After the presidency

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1925. Taft is seated...

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1925. Taft is seated in the bottom row, middle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On January 20, 2017, Barack Obama will be 55 years young, too young to retire and write his memoirs. He could return to Congress as John Quincy Adams did or he could be appointed to an opening on the Supreme Court as William Howard Taft was. Personally, I favor an appointment to the Supreme Court. If President Obama were appointed to the Court, he would have served in all three branches of the Federal government as well as the Illinois government and would bring a unique perspective to the Court.

Price of souls

Image representing Rupert Murdoch as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

When I occasionally watch FOX for a few moments, I often ask myself how much the commentator is getting from Rupert Murdoch as the price of his/her soul. There are exceptions on FOX, such as Shephard Smith, Juan Williams and Geraldo Rivera, who have not sold themselves to the devil, and there may be others. How can they live with themselves when they must know that what they say is untrue? I know the pressures that employees face from their employers and the Citizens United decision has made the situation worse. In our system, you must work to live. Supreme Court decisions and the laws enacted by Congress SHOULD be designed to protect the rights of  individuals. Labor unions performed this function to some extent in the past, but the GOP are warring against unions at the insistence of their masters, the 1%.

Winners, whiners and wieners

Roberts

Roberts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Supreme Court decision on Obamacare has divided the country into winners and whiners. The American people are the winners and the TEA Party/GOP are the whiners, believing their own propaganda about the law.

It is a shame that full implementation of the law does not occur until 2014. People generally like the parts of the law already in effect and are likely to accept and embrace the rest of the law as they become acquainted with the real provisions, not the TEA Party/GOP version.

Wieners have nothing to do with this post. I added it to the title to add a bit of pizzazz. HOT DOG. Not Anthony Weiner.

Freedom

English: Louis Brandeis portrait, 1915

Image via Wikipedia

When I was young and naive, I believed in a lot of things like free markets, less regulation, and work hard and you’ll succeed. I worked hard and I succeeded…for a while. Then I decided to follow a different path. That allowed me to view the world from a different perspective.

Freedom does not result from free markets and free market capitalism. Freedom is the product of freedom of speech and democracy, and democracy is  the result neither of free markets nor of capitalism.

Miners used to use a canary in a cage to test for dangerous concentrations of gas. Like a caged canary, the health of the middle class is a test for the health of a democracy. The American middle class is disappearing, and American democracy is in danger.

Fifteen years ago, I began an intense study of American history. At one time, I believed that if you worked hard, you would be rewarded with some success. Those people who failed were to blame for their own failures. Over time, my views changed. Louis Brandeis was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from 1916 to 1939 and a great man. I came to embrace his dictum, you can have great concentrations of wealth or you can have democracy, but not both at the same time.

Therefore, anything that concentrates wealth in the 1% and harms the middle class is bad. Anything that decreases the concentration of wealth and helps the middle class is good for freedom and democracy.

Please see Supreme Court | Saving America | 3 scenarios for 2012

3 branches of government

English: The voltage of a sine wave

Image via Wikipedia

In the US Federal government, there are three co-equal branches: executive represented by the President, legislative represented by Congress and judicial represented by the Supreme Court. All three vary in effectiveness and quality of output over time. If you graphed their performance, you would show curves similar to a sine-wave with peaks and valleys.  Since each branch of government responds to a different time frame, Congress two years, the President four years, and the Court life-time appointments, the peaks and troughs may or may not coincide. If two of three or all three coincide in a peak or trough, then there is a maximum or a minimum in effectiveness. Peaks are good; troughs are bad.

Let me give an example of what I am talking about. During the GW Bush administration, there was a trough in all three branches of government that maximized the destructiveness of Bush’s policies. The 2008 election changed one branch of government, the executive branch,  from a trough to a peak and left the other two branches of government unchanged. As much as President Obama may wish to implement the changes he promised and we have hoped for, he has been opposed and stymied by the other two branches. Changing the Supreme Court requires a lot of time. We can change the complexion of Congress rather quickly.  Let us do so in November. Then two of the three branches may operate at their peak effectiveness for the benefit of the 99%.

Please see Supreme Court