Rosella Tolfree Installment Stories
A series set in the politically dystopian future of the U.S.A.
Featuring a blog that explains Rosella's World
Much of U.S. social history can be seen through the lens of its legislative and court processes. We all should be aware of how powerful Supreme Court decisions can be in shaping U.S. society, besides the impacts of rulings concerning Acts of Congress and Amendments to the Constitution. Today both political parties and activists are trying diligently to shape America through these processes.
I’m always amazed that during the adoption of the reconstruction amendments during the late 1860s, that changes to the second amendment concerning the right to bear arms to form militias was not done. Maybe Congress was more focused on issues dealing with slavery than how the south armed itself, or the codifying of a national army.
While we can debate it, I’ve observed that prior to the Civil War each state had their own “army”. The federal government formed the national army from these “state armies”. This alone allowed the southern states to easily deploy troops against the north. You would think Congress at the time would have realized this problem and rethought it.
Now years later we are dealing with Supreme Court decisions that have separated the legal aspects of gun rights into two parts. One for individual gun rights and one for the state rights. Creating a unique gun culture that’s unlike any in the world. Ironically, if Congress back then had adopted a new version of the second amendment, making it harder for independent armies to spring up, we might be more like the rest of the world concerning our legal traditions about guns. We might have seen groups like the KKK not as easily occurring during the reconstruction period, and other racial violence of later eras. This doesn’t mean racial tensions or biases would be eliminated. Only that the violence used would change in form and maybe decrease because of less access to guns.
We might also less male suicide in the 21st Century since men typically use handguns to kill themselves. But these same men might just substitute cleaning fluids instead. Clearly some mass killings in the U.S. may not have occurred, but may have been replaced with bombings instead.
This is my point about the way laws and decisions create a society. Change one aspect and there can be a ripple effect. And I'm not making a formal discussion about the moral issues of U.S. gun rights here. I'm only applying an alternative historical scenario to a timeline. I’ll save those moral arguments for other experts.
While the list below doesn’t have the various court decisions, it lists the U.S. Congressional acts and constitutional amendments ratified.
I present this list in chronological order. Act means an act passed by Congress and signed into law, whereas CA means a Constitutional Amendment eventually ratified and adopted by the states.
Act- Women’s Child Stipend Act
This act reshaped the U.S. welfare system concerning how the federal government handed out funds to women with children. Now women were getting a direct payment stipend for every child they had birthed until the child turned 18. It changed this stipend annual by a COLA adjusted by the rate of inflation. Other welfare programs that involved children were adjusted, since now women were receiving direct payments for childcare. It also made a push at the state level to change laws dealing with child support by men by eliminating the need for men to support women. This worked in some states, but not others. There were legal challenges by single fathers, and childless adults. These cases never reached the Supreme Court because of the passing of UBI in the U.S. (see Federal Reserve Authorization of Universal Basic Income Direct Payment Act).
Act- Workers Attainment Wage Equality Act
This act made it illegal to discriminate in wages paid to employees based on education attainment. This act saw many lawsuits generated after its passing from employees who thought their companies were discriminating. The problem was many cases heard ended up being ruled in favor of the company on the grounds of the work content was more than the educational requirements for the work. With the passing of the act, companies began using rigorous testing for job slots as a result versus relying on college degrees. This spawned a host of HR based testing companies using the latest AI systems. This didn’t totally diminish college education in the U.S. but reformed it. College was turned into preparing people for work by fine tuning their degrees with these HR based testing companies. Thus ensuring greater success for the college graduate to get hired.
Act- Federal Reserve Authorization of Universal Basic Income Direct Payment Act
This act allowed the Federal Reserve to provide direct cash payments of a calculated universal basic income, annually adjusted for inflation to every adult person in the US. This act replaced the Women’s Child Stipend Act, as well as all federal poverty assistance programs. It also replaced Social Security, disability, and unemployment payment programs. This one act was one of the most sweeping changes to social welfare the U.S. had seen in decades. Economists of the time hailed it as the most effective means to manage inflation and the economy. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the act in a later challenge.
CA- Continuing Budget Authorization Amendment
Congress created this amendment to prevent the federal government from shutting down. If Congress should not be able to make any adjustments to an appropriation bill to fund the federal government, then the last signed bill into law continues to be in effect until Congress changes the funding and a new bill is signed into law.
CA- Minority Race Economic Adjustment Amendment
By far this amendment was the biggest social experiment the U.S. had undertaken since prohibition. The debate over affirmative action in the U.S. has been a long and contentious social issue. It’s said that it all began during theReconstruction Period to give freed slaves “forty acres and a mule.” There have been various court challenges over the years that both supported and undermined it.
This amendment resulted from repeated years of outrage and demonstrations over perceived and historical inequalities from the African American community. The amendment set up the general principle that each race respectively of itself should economically have the same percentage spread of incomes, and that the majority race is the model for minority races regarding that spread.
The amendment provided the framework for a long lasting and fundamental shift in how the U.S. economy operated with respects to race. It codified at the highest level of law the concept of affirmative action for minority races and gave Congress and the President various powers to execute such actions. This amendment didn’t apply to ethnicity, which left out millions of Hispanic peoples. It included mixed raced people counting them toward the minority race. Thus, many Hispanics were reclassified as either Native American, African American or White depending upon heritage.
Amended was the composition of the House of Representatives. Representation was increased for each district with higher minority presence. Districts were drawn using these new formulas through A.I. guided technology. Attempts to change the Senate composition failed, but in states with higher minority presence votes for senators were weighted, so minority votes counted twice as much. This increased the efforts to disenfranchise people based on minority composition. Arguing that the individual wasn’t truly a minority. Meanwhile, the reverse was true in some states.
Aggressive policies were enacted concerning minimum wages based on race and kinds of employment, racial composition of board representation on publicly traded corporations, requirements for the top 500 publicly traded corporations to have a specified number of minorities in top management positions including CEO, racial employment composition for publicly traded corporations, mandates for priority acceptance of minorities over others for educational resources, required federal priorities to assist minority communities with block grants and other aide over other communities, and prohibitions on laying off minorities during economic downturns.
This elevated millions of African Americans out of poverty. It also caused politically in increase in hate speech rhetoric against minorities. This despite efforts to eliminate hatred and racist attitudes from society. The Supreme Court continued to support racist ideologies as free speech, albeit limiting in how it is to be expressed.
Out of this amendment came a narrowly defined fact that African Americans were those who could trace their roots back to the original slavery period, versus those immigrants from Africa after that point. African immigrants were considered an ethnicity and thus excluded.
Only 38 states ratified this amendment. The 12 states that didn’t ratify were Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas.
Groups attempted to legally challenge the validity of the amendment, but the courts dismissed all.
The Amendment by Rosella’s Time
A big conspiracy theory that continues to circulate on the Social Media Net during Rosella's time is that 35.2 million people have taken advantage of this amendment. When Rosella was born there was the Great Vital Records Hack, wiping out 35.2 million vital state records and online ancestry data. Many speculate that it was done to allow people to get social advantages they never had originally. This has never been proven true.
By Rosella’s time, various provisions of the act were no longer being enforced as in previous years, such as the employment aspects. This was because of a three fold reality. First, those minority races over time had sufficiently benefited from the act. They were now in positions to set policy and dictate hiring on a large scale. Second, people’s attitudes had changed concerning racial issues. Many minorities were now economically similar to the majority race. Even the minorities themselves and academics didn’t see racial disparities as a significant problem anymore. With this came the waning that historic correction of moral wrongs had to be socially corrected. This would only be temporarily revived with the United Nations' Vilmee Genocide Reparation Trial. Third, the use of cloning and advance CRISPR technologies muddled the definition of race. Whites and Asians were now including in their children higher percentages of melanin variants typically sourced from African American genomes. Not to mention those people who purposely made hybrid cloned children using genomes to provide their children with the greatest social advantages.
Act- Labor Union law updates
See the discussion here about how Labor Union laws in the U.S. were changed. All these changes were to deal with the ever-increasing changes that computer technology brought against human labor.
Act- Tyler-Hinton Slave Reparations Act and Dustu-McBride Native American Reparation Act
The United Nations' Vilmee Genocide Reparation Trial brought with them the adoption of two reparations acts. Read more about them here.
CA- Federal Emergency Election Amendment
During the Great Melt and the New Madrid Volcanic Traps ecological disasters, the nation was in full panic. Of deep concern was maintaining a stable and constant government during this time of chaos. For this reason, Congress passed an amendment that placed U.S. federal elections on a temporary hold, and it extended all elected terms by four years during the environmental crisis.
Act- Image Discrimination Act
See the discussionhere about the Image Discrimination Act.
Act- Omnibus changes 501(c)3 changes.
See the discussion here about the changes to the non-profit tax code known as 501(c)3.
Act- The New Public Workers and Assistance Act
This act was part of an omnibus spending package to help rebuild the nation after the immediate effects of the Great Melt. It created many work opportunities for individuals. But it also created many pitfalls for a few states. The act was a significant omnibus piece of federal legislation designed in part to help many of the orphans and others displaced by all the natural disasters facing the nation, and it carried with it many new work guarantees and entitlements. It granted work guarantees even if the worker committed sexual harassment at the workplace, because the person had a genetic or psychological issue causing the problem. Criminal or civil charges couldn’t be levied against such individuals because the act saw it as retaliatory. It also enforced a host of new excise taxes upon the states, with the inability for the states to bypass them by passing them on to their citizens. The federal government was taxing the states directly.
Legal challenges associated with the act got hung up in the courts resulting in a mixed bag of lower court decisions, and a Supreme Court unwilling to resolve the issues.
Act- Federal Lands Protection Act
Congress designed this act to deal with a specific Supreme Court decision. The court allowed states to legalize the sale and use of any federal class of drugs to the residents of their states, but not the transportation between states or on federal lands. The act created the U.S. Ranger Marshals as a domestic paramilitary organization under the Department of the Interior. With the authority to monitor, defend, and secure the federal lands from this recent problem. In doing so, the act reorganized various other agencies and departments, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, to only deal with international and state to state transportation drug concerns. The act further changed the Insurrection Act of 1807 permitting the U.S. President to use the Ranger Marshals to quell domestic threats, terrorist acts, riots, unlawful protests, and other similar acts noted in the Insurrection Act of 1807 without Congressional, state legislature or governor’s approval. The Ranger Marshals could supplement the National Guard forces, or take direct action as required. Some politicians saw this as the long-term solution to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.
Thus the U.S. Ranger Marshals became the domestic army, while the traditional armed forces were the nation’s global and space forces.
The Battle of Warrenton was one of the most grievous uses of this act, resulting in the single largest amount of American deaths on U.S. soil since the Civil War.
The only other time the U.S. Ranger Marshals were called out en masse was to deal with the Rebellion of Utah.
CA- The Naturalization Amendment
This amendment codifies the naturalization process to which immigrants become U.S. citizens. Becoming a citizen was linked to the willingness to pay taxes. It also extended citizenship rights to the unborn. You can find the full text in the short story, An Excerpt from the Memoir of Alan Pozo, inJoseph Street Digest #3.
States ratified the amendment during President Simmons’ administration. She discovered a loophole by holding immigrants in camps and not allowing them to work. Immigrants could not pay taxes because of a lack of earned income and thus not become citizens. Immigrants did not qualify for the U.S. universal basic income payments (UBI). UBI income was considered to be taxable earned income. Many nations would cut off their U B I payments to those citizens that left their borders. Thus leaving many people during this time with the choice of migrating in the hopes of something better, or staying for a constant source of income.
Image- Rotunda of the Capitol, By Joshua Sukoff, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (Processed using Adobe Spark)
Image- U.S. Soldiers. (Processed using Adobe Spark)
Back in 1979, Laakso and Taageper introduced a mathematical formula that predicted the effective number of political parties in a parliamentary, or similar political system.
As an author, it was easy enough to split up the seats of both houses of Congress and the Presidency into multiple parties. It’s harder to come up with the "how we got there". See my Medium series on it here.
For most of its political life the U.S. has been a two-party system, this has not always been the case based on this formula. Between the years of 1805 to 1809 and again in 1819 to 1825 the U.S. had effectively only one political party, namely the Democrat-Republicans. Then during 1855 to 1857 we see three parties as the Whigs collapse and the Republicans are formed.
By Rosella’s time the Green Party now controls 26% of the seats, Libertarian Party 18%, Democratic Party 15%, Republican Party 12%, Sanford Party 12%, American Solidarity Party 10%, The Workers Freedom Party 5%, and the Reformed Torres Party 2%.
But where the President is concerned, Congress has only elected either a Democrat or Republican during Rosella’s time. Thus, showing the historical sway of both parties have over the other parties in Congress. Allowing the Democrats and Republicans to maintain the airs of the keepers of political tradition.
While we know most of the parties I’ve listed, three are new. A group of unnamed individuals created the Sanford Party as a reaction to the ever-increasing use of androids as a substitute for human labor. This party is actively seeking the adoption of a Constitutional amendment to institute corporate human slavery to ensure the priority of human work in society.
The Workers Freedom Party are American communists. This group came into power in the late 21st century because of extreme socialist activity in the nation. They are constantly seeking to hold a new constitutional convention to reshape America’s democracy.
The Reformed Torres Party is a latecomer to the U.S. political scene. Some political scientists say they are a knee jerk reaction to both the Sanford Party and Workers Freedom Party. The party is a radical group of Americans, which many of its members can trace their ancestry back to the original founding of the nation. This party is seeking America to rejoin the British crown. They are constantly trying to push for Articles of Dissolution and adopting the Declaration of Allegiance to the Crown of England.
There are also lesser parties in society that control the local and state level of American politics. This is where you find groups like the Neo Obliteration Movement and the National Socialist Movement. These groups are politically active in small towns and cities across the U.S. You find these two groups only being able to control two seats on a city council or some other elected position. Rarely you’ll find them in a state legislative position, but it’s not unheard of depending upon the state.
As you can tell, Rosella’s political world for the U.S. has fallen into a multiparty reality. America has never truly had such party chaos before, but then again Rosella’s future is filled with major ecological disasters. The two realities are more interconnected socially than many realize. Take today and the pandemic. We see the rise in social activism despite a deadly disease being present. Why would Rosella’s future be any different?
Author Note- My use of the word illuminati in reference to politics is a reference to the card game by Steve Jackson Games called Illuminati.
Image- George Floyd Protest, By Mike Von, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License. (Processed using Adobe Spark)
Image- Rosella Tolfree Political Illuminati, AEM Services.
Androids in Rosella's World Have Emotions
In Rosella’s world, by the point of the A-3 models of androids, a new A.I. brain firmware had been developed. Known as “Emo-ware” or short for emotional firmware, it added into these androids more human-like reactions.
Emotions as we understand them are not in a singular anatomical part of the human brain. This is true of many brain functions such as consciousness and the mind. The work of psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett has shown that human emotions are nothing more than “guesses”. A guess based on what the human brain knows as a whole. She notes that the human brain comes pre-wired with “simple feelings” to tell us how our bodies are working. Except that we don’t always have context. It's our emotions that provide this context.
The androids by Rosella’s time have hardwired feelings in their artificial brains to sense what’s going on with their bodies. Unlike us humans, where the meaning of a racing heart can be misinterpreted as a heart attack when it’s a normal panic attack, these androids know precisely their bodily functions. They can access diagnostic firmware that allows them to analyze a specific problem and know how to deal with it.
But Emo-ware adds an extra dimension to their cognitive processes. The earlier models used linear learning logic from preprogrammed sets of memories. They would quickly sift through a multitude of possible answers to come up with one to a problem it would save for later use. By the A 3 models they could use “guesses” based on an array of both preprogrammed memories and Wi-Fi accessible databases. In addition, the A3s could use recent memories they would construct and save for later.
One drawback that technologists noticed with Emo-ware was in the A-3 models. It made them “moody”. In that, these machines would walk off the factory floor for no apparent reason. Some would skip away while others would be obviously angry. By the A-4 model, technologists had developed a more stable algorithm for Emo-ware. But because of the configuration of the A-3 A.I. brains, this updated version could not be retrofitted.
Even with the updated algorithm, the police and others have noted that a few A-4s appear to have human-like psychopathic issues. Many technologists disagree with this observation, citing that the algorithm isn’t designed to produce such human conditions.
As a final note, the human pursuit of android models in Rosella’s world produced a greater understanding of the human brain and mind. This is in part because technologists were trying to replicate not just the anatomy of the brain, but its functions. More about this later.
Image- Screm, By Cristian Newman, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License. (Processed using Adobe Splash)
An Excerpt from the USRM-ISB Installment J4- Marineth Pugh
Marineth was standing on the small balcony overlooking the central courtyard of their co housing apartment in the Buffalo Creek Apartments. The apartments were located southeast of the flooded area of Sacramento California. Her husband, Martin, was off on business again this week. Marineth hated being by herself. When the two got married a year ago, she joined Martin to live in his co housing apartment. She gave up a career in Social Media Net advertising to be a stay at home mother. A trend that was becoming popularized since President Veronica Simmons had recently taken power at the White House. Women across the country were embracing President Simmons’ fundamentalist views on raising children and becoming stay at home mothers once more.
Marineth knew she was an Eukaryotic clone, and unable to have children. Even though Marineth came from a traditional clone family of seven girls, she was agreeable to try Martin’s desire for the fundamentalist plan. The plan was the two would use a surrogate android to birth their child, and Marineth would then care and raise the child. But that all changed when the android told her that her DNA had uncorrectable errors and it could not complete the cloning process.
When President Veronica Simmons took the office from Rick Garrett, she continued to push parts of his populist agenda. Like having mothers stay at home to raise children, and people living in communal communities. The people who filled these communities were those who had inherited the economic prosperity after the twin ecological disasters that befell the U.S. years earlier.
The Three Classes in America
While America has had the traditional three classes of people, except for a fourth until 1862 (and this could be debated under the Jim Crow years)*, each economic class has had different social and economic benefits (slavery being a class afforded the least of these). The various disparities between the haves and have nots by Rosella’s point in history had become three separate homogeneous communities. Those of the ultra rich, the middle working class, and the poor and displaced. The ultra rich were set apart from most everyone. They controlled the remains of the world economy and corporations. They had their fingers in politics around the world. They were the only people able to still travel globally by Rosella’s time. They also were the few who could afford to travel off world to Mars or the Moon.
Because of social programs that had been instituted in the U.S., these programs had minimized any problems caused by income inequalities for those in the middle class. This resulted in a working middle class where everyone was homogeneously similar despite the unique work done. The social pressures to always achieve increasing wealth to survive were removed, allowing these people to pursue excellence in their work. Some could travel off world for work, but most stayed on Earth. This was the primary group by Rosella’s time that were using A-4 androids for making and caring for families.
The issue with the poor and displaced was that they saw the most amount of social inequalities and lack of rights. Both Rick Garrett, and later Veronica Simmons, were herding the poor, displaced, and immigrants into more and more shipping container housing (nicknamed ‘the stacks’ or ‘stackvillas’ by many).
When the Great Melt and volcanic traps of New Madrid occurred years earlier, Congress provided funding for emergency housing by using an available stockpile of shipping containers. But this form of housing was not meant to be long term. Once President Veronica Simmons got into power, she was moving these peoples around the nation like cattle to be the reconstruction labor force. Veronica Simmons would assign them projects ran by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers trying to deal with the ongoing reconstruction efforts after the ecological disasters, in exchange for their housing, and meal rations. Universal medical services fees were auto deducted from any UBI owed to these individuals.
While these poor individuals were visible too many, they became socially invisible. So invisible, that any advocacy had fallen by the wayside because most of the people cared more about their own needs than that of others. It was bad enough that the ecological disasters that had befallen America disrupted life, but by the time of the Rick Garrett presidency the lack of policy enforcement now disenfranchised those American citizens living in the stacks will both from voting and the Constitutional census.
These three separate economic social classes continued in America through the years of the U.S. presidential cycles elected by Congress.
(*) While America used indentured servants, which were typically white and poor, by the start of the Revolutionary War the U.S. labor market is estimated to be only 2 to 3 percent indentured. By the passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865, this kind of contract servitude was now illegal. While restricted by a contract, these people still enjoyed some socio-economic benefits similar to other non-indentured poor. Therefore, I don’t classify them as a fifth economic social class. Nor should we think of them as equal to slaves, because that would technically be incorrect.
Combined Image- minneapolis cityscape at night, By Donny Jiang, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License; Shipping Containers at Docks, By Caleb Russell, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License; untitled image, By Noble Mitchell, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (All processed using Adobe Spark).
In various short stories I’ve written, I keep mentioning this thing called the “Social Media Net”.
I know it sounds like some future internet, and it is. Experts have been talking about Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and even Web 3.0. But such things refer to a process to which information is handled on the internet and given to end users more so than society’s image of the technology.
The Infopad and Tactical Infopad
Today we have apps that do different things. One for email, one for a social media program, and one to watch shows. The devices that can use them vary, but most are using smartphones. In my future America, the smartphone is still around, but many people use what’s called an infopad, which is a cross between a tablet and smartphone.
Like today, people will use the social media net for productivity for work and still call these features “apps”. The most common workhorse for productivity is the much larger and technologically robust “tactical infopad”. We commonly find these infopads in military and police work, along with any industry demanding on site robust computer power, like a construction site. These machines are the equivalent of what people used to use laptops of old. Except college students now just use a regular infopad for their schoolwork. As for PCs, these machines exist but are only found in offices and are networked into dumb A.I. machines. The actual PC box is a lot smaller and acts more like an interface for I/O devices.
If you turned on an infopad or tactical infopad, it automatically places you into the social media net. An array of mini screens is in front of you, like app icons of old. Each showing some live or recorded broadcast, a prerecorded message about a program you have loaded, a video of a new game uploaded to your game account, and so forth. You can swipe your finger across the screen to access other panels of vid icons. Think of it like YouTube on a combination of a megadose of steroids and growth hormones. There are network shows you can watch, private videos to subscribe to, video phone calls you can send and receive. All this happening across a massive Wi-Fi infrastructure that’s been improved to levels way beyond our current technology.
The Social Feel of the Social Media Net
While most people enjoy the social media net passively, like how television used to be watched, there’s still some interaction with viewers. News shows are notorious for doing viewer polls people can take part in. Then there are the various gambling apps that can show participants for card games, or you can watch a live sporting event only to pull up the bookie on the same screen to place a bet on the game.
What’s missing from the Social Media Net is the toxicity and rage that typically happens today on mediums like Twitter or YouTube. Gone is the ability to post comments, feedback, likes or dislikes about shows and products. The artificial intelligence of Web 3.0 takes care of these features based on user interactions.
Gone are the days where every person could be their own pop-up journalist who could post an image that could go viral. Because of advance Web 3.0 structure, this kind of stuff is inherently controlled to keep society in a peaceful and orderly way.
So, that would mean videos showing cops killing people would only be seen through vetted news sources. And some news outlets pay bounties for vid clips for them to build stories. Again, because of advance Web 3.0 technology, you get news and information fed to you, the social media net end user, based on your viewing usage. If you are gravitating more towards stories about violence, then you’ll be fed more stories about it. If you like news about finance, then its more financial networks. Start playing certain games, then it targets those games for you until you get bored and start looking for some other game to play. The whole social media net is reactive to the end user.
Meanwhile, covert attempts to plant false and/or deceptive information into the social media net by individuals, governments, or companies are typically scrubbed by A.I. systems that are routinely scouring the whole of the net. With authorities being alerted for prosecution later. This one aspect killed off the meme culture of the 21st century.
All this A.I. net scouring doesn’t mean politically radical groups can’t use alternative tech to communicate between members, but governments have ways of monitoring such electronic traffic. Therefore, many groups by Rosella’s time resorted to old fashion pen and paper with a courier to deliver messages between members.
Thus, by Rosella’s time, the internet as we understand it has evolved into an A.I. monitored and controlled passive version of social media. While it was true humans controlled the input and output of the information on the social media net, society kept the term social media. This was to remove the fear factor that their lives were now being fed a diet of information by autonomous machines.
What about Virtual Reality?
It’s present. But typically requires cybernetics to fully appreciate it. There are some sleek gaming glasses that simulate a V.R. experience, but it’s not the same. What really killed the V.R. industry was the L.A. cyber riots where some A.I. brain enhanced actors went on a killing rampage. After that, nations around the world passed laws restricting cybernetic applications in humans. By Rosella’s time, the technology is too expensive for common people to own. So it’s not that ubiquitous.
Image: Hacker binary attack code. Made with Canon 5d Mark III and analog vintage lens, Leica APO Macro Elmarit-R 2.8 100mm (Year: 1993), By Markus Spiske. Source Unsplash. Unsplash License (Processed using Adobe Splash)
In the early 2nd Age of Humanity, a Dutch spiritualist by the name of Gudo Muurling attracted many very wealthy individuals to his daily readings.
They initially started in Europe, but they found a better home in the U.S. where it attracted more members, especially those who were associated with politics such as politicians and high level government workers.
Once in the U.S. the members organized under the name of The Church of the Ember Coalition. There are several levels or “rings” to the Ember Coalition, so members have ranks. Each ring doesn’t know the workings of the next higher ring. There are tests to know the next ring level when one is ready.
Gudo’s mixed Judeo-Christianity with standard occultism and gnosis to come up with a hodgepodge techno-religion with a focus on immortality and godhood. The irony is his religion couldn’t really save himself and he died of lung cancer. Conspiracy theories have speculated that Gudo uploaded his brain into some super AI system and is controlling the Ember Coalition in a virtual A.I. manner. Others think he has cheated death, and he is living through cybernetic technologies. No one really knows because no one has ever found his body. His death was just mentioned in a brief social media posting on the Social Media Net stating he died of lung cancer at a hospital in upstate New York.
But his followers carried on, and now the main tenants have shifted towards absolute power and domination in the here and now to free oneself spiritually of the material domain and become absolute spiritual beings. They work day and night in gathering technology, resources, and power to become humanity’s spiritual gods. Unknown today is really who is in control of the Ember Coalition.
Common Sayings Attributed Gudo
“The dough of tomorrow will be the yeast of today.”
“Into the light of the setting sun shall the children of manna go forth to become humanity’s gods.”
“The heads of mankind shall burn with a thousand suns.”
“The material darkness of this world shall be pierced by the light of the children of manna.”
“The material world binds all who live upon it. Only the children of mana can set themselves free of it.”
Image: Artwork done by Matthew Childers (Processed using Adobe Splash).
T-Shirts with Matthew Childers artwork on it available here.
Is Racism is Tribalistic
It's Hard to Eliminate
As a writer, it would be simple for me to say that America was a utopia of brotherly and sisterly love. A place where racism is no more.
But, Rosella Tolfree’s world is a dystopia filled with serious ecological disasters pushing the limits of human civilization. Under such circumstances, it’s not abnormal for humans to resort to tribalistic behaviors to protect what little resources remain. Here, globalization has completely collapsed and nations have become completely isolationists.
This alone doesn’t explain the persistent racism in Rosella’s America. To understand why this problem persists, as a reader you need to understand the complex legal tradition of hate speech in America. It’s been my observation, for all it’s good intentions, that since the creation of hate crime laws back in 1968, based on the same protections afforded to anti-discrimination, there’s been a social attempt to identify, label, show, and expand the definitions of hate and racism. Meanwhile, there are Supreme Court decisions on hate speech. So while today there are many trying to stamp out hate speech, the truth is even the FBI recognizes the right of people to express hate speech within specified limits.
The Supreme Court has continued to allow what many (and myself included) would consider as evil to persist in America. It’s because of these decisions I’ve kept this evil in Rosella’s world since it would be consistent with the ecological dystopian realities. To make matters worse, in Rosella’s America the US party system has splintered (more on this later). Thus classic hate groups have gained political footholds. All of this adding tension to a tense future filled with technological wonders and ecological disasters.
With all this being said, not that there haven’t been changes in Rosella’s America concerning racial issues. Case in point, the Vilmme Genocide Reparations Trails resulting in the passing of the Tyler-Hinton Slave Reparations Act.
Further, because of the changes in weather patterns, people globally started to include genes to produce higher concentrations of melanin in their cloned children to protect them from higher concentrations of ultraviolet radiation. As a result, more people in Rosella’s America were actually “browner”. Socially blurring race ideologies based on skin color.
Finally, many people have tried to control free speech for a long time in the U.S., and they persist even in Rosella’s world. I consider the best science fiction story of our times on this subject is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. I like the 2018 movie version featuring Micheal B. Jordan.
Image: London Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest from Vauxhall to Westminster. By Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (Processed using Adobe Splash).
Section 2 of Amendment XXV reads “Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.”
During Rick Garrett’s second run as President, his original Vice President, Athena Saunders, had died shortly before the convention for his party. Veronica Simmons was selected because she helped to persuade Congress to elect Rick Garrett to President in his first term.
Ms. Simmons did this by leveraging her massive social media net following into a full court press lobbying effort against Congress. Congress relented and gave Rick Garret and his V.P. the office for his first term.
While Veronica Simmons accepted the position, she made it publicly known she disliked playing second fiddle. She would put up with it so long as she could keep doing her show and it didn’t hurt her numbers. All parties, including Congress, were in agreement and she became the first V.P. to have a live social media net show from the White House.
When Rick Garrett was impeached and Veronica Simmons elevated to President normally the succession of power would have the Speaker of the House become the Vice President. But over 90% of Congress was fearful of Veronica Simmons and her social media net following. Few dared to cross her. Since she broke the whole Garrett scandal from day one, the rumor mill on the Hill was she might have had a hand in it, but no Committee dared to go down that rabbit hole during the impeachment process.
The heads of Congress asked her who her Vice President would be? She told them, “I’ll get back to you on that.”
For Garrett’s remaining term, and Simmons’ second term, she kept giving Congress that single answer over and over. During her entire presidency, she had no vice president under her. She preferred it this way.
As a final note, Simmons didn’t win the popular vote. In fact, during that election cycle eligible voters didn’t cast enough votes in so many states that ties or multiple splits among several candidates were common. This resulted with no single candidate capturing even half of the plurality needed to win. But Simmons used her massive following once more to secure her place as president with Congress, just as she did with Rick Garrett.
Image- Statue Of Liberty, a rusting gift. By Vinayak Sharma, Source Unsplash. Unsplash License. (Processed using Adobe Splash).
Author's Disclaimer- The below is pure fiction. It's not real. It's part of the Rosella Tolfree World series as background information. In no way should it be taken as belief in or support of any form of ideology, religion, or similar.
Res-Pangenderism theory was developed by Dr. April French-Wolfe and sees humanity as the only true and genetically universal species, for as a species we control our own genetic destiny. It’s based on quantum genetics and human manipulated genetics at the quantum scale. Or as Dr. French-Wolfe said, “We humans are indivisible at the quantum scale.”
Unlike scientists of the 21st Century who saw human sex as a spectrum, she saw the binary sex plaguing humanity as part of an evolutionary step and that it was possible that at some point this reproduction may be obsolete. She reasoned that humanity through quantum genetic manipulation may reach a point where the extension of age makes having offspring unnecessary because of highly efficient self-repairing. Basically no wound, save having your head cut off, couldn’t be healed. Even then maybe we would just grow a new head.
All the variations earlier scientists saw causing them to believe in the spectrum approach were to her either failed natural evolutionary processes or just random errors in the genetic coding. Or as she called it, “noise”. With Res-Pangenderism, sexual differentiation and sexual determination were all controlled at the quantum level. Neither process was a separate reality, but one harmonious and continuous process of human growth at the smallest scale.
The Word Gender
Dr. April French-Wolfe was less concerned about 21st Century use of the term “gender” despite using it in her theory’s name. By this point in time many scientists were looking back to original meanings of words when naming theories and things. Here, the etymology of gender is from the 1300s to mean class or kind of person. Versus the 1960s usage for social attributes assigned to sexes. The whole phrase of “Res-Pangenderism” translates as “True Universal Speciesism”.
Dr. French-Wolfe held that their maybe at the quantum level sex assigned behaviors, but how those attributes are reinforced by society depends on an array of other factors making absolute determinant nearly impossible. She always saw it as Schrodinger's cat problem.
In time the scientists that believed in Dr. French-Wolfe’s theory built a space colony in a Lagrangian orbit point behind Europa. The colony specialized in the rehabilitation of criminals for the inner system.
Dr. Martin Grofhurst and “The Rise of Inferior Genetics”
Dr. Martin Grofhurst was a colleague of hers that agreed with some of her theories, but preferred natural selection processes over human intervention. He saw white Europeans as the pinnacle of genetic evolution by the hand of God-selection.
Every age appears to have hate groups that cluster around some book proposing ideas or theories about how the world should work. The future is no different. Res-Pangenderism would cause an offshoot theory by Dr. Martin Grofhurst’s book entitled, “The Rise of Inferior Genetics”.
Both Res-Pangenderism and Dr. Grofhurst’s Dawrinistic genetic theories occurred during a time when a small but politically vocal group of geneticists were proposing “transracial identity theory” to head off potential immigration issues associated with global warming. Politically this transracial theory was a hard sell, and later wouldn’t stop nations from banning immigrants as the waters rose.
Two Short Stories Involving Res-Pangenderism
Internee 4761627269656c2048656e736f6e Tab A (est. read time- 17 min.)
Internee 4761627269656c2048656e736f6e Slot B (est. read time- 43 min.)
Image: untitled image, By Karlis Reimanis, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (Processed using Adobe Splash).
Graphic: Jupiter Colony Logo, AEM Services. 2020.
Please note that when it reads "elected" it doesn't mean by the people through voting and the electoral college. It means the election was decided by Congress. See here for the full list of Presidents elected by Congress.
Served nearly two terms but was impeached during his second term for running a sex affair ring involving androids, Congress, embassies, and bribery. Deceased by the time of the stories.
She replaced Rick Garrett’s original VP who died at the end of Garrett’s first term. She finished Garrett’s second term. Congress elected Simmons to President after that term. During her second term she provided notice to Congress that she was “unable to discharge the powers and duties of their office” (see Amend. 25 Section 3). Gilbert Sheppard, Speaker of the House, finished as President because of a constitutional crisis caused when Veronica Simmons became President initially after Garrett’s impeachment (more on this later). Whereabouts unknown by the time of the stories.
Was successfully elected to office for another term but resigned a day after being sworn into office. Later it was revealed that doctors diagnosed him with an aggressive form of Alzheimer’s during the election campaign, but his campaign kept this information hidden from the public to ensure a victory. The VP did most of the campaigning, and the campaign made excuses for Sheppard’s absence from the campaign trail. Deceased by the time of the stories.
Finished Sheppard’s term and successfully won a second term. Only to be impeached five months near the end of her second term on federal money laundering charges and running a drug cartel out of the White House. Evidence came to Congress and the authorities from her VP, Jane Barker. Whereabouts unknown by the time of the stories.
After finishing Carmela Cardano’s term, she was successful to hold two additional terms. Jane Barker could hold the office of president for eight years because she only held the office for five months (see Amend. 22, Sec. 1).
Rosella Tolfree’s stories chiefly take place in Jane Barker’s second term of Presidency. There are technically three additional US Presidents after Jane Barker, but that’s for later.
Image- White House circa 2012. By René DeAnda, Source Unsplash (image processed with Adobe Spark)
8-25-20 UPDATE- There's been a reversal in the decision, and it appears the original cover is back.
Final editing work continues on JSD 5 and USRM-ISB installments of the Rosella Tolfree stories.
You can find here a complete listing so far of all the USRM-ISB installments and their website locations.
I’ve been told there will be one major change.
Unfortunately, because of the current political climate, the woman originally featured will be replaced with the artwork image by Matthew Childers of Rosell Tolfree (see above).
Rosella Tolfree is technically a federal police officer, and the editors complained about the original image.
All I can say as an author is- "The politics and events of this world will continue to shape the politics and events of Rosella’s future world."
Seth Underwood writes hard science fiction and political dystopian science fiction. His future political dystopian U.S. world features decades of despot presidents, a flooded world, and new para-military force known as the Ranger Marshals. He has freemium stories at www. sethunderwoodstories.com