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
The U.S. Stands At A Crossroads
With the recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the U.S. is at another intersection of uncertainty as much as it was when Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016. We will have to wait and see how history will unfold, but typically during these times last minute power grabs are not unheard of, and to be expected in our divided political world.
Two Controversial Nominations by Simmons
President Veronica Simmons faced a similar challenge right before her re-election after assuming the presidency from Rick Garrett. Known for her dramatic need to bolster her standing on the social media net, President Simmons took up the controversial cause known as “prisoner’s freedoms” as part of her campaign for President. This movement was an outgrowth of much earlier movements dealing with the incarceration of racial groups. It had morphed into an ideology that those criminals serving in jail were automatically entitled to freedoms and social benefits because of their criminal record.
In aligning herself with this ideology, she would nominate to the Supreme Court, Terrence McMahon, a former attorney from Los Angeles, who had murdered his entire family by stabbing them to death multiple times. At the time of the murders, he was high on drugs. He received as a punishment multiple life sentences.
While in prison McMahon wrote legal opinion articles using a pen name. He wrote on constitutional law concerning life imprisonment and various other commentaries dealing with gun rights, murder, and qualifying evidence in a trial.
President Simmons would pardon him and then put him forward as the nomination for the Supreme Court vacancy. The Senate Committee would not approve him. But the full Senate held a special vote, and approved McMahon to the bench by one vote. Senator Hobbs was the deciding vote, citing she felt his legal opinions outweighed any previous criminal wrongdoing since the President had pardoned him.
During the McMahon nomination, as favor to a longtime fan and fellow influencer, President Simmons appointed Hans Derbin, a male supermodel, to be the U.S. Ambassador to the World. The United Nations was no more, and the U.S. government created this position as a substitute. The position was meaningless though but allowed Hans to jet around the world at taxpayers’ expense. He would show off his latest fashions for women on the social media net at exotic locations. Eventually a House committee investigation would be called, but it went nowhere once President Simmons got involved. She would end up scandalizing and shaming the committee members publicly on the social media net with the political dirt she had accumulated.
Image- untitled image. By Claire Anderson, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (Processed using Adobe Spark)
Gun Rights, Gun Violence, and Crime
Gun Violence during the Second Age of Humanity
99.9% of what you are about to read only applies to the United States. This has to do with the unique nature of the U.S. Constitution and how the Second Amendment has been applied over the years. Unlike other nations who’ve restricted guns to be owned by their citizens, this has not been the case with the United States. Some have argued that this one fact has historically contributed to the high death rate associated with guns in America. But the other side has proposed arguments of needed protection and support of inherent constitutional rights.
This debate continues to rage on in Rosella’s dystopian America in the worst way possible.
Gun violence in America during the Great Melt and New Madrid volcanic traps was at an all-time high. The major shift in the environment caused people and resources in the nation to be strained. This brought out the worst out in Americans and resulted in violent riots and associated killings.
Ironically, the Second Amendment was never challenged, or rights curbed in any capacity. In fact, from time to time the federal government loosened them during the previous ages right through the time of the Great Melt.
It wouldn’t be until closer to the end of the Second Age of Humanity when things had stabilized and the sex ratios in the US had become more female that changes occurred concerning guns.
The History of Political Change in Gun Rights
At first, politically there were attempts to control guns through limitations on the number of guns owned, types, alterations, and even ammo quantity and types. This happened during the First Age of Humanity, but was challenged in the U.S. Courts every time.
By the start of the Second Age of Humanity, there were proposed changes to the Constitution’s Second Amendment, but these got nowhere.
Then, during the Presidency of Veronica Simmons, one of the craziest things happened. The case of the State of Texas vs. Hanson redefined for the nation the whole definition of gun rights. This case was a murder case in the State of Texas, but it turned into a gun rights case. Though the appeals ended up going all the way to the Supreme Court, but the court didn’t rule on it leaving the appeal to remain. The problem was the appeal went in favor of Hanson for killing the person in cold blood as part of his gun rights.
All three judges in the Fifth Court of Appeals had unanimously agreed stating, “The right to bear arms is a most sacred right, and should not be trampled upon even when the person has been accused or found guilty of a crime. Using that right is afforded to all, regardless of the legal status of the person or their condition and shall not be abridged by any authority. We should consider any deaths that result as self-defense of those rights.”
Even though this case was restricted to the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, this one case prompted the widespread use of guns as mass killing tool with no regard for human life. Now it was no longer murder in killing someone with a gun. These three judges became known as the Shooting Judges on the Social Media Net. President Veronica Simmons held a one-hour special on the decision to appeal to her base.
It wouldn’t be until the end of the Second Age of Humanity, when society was stable once more, that a new case filtered through the courts as attempts again were tried to limit gun rights.
Philip Hartman vs. Courtney Joseph was a Supreme Court case that involved a gun enthusiast challenging the California Attorney General for enforcing a recently passed federal law concerning limitations on gun ownership. The Court merged this case with several other federal court cases that involved the various gun control measures to help resolve the issues all at once.
With this case the Supreme Court saw the Second Amendment as historically arcane, and legally unenforceable as written. In its majority opinion, it struck down the individual right theory to guns. The Court based this on the re-discovery of the history in which the Second Amendment was written. It noted how the U.S. federal army was formed from state armies. This fact facilitated the need for individuals to carry weapons themselves. But by the time of the end of the Civil War, the creation of a permanent federal army had superseded the need for state armies, and thus the Second Amendment became obsolete and arcane.
The Court recognized the government’s interests in the Second Amendment in forming a national army, more so than individuals owning weapons. It ruled in favor of the government’s attempt to regulate weaponry amongst the civilian populace as a necessary police action. And not an individual freedom that one has unilaterally unabridged in the Constitution.
The Court saw this by citing the very first part of the amendment as the original intent of the forefathers. The Court noted these forefathers saw the amendment purpose as forming a national army which required people to own guns. But now, this right no longer required it. The government had the freedom to restrict those rights as desired to secure “a free State”.
This ruling overturned such rulings as District of Columbia v. Heller, and others like it.
The War on Drugs
Because of the Supreme Court decision legalizing the state implementation of drugs domestically but not the transportation between them changed the entire War on Drugs.
The international drug cartels, and both the CIA and DEA, suffered with these economic changes. No longer was there a flow of drugs from places like Afghanistan to the American users. Now poppies were being grown locally in the U.S.
The CIA had no more tools to use to fund operations or get the leverage it needs in international operations. This reduces the U.S. footprint in covert and other activities globally, making the CIA nothing more than just a spy ring for the federal government.
The DEA no longer was needed to globally deal with drug cartels because those international cartels have fallen apart economically. The DEA was reorganized and tasked with dealing with the trafficking of drugs and paraphernalia between U.S. states and entry into the U.S.
The Supreme Court’s decision on drugs impacted the use of forfeiting property laws without due process. This impacted local, state, and federal policing revenues through the reselling of that property.
Economies of countries which depended upon the drug trade collapsed. Many cartels, like that in Mexico, started moving into the business of logistically running drugs between the American states. Some cartels tried to grow raw materials on federal lands but met resistance from agencies like the Ranger Marshals.
The future does not differ from today with syndicated crime networks operating globally and between the planets. The only difference are the crimes.
In the future, the international trafficking of drugs and women has become less profitable. The U.S. domestic trafficking of drugs became more profitable. For a time, in the U.S. the trafficking of military grade firearms becomes an extensive business with the decision of the Fifth U.S. Court of Appeals on the matter of gun use. The biggest gun manufacturers end up being communist nations and Mars.
Since the creation of sex-bots in android technology, female sex slave trafficking dropped. But in its place grew male sex slaves. This more so in parts of the world where the female-male sex ratio favored women. Most male sex slaves are young boys who are altered and feed hormones to develop them. Off-world male trafficking to Mars was also profitable.
Two other major criminal activities are A.I. ransomware and illegal cybernetic enhancements. The trafficking area of illegally immigrating people because of the melting polar caps was not as profitable for the crime syndicates, but a few groups still practice it.
A sub-branch of syndicated crime networks still practices money laundering. These are crime groups specializing in the laundering of illegal cash and are big business since the growth of A.I. systems designed to detect such crimes. These groups are really at the heart and soul of the whole crime network and paid handsomely for their hacking skills.
Image- Rotunda of the Capitol, By Joshua Sukoff, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (Processed using Adobe Spark)
Mariage, Androids and The Supreme Court
This is Part 2 of the important legal changes that have occurred in the dystopian America of Rosella's World. Changes that have profoundly impacted society and culture.
The Supreme Court of the U.S.
The number of justices on the Supreme Court is determined by Congress, as per the Constitution. The issue known as presidential legacy created by retiring judges caused Congress to enact the FDR plan. The number of justices was raised from the 9 to 15 through retirement.
By the time President Veronica Simmons was elected to power by Congress, there was a mixture of 15 Supreme Court Justices serving of various ages, and legal dispositions.
As a result, majority opinions on many cases were nearly impossible. The resultant was lower court opinions were now stronger than ever before, but only impacted the region of that court.
The Decision Dealing with Marriage and Family Life
When the A-2 model androids came out, groups of men wanted to marry them. Object sexuality became a social reality. Some societies, like in Germany, reacted with social stigmas being attached to such behaviors. Others were more open.
In the U.S., this issue became a Federal case before the U.S. Supreme Court with the case, Montgomery v. Matsuta-Hawkins Leasing Company, et al. In an unprecedented move, the Supreme Court took up the case despite the lack of other similar cases present in any of the 12 other Courts of Appeals.
Chief Justice Alicia Carver convinced her fellow justices that this case was too important to the nation to wait for any other cases to appear. She noted that it was time to decide android rights before it became a problem later, and this was the perfect case.
With this case, Randy Montgomery wanted to marry his A-2 leased android, Roxanne. The leasing agency bulked at the idea when he applied for the license in the state of Georgia. Georgia at the time had a law on the books requiring leasing agencies to be notified if someone tried to marry an android so the leasing agency could claim default. It was the state’s way of dealing with the morality of object sexuality.
With this case, the Supreme Court used the same legal tradition found in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and Roe v. Wade (1973) that defined privacy to form it’s majority opinion.
As the majority opinion said, “While we agree with the minority, and the state of Georgia, that androids are inherently machines and therefore not afforded any rights specified in the Constitution. We disagree with the assertion of Georgia’s right to regulate the institution of marriage. We, of the majority opinion, see the historical legal tradition of marriage as an institution that is a sacred trust of privacy between those of practicing faith or individuals privately to which no government may interfere or govern.”
Thus, marriage as an act was returned to the people to deal with.
With this decision came the fact that no longer could a state marry people or issue licenses. Nor could they or the Federal government recognize any social or tax benefits. This unraveled tons of tax code and other laws involving divorce and family law. Ironically untouched by this decision were issues involving childcare, child welfare, or laws dealing with underage sex.
By this point in time the U.S. society had become negatively reproductive, and less responsive to being socially together in family structures. Object sexuality grew mostly among men. But this new legal development just pushed society over the edge. Marriage was dead. Only those following religions would get married and have kids. Such legal ideas quickly spread to other parts of the developed world.
With the development of the A-4 android models and their reproductive abilities, the manufacturers and leasing agents pushed a new family concept centered on these androids. This idea took off, not only to deal with the Martian population growth issue, but also back on Earth. It became trendy to have a large cloned family as a sign of wealth and status. Soon those who could afford it were building large cloned families from androids.
One of the defining persons who caused many women in the U.S. to be disenchanted with married life was Krishna Shree. She was an Arab Hindi immigrant to the US, and a young adult of the late #MeToo feminist movements that had taken root in parts of India. She and her young husband fled to America because of a wave of increased violence against the native Arab populations in India. To make matters worse, they were a mixed union between Arab and Hindu. Her in-laws saw her as an untouchable for her Muslim heritage even though India was in the early part of the Second Age of Humanity.
In the US, she raised a traditional family of four and was a stay-at-home mother. But later, when the Supreme Court decision concerning marriage happened, she declared her marriage over and left her husband. When she left her husband, her four children were adults. She then started her own career as a social media net personality. Her channel bashed the idea women should get married and depend on men on any capacity. She promoted the power of the single woman’s life. Eventually she wrote a book called, “Men can have Space, I’ll take Earth” where she rambles on about the male American culture. The book is very misandry and blames men for the climate change.
The book became a big seller and defined the women’s movement of that period. This propelled many women to shatter areas left in society where men still where a majority, except for space. It also resulted in lots of women either leaving their husbands or not marrying. Men also took the book’s advice and sought space as a career. Krishna Shree would eventually run for the US House of Representatives and serve one term there. She would then later die of breast cancer. She wrote other books, but they were not as popular as that first one. Ironically, it’s her eldest son that still manages her estate and the associated royalties to her remaining children.
The Net Result
All these changes would help foster the political desire to allow 501(c)3 churches to actively participate in political campaigns by those against object sexuality and the new views on marriage.
Image- Rotunda of the Capitol, By Joshua Sukoff, Source Unsplash, Unsplash License (Processed using Adobe Spark)
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)
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).
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).
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)
President Veronica Simmons was unique as US Presidents go. Unlike her predecessors, she abolished the White House press corps and had no office or staff for the White House press relations. Instead, coming from a social media net background, she would run every national address, meeting, or dignitary greeting from the Oval Office or on location. She saw this as an extension of her original talk show. She would even sell audience tickets, which became a popular national lottery.
During her presidency, the U.S. was ratifying the Immigration Amendment to the Constitution. She would also personally oversee one of the bloodiest battles on U.S. soil since the Civil War of the late 1800s.
It would be months prior to this bloody event that stories were circulating of how Congress was planning to amend the Second Amendment. These stories talked about the removal of individual arms ownership and to reserve it to only the police and armed forces. This rallied up groups like John Elliott’s Democratic National Militia, the successor to the NRA. In response to these stories, small protests took place across the nation by gun rights enthusiasts.
President Simmons using her White House platform ramped this issue up by making up fake accusations about key congressional leaders who may be responsible.
Then on a fateful day in June, gun rights activists assembled south of Warrenton Virginia to prepare for a march into the nation’s capital. Some of them had brought heavy armored vehicles and old tanks they had refurbished. They carried flags and banners from years past of different US military units. They dressed for a confrontation with body armor and gas masks.
A panicking Governor of Virginia called President Simmons for help. The President promised to send both the National Guard and the Ranger Marshals, but in exchange for exclusive coverage rights and a complete media blackout of the event by any other organization. The Governor agreed to her demands.
Thus, it came to be that the battle at Warrenton was completely covered and given a blow by blow commentary by the President of the United States for the entire world to see. Losses were heavy on both sides, but the civilian forces surrendered.
As a result, some saw President Veronica Simmons as a forceful leader, and by others as nothing more than a ratings hog since she interrupted many shows for the live coverage.
Artwork drawn by comic book artist, Matthew Childers.
In Rosella’s world there is a group called the Neo-Obliteration Movement which goes around trying to erase all symbols, words, and cultural concepts of hate. They are extremist in their ideologies and protest national Civil War parks, monuments to various figures of history, war monuments, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as symbols of hate to be removed from society. They want nothing more than to expunge from society every reference to hate so we have a culture that knows of no wars, racial hatred, no genocides or any other form of hate as if these things never happened. They do so to the point of even killing people and property destruction. This story bit is part of this group’s history.
The NOM Dictionary
The Superior Court of the County of Los Angeles heard a civil case involving hate speech brought forth by the Neo-Obliteration Movement of Southern California, LLC in the hopes to overturn decades of court cases, such as the famous Beauharnais v. Illinois permitting hate speech. The Neo-Obliteration Movement was trying to get the County of Lost Angeles to approve a list of non-offensive words and to ban a specified list of words. Called the NOM Dictionary, this was an attempt to clean up the hate speech in society. The case won at the Superior Court level but was later overturned in subsequent courts due to the Federal Supreme Court precedent on this issue. President Veronica Simmons took note and created the Agency of Morally Correct Speech which went around trying to promote the NOM Dictionary. This move just inflamed hate groups like the KKK and the Alt-Right who launched lawsuit after lawsuit in each jurisdiction the Agency pushed its agenda. In the most unlikely team up was when the Agency pushed to remove the Federal land donation to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as an appeasement to the NOM base. Aside from Jewish groups who came to protest this move, U.S. Neo-Nazis groups joined against the move because they considered NOM a threat to their Nazi hateful heritage. President Simmons washed her hands of the whole affair blaming a Congressman for the Agency idea to gather votes.
For 40 years, there are eight individuals who become President of the United States through a failure of the Electoral College determining a winner. No more are there just two parties seeking the highest office of the land, but a host of multiple smaller parties dividing up the vote across the country. There are no more blue and red states. Now each state is a quilt of mixed up colors. Both Republicans and Democrats try coalitions with the smaller factions but all attempts fail. Politically we are more divided than ever.
The list of Presidents are as follows
Rick Garrett (two terms)
Jane Barker (two terms)
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