Should everyone learn constructon skills? (DADT III story)

This article on Intellectual Takeout comports with some ideas in the DADT-3 book, especially the story “Expedition”, where on p. 273 Randy tells Bill (me) that he is going to take up the proletarian activity of carpentry.

Although  a lot of this happens with people who want to go back to the woods – whether the Lama Foundation (my last visit in 1984) or intentional communities like Twin Oaks and Acorn near Mineral VA.

Should people have the skills to rebuild their own homes after disasters?  A lot of time they have to.  FEMA trailers haven’t worked out that well.

TWIMC: Trust advisory letter for 2018 sent; here is the big picture

I did send letters to six beneficiaries today.

Here is a copy of the text:

(START)

I am writing to notify you that you are a beneficiary of two trusts of which I am the sole acting executor. These are “The Margaret Boushka Trust” (after my late mother) as interpreted and amended by replacement on Feb. 16, 2012, and the “John Boushka Trust” set up at that time, all as grantor trusts.

Under the Virginia Uniform Trust Acts, I am required to advise you annually of what is happening.

In October 2017 I sold the trust home at 5143 N. 15th St. Arlington VA 22205 and used the proceeds to purchase a condo unit at 5501 Seminary Road #1301S Falls Church VA 22041, all titled under the Margaret Boushka Trust but naming me as the sole acting trustee.

The settlement transactions, after completed and paying all related expenses, resulted in a net liquidity increase of about $397,000 in all funds controlled by me, including both trusts.  The liquid assets in the Margaret Boushka Trust are about $825,000 and in the John Boushka Trust they are about $163000.  “Liquid assets” refer to cash, checking and savings accounts, and securities (bonds and stocks) that can normally be sold in a few business days in the usual securities markets.   One immediate expectation would be setting aside $200,000 for 20 years taxes, utilities, repairs, and condo fees in securities that cannot lose principal.

Under state and federal laws, beneficiaries are entitled to the expectation that an executor will treat trust funds with a sense of fiduciary responsibility, even if the benefits would only pass on after the executor’s own death.  They way the trust is written, no more “distributions” as such to previous heirs or current beneficiaries are to be made.   Charitable giving as such should be commensurate with income flow (and tax law, which is changing as we know).  However, there is an emphasis on “responsible investing” in socially responsible endeavors such as green technologies or perhaps even infrastructure and power grid security.  There would be the possibility (which I have not tried yet) of Kiva loans overseas.  There could be a possibility of investment in affordable housing (as, for example, for asylum seekers, in accordance with existing immigration law).  But these would have to be run as investments, not as contributions.

There may be a few possible investments (for example, independent film) where it is far preferable to use a trust with only my own name on it.  While the standards for my own trust may be slightly more lenient (for example, a small investment in bitcoin or other digital currency would be permissible if in my own name only) in general there is little practical difference between the two.

The trust documents do make provisions for special needs beneficiaries.  I personally do not like to be in the business of evaluating at a personal level what is a special need, particularly when it can become politicized.

It is also possible to provide beneficiaries small monthly income flows.

So what I have decided to do is as follows:

I will pay out 5% of the liquidity increase over 20 years in 240 monthly payments, as long as I am alive and as long as each beneficiary is alive or organization is functioning.  This amounts to $83 a month. Payments will me made around the 15th of each month starting January 15, 2018.  For all beneficiaries I need current mailing addresses for the bank (right now Wells Fargo ) to use in mailing payments.  This is the only payment mechanism used by the trust;  special platforms that some charities or non-profits use for matching grants can not be used for this purpose.

It is possible to change (add or remove) beneficiaries but this involves further legal expenses.

Currently, some income that is paid to me directly by an annuity goes back to the Margaret Boushka Trust for charitable contributions.  That mechanism will continue.  Other organizations which are not beneficiaries may continue to receive some contributions in this manner.  Every organization however should understand that a contribution does not imply that I personally agree with every position the organization on every possible issue, or would become involved in every issue.  I generally do not run fund raising campaigns for other organizations under my own name or brands.

(END)

A couple of points.

I forgot to put the email contact and cell on there.  It is on the “About” page for this site.  If you call me and I don’t pick up (as when driving), please leave a detailed message.  Texting, or Facebook or Twitter messenger, or email are fine.

The letter (annually) may be a legally driven requirement and does not require a response.

But it is significant that the Trusts now are geared around to providing small income to beneficiaries and death benefits after my own passing.  They no longer pay “distributions” as Mom’s did in 2011.

There is some interest on the idea that wise investments on socially responsible projects would leave more wealth for beneficiaries without ethical complaints from how it was acquired.

As I have noted, the trust language does seem to encourage the possibility of extra payments or gifts to “special needs beneficiaries”.  This language may derive from a tradition where many trusts are written for “closely knit” extended families where the trustees know personally various other family members well.  That is not always the case with me.  Nevertheless, there are some ideas that the trust language would want me to consider.  If a beneficiary has a medical need that cannot be covered by normal insurance but where some sort of innovative private intervention is possible and conceivably life-saving, that is something for me to consider. One of the beneficiaries is a well-known charity serving children and does encourage sponsorship.   Although I have some reservations about engaging in this gratuitously, the trust language would have encouraged some risk taking for specific needs.

I have a huge list of to-do items to make my own content commercially successful.  It’s important for me to “get my own job done” before joining campaigns for others.

Picture: New Years in Falls Church VA, about 1 AM.

Posted: Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 7 PM EST

ALS Testimony in the family

A cousin, slightly younger than me, gives her testimonial from Ohio on her experience with ALS.

The couple also has a major wedding anniversary this weekend.

The quality of the video is film-like and gives a lot of insight into how ALS unfolds.

ALS did an ice-bucket challenge a few years ago.

I understand that Timo Descamps (video just above) will be starting a new project in Belgium in 2018.

I’ve tended to keep a DADT attitude on my own medical tests.  But my own physician is insisting on more frequent blood monitoring. I suspect I won’t be able to put off the colonoscopy forever.  Another friend treated himself to a night before in a luxury hotel next to the clinic — when you can’t eat anything.

Something eventually happens to everyone of us.  Unless extraterrestrial angels really exist. They may.

Legacy review of “The Theory of Everything” and the life of Stephen Hawking (mentioned in the first video), here.

(Posted: Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 at 11:45 PM EST)

TWIMC: Some rearrangement of trust monies

TWIMC: Today I have made some allocations among my various accounts following on the sale of the condo and increase in liquidity.

I have “paid myself”, into a personal checking account, $26000, for time spent on the move and for certain extra expenses regarding damage and replacement of certain items.

I have moved 25% of the extra liquidity (which turned out to be about $397,000, after also allowing for immediate heater replacement and technology upgrade in the condo) from “mother’s” trust to the trust in my own name.  I have also moved about $45000 more to my own trust as I found that there were some liquid assets that had not been distributed to me.

The total  in “mom’s” trust is about $839000, including the cash value ($96000) of a long term care policy.  The total in mine is about $147000.  Both trusts have the same list of beneficiaries (two individuals and four organizations).  In both trusts the fiduciary accountability of me is essentially the same.   But in certain circumstances, it may be easier to invest from a trust that has only my name.  It is no longer lawful to make gross distributions on the schedule (as laid of in 2009), as the language adopted in 2012 overrides.  However, it is possible to provide small income flow to beneficiaries over a long period of time.  It is also possible to consider socially responsible investing (like green power).  But investments (say, in housing) that would be personally beneficial to some people need, in principle, the potential of being paid back.  About $200,000 between the two trusts needs to be kept in cash or securities that don’t lose principal.

The practice I have followed is to return a $1400 Brighthouse annuity payment to me back the MDB trust and use it to make donations to organizations, as a kind of “rent” for living in trust owned property.  Some of these organizations had been those favored by my mother.  I have added my own over time.

What I expect to do is offer 5% of the increase in liquidity to each beneficiary, but spread out in monthly payments over twenty years (or as long as a beneficiary lives or an organization exists).  Some other organizations will remain to get small monthly gifts but some will stop.  I expect to put in these changes during the second week of January 2018.   The trust language actively encourages consideration of “special needs” which might apply to minor children of beneficiaries.  It is possible for me to consider these, but I am usually very hesitant to pass personal judgment on what is a “special need”.

I believe there will be one more  (smaller) transfer to my own trust in early January regarding another matter that I’ll get into at the time.

(Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 12:30 PM EST)

Talk of a constitutional convention, started by conservatives; I’ve covered it in my books

There is a movement to replace he United States Constitution, by conservatives, as outlined in “The Daily Beast” in an article by Teresa Tomlinson

I had ventured into this area in my DADT-1 book, Chapter 3, first section, p. 117 in the iUniverse version (p. 82 in the original 1997), where I discussed my clandestine spying on “The People’s Party of New Jersey” in a Newark, New Jersey rowhouse in December 1972 (right before “My Second Coming” in February 1973). The women there were angry enough to call for a “constitutional convention”.  In my first printing (as my copyeditor later caught), I had called it a “constitutional conventional”.

This time, it could be serious.

I note also (if I haven’t before here), the quote page from Hamlet’s speech (right before the intermission in the 1996 movie) should end with the word “unused”, not “used”, corrected in the iUniverse version.

I should add that the DADT II book offers a Chapter 2, “Launching a Bill of Rights II”, p. 9;  the methods of the constitutional amending process are taken up on p. 17.

There are some YouTube videos on the constitutional rewrite threat; it’s not clear if some of these videos could have come from fake or Russian sources.

My own references:

DADT I Chapter 3,   footnote file

DADT 2, Chapter 2

 Legacy review of “Contemporary Questions Regarding the Constitutional Amending Process” by John Vile, Praeger, 1993

(Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 at 10:30 AM EST)

Picture: Constitution Center in Philadelphia, 2015

 

An odd reminder of my story “Expedition” on a little day trip

On a visit yesterday to the Blue Ridge foothills to investigate a racist incident, I drove through Washington VA, and found not only a typical artists studio and a book shed, but also a “woodworking” shop.

I noted well the quaint little neighborhood movie theater, old style.

I mention that because the story “Expedition” Bill’s former roommate Randy, whom he meets up with for a personal reunion, has taken up a possible doomsday prepper lifestyle and will take up “carpentry” (2 / 3 through the story) at the urging of his new bride. Oh, yes, they will have a baby.  So conventional.

I also found a “book barn” that sells used books to support the Rappahannock County library next door.  They even gave away books, including some stored in the latrine.  The town has a country road called “Library Drive”.  Welcome to Reid Ewing’s first little film, “It’s Free” (2012).

(Posted: Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 8:30 AM)

A little more detail on student deferments during Vietnam

For most of the Vietnam era draft until 1969 (when the lottery started), anyone who took a student deferment could have his eligibility for the draft extended past age 26. Also, for much of that time the rule was “oldest first” even though there was a proposal in 1967 to change that and to scarp most student deferments. Johnson even released a propaganda film in the summer of 1965, “Why Vietnam?”

I didn’t get all of this into the book, but see it around p 121 of “Enduring Vietnam”, by James Wright, which I will review later on another blog.

(Posted: Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 at 11:55 PM EST)

TWIMC: More on how trust “gain in liquidity” will be handled

I wanted to bring everyone up to date on the matter of the house sale, downsizing, condo purchase, and liquidity excess.

Mother’s trust increased in liquidity (that is, personal property as opposed to real property) by about $397000.  This allows for paying legal fees and replacing the heating-ac system (that is, a $199000 condo becomes a $203000 with a brand new HVAC up to the latest wiring code and with state of the art technology).

Legal counsel does not buy the idea that distributions either to me or to original heirs should come from this additional “cash”.  Counsel believes it should stay there to add additional buffer to take care of me, should the “worst” happen, such as nursing home stay along with Porter Stansberry’s theories about money coming true. Counsel said that a reverse mortgage on the old property would have been permissible (I did not think so because the property is not in my name) and the law somewhat favors trying to develop and monetize existing property on one’s own rather than “downsizing” (or “going small”, as Matt Damon says) and taking the cash (previous post Nov. 6), and letting someone else play Monopoly with the property.

The trust does have a fiduciary duty to the six beneficiaries named in it, but the actual provisions for distribution apply only at my death.  This may sound “morbid”, that I have to pass away for the money (extra liquidity from downsizing) to do anyone else any good.

There is a middle ground.  It is possible to give small monthly payments through an automated mechanism (through a bank) to beneficiaries.  One could, for example, take the intended distribution amount and spread it out over 20 years (240 months), which converts to remaining distribution should I pass away before then.

It is also possible to give supplementary quasi-distributions to “special needs beneficiaries”, which can be goods or services rather than money.  This provision, unfortunately, involves me in passing moral judgment on other people’s “needs”. But state trust law codes, often rather feudal, were written with closely-knit families in mind, and the possibility of squabbles, like in Victorian novels (“My Cousin Rachel”).

Trust law seems also presume that when an organization is a beneficiary, the grantor is involved with the business of the organization and participates materially.  Disagreements can happen and priorities can change.  But it is difficult to change a beneficiary; he/she/it is like “your child” and comes first.

New practices in payments will start in January 2018 and I’ll send letters out to the beneficiaries, as apparently required by VA law (I think this is a bit debatable) by the end of the year.

One other important point:  The revised trust (as of Feb. 2012) puts into play new rules for the liquid amounts from the viewpoint of trust law in Virginia.  The distribution formulas in the 2009 document do not necessarily continue to hold unless explicitly brought over, and can be overridden by implied fiduciary responsibilities to beneficiaries (after my death) named in the 2012 document.  “Morally” (or as public policy, implemented in administrative law) this sounds a little perverse, but that’s how it is!

Miami Marlins baseball makes itself seen at Miami book fair

I’ll add a post-it or post-script to the posting about the book fair.

The bookfair had a cubicle or booth for the Miami Marlins baseball team that allowed kids to hit a T-ball into a batting cage. All I saw hit were little ground balls.

I attracted questions with my Nats cap — would the Nats take away Giancarlo Stanton?

I wanted to see Marlin’s Park — the new one — but there is no sign for it from I-95.  I didn’t even see a sign for FL 968.  I think it is off 2nd St SW,  a few blocks to the west of downtown.

Here is what it would look like.

Wikipedia credit:

;CC BY 2.0, Link

Or try this picture for the field today:   The home run dimensions are pretty spacious. So Stanton’s achievement is even more impressive (as is Christian Yelich).

(Posted: Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017 at 10 PM EDT)

My DADT-3 book appears at Miami Book Fair 2017

Here are the video clips from my visit to the Miami Book Fair 2017 today, where Author Solutions (including iUniverse and xLibris) had eight panels and my own DADT-3 book was on display.

The event took place at Dade College in downtown Miami just west of Biscayne Ave (Route 1) and 3rs St.  It was outdoors like a street fair.

Traffic was horrendous.  But there was valet parking ($20 for four hours) next door.

Some of this I need to edit in Final Cut Pro soon (I am Sideways in Video 2 as I talk about the philosophy of DADT-3

Author Solutions provided a PDF directory of its books at the event and my DADT-III book shows (look for my last name), here.  Like “The Good Doctor”, I walked around at first (I got there about 3 PM Saturday afternoon) and determined that Author Solutions occupied eight booths or stalls; my book was in the sixth, I think.

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(Posted: Saturday, November 18, 2017)

A repository of footnotes for my DADT books and other stuff