead the investigation. The intent of this requirement is to limit the possibility of favorably biased or preferential treatment of a member of a given law-enforcement agency by that person’s colleagues, and to restore confidence by the public that an investigation into police misconduct is done as objectively as possible.

Section LX: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to limit the possibility for police, district attorneys, and judges to favor one another through mutual “back-scratching” accommodations which may cause a particular criminal matter to be resolved in a manner inconsistent with the true facts of the situation or the requirements of applicable law.

Section LXI: The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to prevent members of Congress from receiving special benefits, subsidies, and tax breaks that other citizens do not receive, and that are not necessary to function as a member of Congress. This limitation would pertain, for example, to health-care subsidies that are inaccessible to other citizens. However, this limitation would not prevent members of Congress from obtaining working conditions and job-related benefits of the sort which are broadly available, without regard to rank or degree of influence, to other Americans working within the private or public sectors.

Section LXII: The U.S. Transhumanist Party supports efforts to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to uphold the Rights of the Child as prescribed therein. This would include abolishing the death penalty for minors federally.

The United States Transhumanist Party, however, opposes restrictions on the rights of parents to choose to homeschool their children in any manner that respects the children’s basic freedom of conscience. Any ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child should not be construed to restrict any peaceful, rights-respecting practice of homeschooling.

Section LXIII: The United States Transhumanist Party opposes those specific cultural, religious, and social practices that violate individual rights and bodily autonomy. Examples of such unacceptable practices are forced marriage (including child marriage), male and female genital mutilation, and honor killings.

The Discovery Doctrine in International Law, with Respect to the Islands of La Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista – Article by Stan Vaughan

The Discovery Doctrine in International Law, with Respect to the Islands of La Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista – Article by Stan Vaughan

logo_bg

Stan Vaughan


Editor’s Note: In accord with Article III, Section XXII of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Constitution, which states that “The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts at political, economic, and cultural experimentation in the form of seasteads and micronations”, the U.S. Transhumanist Party has published this guest article by Stan Vaughan, explaining the historical basis in international law for the claims by the Kingdom of Ourania on the uninhabited Pacific Islands of La Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista. Find out more about the Kingdom of Ourania here and read here about the State Visit made by King Immanuel X of Ourania to the Republic of Molossia on June 17, 2017. The arguments made herein by Mr. Vaughan are his own analysis, and members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party are encouraged to study it, review the relevant history, and form their own views and perspectives on it. The United States Transhumanist Party does, however, wish Mr. Vaughan the best in forwarding the recognition and development of the Kingdom of Ourania, which may, if successful, lead to innovations in seasteading and construction of floating cities. We anticipate publishing future updates regarding the Kingdom of Ourania as they become available.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, July 2, 2017

Flag of the Kingdom of Ourania

Public international law seems to recognize five ways to acquire insular areas. These are 1) cession, 2) occupation, 3) accretion, 4) subjugation, and 5) prescription. [Raphael Perl, The Falkland Islands Dispute in International Law and Politics: A Documentary Sourcebook (New York: Oceana Publications, Inc., 1983) (hereinafter cited as Perl) 12-13.]

This essay discusses how international law applies to the islands of La Encarnacion (a.k.a. Ducie) and San Juan Bautista (a.k.a. Henderson) in the South Pacific Ocean.

La Encarnacion

The island of La Encarnacion (a.k.a. Ducie) was discovered by a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese sailor Pedro Fernandes de Queirós on 26 January 1606, during an expedition that began in Callao, Peru. Supported by Pope Clement VIII and Philip III of Spain, Queirós was given the command of the San Pedro, San Pablo, and Zabra. The fleet was nicknamed Los Tres Reyes Magos (“The Three Wise Men”).  La Encarnacion (a.k.a. Ducie Island) was the first of eighteen discoveries on the trip. Queirós temporarily named it Luna Puesta, then finally settled on La Encarnacion.

The island was rediscovered by Edward Edwards, captain of HMS Pandora, who was sent in 1790 to capture the mutineers of HMS Bounty. He re-named the island Ducie in honour of Francis Reynolds-Moreton, 3rd Baron Ducie.

On March 10, 1867 it was claimed by US Captain John Daggett of Massachusetts for the United States under the Guano Islands Act (enacted August 18, 1856).

The State Department (William Seward, Secretary of State) considered later in 1867 that the claim would remain dormant or only in abeyance until such time as US citizenship of Captain Daggett was proved, which was done, reviving the dormant US claim.

San Juan Bautista

Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, leading the same Spanish expedition that discovered La Encarnacion, was also the first European to discover another uninhabited island on 29 January 1606. De Queirós named this island San Juan Bautista.

Captain Henderson of the British East India Company ship Hercules re-discovered the island on 17 January 1819 and re-named it Henderson Island.

Claim by the United Kingdom and the Implications of the Discovery Doctrine

In 1877, the islands were purportedly included under the protection of the United Kingdom by an Order in Council that claimed jurisdiction over all previously unclaimed Pacific Islands.

However, La Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista were not unclaimed islands, both having been claimed by Spain in 1606. Such claims were recognized via the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), Treaty of Paris (1763), Nootka Convention (1790), Treaty of Madrid (1814), and the First Hague Convention (1899).

The Discovery Doctrine is a concept of public international law expounded by the United States Supreme Court in a series of decisions, most notably Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. Chief Justice John Marshall justified the way in which colonial powers laid claim to lands. Here we will not dispute the controversial aspects of the doctrine concerning inhabited lands, but focus on the uncontroversial aspects of terra nullis (discovery of uninhabited land).

Marshall found that ownership of land comes into existence by virtue of discovery of that land, a rule that had been observed by all European countries.

At the time of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, discovery of terra nullis gave the discovering sovereign absolute title to the newly discovered land. This was amended in 1790 by the United Kingdom / Spain Nootka Convention, which said that, thereafter, newly discovered lands must also be occupied as well. However this treaty did not in any way affect previous discoveries and claims.

Sovereignty could effect cession in a treaty between ceding and acquiring sovereigns, and at no time in history has Spain ever ceded its sovereignty over La Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista to the United Kingdom, which specifically acknowledged Spanish sovereignty to these two islands in both 1744 and 1787, as will be discussed herein later.

Thus, prior to either the purported Edwards 1791 “rediscovery” or the 1819 Henderson “rediscovery”, both islands had been shown on the 1787 King of England Samuel Dunn/Thomas Kitchen map (shown below) as the Spanish possessions La Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista, both previously recognized by the discovery doctrine in international law as belonging to Spain. Thus the 1877 British Order of Council extending British purported sovereignty over all unclaimed islands has no basis in international law, which also says that the purported 1902 “annexations” of these islands are illegal under de jure international laws.

Spain, the United Kingdom, as well as the United States all are parties to the 1899 First Hague Convention, which prohibits and considers such annexations as unlawful.

Further, all three recognize the aforementioned discovery doctrine, George II having recognized in 1744 the islands as having been discovered by Spain, and George III in 1787 having recognized such discoveries by Spain under the names La Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista.

Thomas Kitchin (or Thomas Kitchen (1718–1784)) was an English engraver and cartographer, who became hydrographer to the king. The 1787 Samuel Dunn “A General Map of the World” shows La Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista, as does the 1744 map by Emmanuel Bowen (cartographer to UK King George II and father-in-law to Thomas Kitchin, his apprentice) at correct latitudes south of Tropic of Capricorn and correct longitudes.

Above, the 1744 King George II map of the world with the islands of La Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista at correct latitude south of Tropic of Capricorn and at correct longitude as well, and among those marked as “islands discovered by de Quiros of Spain”.

Above the 1787 King George III map of the world lists La Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista by their actual Spanish names, an acknowledgement of their absolute title by Spain 4 years before the so-called re-discovery of La Encarnacion as Ducie 1791 or the 1819 re-discovery as Henderson instead of San Juan Bautista.

In correspondence from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office dated 29 March 2017 and postmarked 13 April 2017, the United Kingdom does not dispute the above facts.

Thus, there is no such island as “Ducie” island – only the previously claimed by Spain La Encarnacion Island. There is no such island as “Henderson” island, only the previously claimed by Spain San Juan Bautista Island.

Before the 18th century, discovery alone was sufficient to acquire absolute title to a terra nullis (A. Keller, O. Lissitzyn, & F. Mann, Creation of Rights of Sovereignty 1400-1801 (1938)).

See also William E. Hall, “Discovery gave not merely inchoate title but an absolute title” (International Law 126-127, 214-215, 8th edition, 1924).

International Law Regarding So-Called Annexations

Direct Annexation, by the end of the Napoleonic period, ceased to be recognized in international law as an accepted means of territorial acquisition. Thus, as in the case of La Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista Islands in the South Pacific, the purported annexations (and renaming of the islands), which the United Kingdom proclaimed in 1902, not only violated this principle, but was further illegal by the First Hague Convention of 1899, which had been signed 29 July1900 already by the UK, USA, and Spain. The UK had not acquired these islands by any treaty or cession from Spain, and as earlier pointed out, had already under King George II and King George III by their names and locations recognized their discovery by Spain and thus absolute title from 1606.

In 1948, Emilio Pastor Santos, a researcher of the Spanish National Research Council, claimed there was a historical basis that many islands in the Pacific, formerly parts of either the Viceroyalty of New Spain, or the Viceroyalty of Peru, actually still belonged to Spain and “continue legally under Spanish sovereignty.” These include “a number of small islands in Micronesia (Kapingamarangi or CoroaMapia or GüedesOcea or Matador, and  Rongerik or Pescadores). […]This is because the text of the German–Spanish Treaty of 1899 which transferred sovereignty of certain Spanish possessions in the Pacific to Germany, namely the Northern Mariana Islands (except Guam) and the Caroline Islands (including Palau), failed to include these smaller islands.”  (Wikipedia, “Mapia Atoll”)

On 12 January 1949, after presentation of the research to the Council of Ministers of Spain, the Spanish Foreign Minster declared this as de jure, and the Cabinet of Diplomatic Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared as follows: “The Ministry recognizes that it is a certain fact and historic truth that Spain reserves a series of rights certain groups of islands as not having been ceded by Spain.”

This situation resulted in the Kingdom of Ourania contacting Spain and acquiring a number of islands formerly either part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain or the Viceroyalty of Peru, but with the proviso they can never be re-assigned to the United Kingdom at any time in the future, unless the UK first returns Gibraltar and restores the territorial integrity of Spain concerning Gibraltar.

Stan Vaughan is a chess champion who resides in Southern Nevada. He ran for State Assembly District 15 as a Republican in 2016. He now represents the Kingdom of Ourania in its efforts to attain international recognition and form a floating city in the vicinity of the claimed islands of San Juan Bautista and La Encarnacion.  

U.S. Transhumanist Party General Discussion Thread for July 2017

U.S. Transhumanist Party General Discussion Thread for July 2017

logo_bg


The purpose of this post is to facilitate member comments pertaining to transhumanism and the U.S. Transhumanist Party, which might not specifically fit the subjects of any other post or article on the U.S. Transhumanist Party website. This is the place for members to offer suggestions or converse about any areas of emerging technologies and their political, moral, societal, cultural, and esthetic implications. The general discussion thread is also an ideal location to suggest or propose platform planks that may be considered for future platform voting.

The U.S. Transhumanist Party will endeavor to open one of these general comment threads per month. This comment thread pertains to the month of July 2017.

Type in your comments below. Please note that, to protect against spambots, the first comment by any individual will be moderated. After passing moderation, a civil commenter should be able to post comments without future moderation – although we cannot guarantee that the technical aspect of this functionality will work as intended 100% of the time.