Sunday, June 26, 2022

FULL COURT PRESSED

Mark I. Jacobson 'The Year of My Life: reminiscences and rants: Politics' -- Published in 2016 Available for purchase on Amazon

The GOP in the final stages of the POTUS selection process. The party is in disarray and the candidates are sniping at each other like five-year-olds on a school playground. Republicans are trying to get back to their core values as a party, but extremists within the party are derailing every effort. Political debates are beginning to look like Jerry Springer shouting matches. The only saving grace in this whole process is that the party’s rank and file is reveling in this departure from an otherwise boring election process.

Then, the worst thing that could possibly happen to them actually happens. A leading advocate of the GOP’s intertwined political and religious beliefs, ups and dies on them. To make matters worse, he happens to be on the Supreme Court of the United States. I mean, he had the job for life! As a party, they hoped that the life part would last beyond the current presidential election cycle. But, alas, such is life.

To be fair, I could have just as easily chosen a justice affiliated with the other side of the aisle because the degree of political influence is interchangeable; but fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your political point of view) none of them have died recently. So let’s take a closer look at the Supreme Court justice in question.

His name was Antonin Gregory Scalia. He was the only child of an Ellis Island immigrant father and a first generation Italian American mother. He was a good student who went from a Jesuit military school to graduating valedictorian and summa cum laude from Georgetown University. In 1986, then President Ronald Reagan nominated the former general counsel to former President Richard Nixon to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was deeply religious and extremely conservative in his political thinking.

As a Supreme Court justice, he was a strict constitutionalist. To put it simply, that means he believed that the founding fathers, who ratified the Constitution, had the uncanny ability to write a document that would never become societally outdated. Actually, it has more to do with how the Constitution is interpreted, rather than how it’s written. To a strict constitutionalist, you can add amendments in order to address societal changes, but you can’t interpret the Constitution in any way that would accommodate societal changes.

Let me choose a constitutional amendment as an example. Everyone knows the Second Amendment to the Constitution, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." This amendment is actually made up of two parts. The first part is “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State….” You see, this was written before we had a standing army. We were basically a bunch of reservists who grabbed a gun when there was a threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Eventually, we built a standing army and no longer needed a well-regulated militia. The second part of the amendment is “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The idea was that if there was any threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; the men folk would be able to grab guns that they kept in their homes and immediately form a well-regulated militia.

Strict constitutionalists believe that you should never interpret the constitution in a way that would remove any right that has been given to you by the Constitution. As with most things, that’s open to interpretation. My interpretation of the Second Amendment is that you have the right to own a gun if you’re part of a well-regulated militia. But a strict constitutionalist focuses more on the second part of the amendment stating that a person has a right to own a gun.

When this came before SCOTUS, of which Justice Scalia was a part, the justices ruled that the Constitution gave every American the right to own a gun. It was a majority ruling of a Republican controlled Supreme Court. Here’s where I have a problem with any political control of SCOTUS. The Supreme Court of the United States is supposed to be an impartial legal body, but that rarely seems to be the case. We have more guns than people in this country. We have the highest rate of firearms related deaths and injuries in the world. And yet, a Republican controlled Supreme Court opted for political dogma over impartiality. I’m not saying that a Supreme Court controlled by Democrats would have been any more impartial. I’m pretty sure that it would have been just as partial to a liberal point of view. What I am saying is that a society that has moved from muskets to assault rifles needs to be more flexible in its judicial decisions, whichever political party is in charge.

We are already seeing instances where society fails to keep up with technology. The Constitution of the United States will continue to be challenged. We need to ensure that when these challenges arise our Supreme Court justices do what’s right for the country and not what’s right for their respective political parties. But let’s get back to reality and the current Supreme Court dilemma; what to do when a justice dies.

So now the GOP has lost a leading political advocate and a powerful opponent of a great deal of liberal legislation. And as if that’s not enough, the POTUS that they’ve been fighting with for the last seven years has the power to nominate a more liberal thinking justice and change the entire political balance of the Supreme Court.

There’s plenty of time to nominate a new Supreme Court justice. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem. But this isn’t a normal time in political history. From a Republican point of view, with a little bit of luck, they could take back the White House. If that happens, there would be a Republican controlled Congress and White House, at least for a couple of years. But that would be enough time to ensure a Republican nominee and a GOP majority in the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future. And if Republicans are really lucky, the next opening would be from the other side. Hey, I’m not being morbid. Supreme Court justices don’t have to die, they can retire.

Of course, there is always the possibility that the Democrats will hold on to the White House. In that case, a liberal Supreme Court justice will be appointed and the balance of power will shift. This shifting of political power isn’t what the founding fathers envisioned for SCOTUS. When the country was coming together, no one even considered that any of the three branches of government could corrupt the Constitution. They were building a framework that would enable the new American society to function. They thought that they had addressed all the problems that might arise and, for the times that they lived in, they had.

But they never could have foreseen how the power of the people would transform into the power of the party. And therein lies the problem with the Supreme Court of the United States. The justices no longer leave their political and religious beliefs at the entrance to the most hallowed judicial chamber in the country. Let’s take look at a sample of recent Supreme Court decisions.

Employee Paid Contraceptives: The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby. This case focused on whether a Christian owned and operated company should be forced to pay for contraceptives for its employees, if those employees are insured under the Affordable Care Act. The corporation claimed that the ACA provision infringed on their religious liberty. This was a win for the pro-life, religious right-wing of the Republican Party. In case you’re wondering if this is a direct violation of the concept of separation of church and state that is mentioned in the Constitution of the United States, it isn’t. You see, the Constitution makes no mention of a separation of church and state. The Constitution only forbids the government from sponsoring a religion or compelling an American citizen to join a religion. The vote was 5-4 in favor of the Republican majority.

The Confederate Flag and Freedom of Speech: This case focused on whether Texas could reject specialty license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag. The court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that Texas could the reject those license plates. It’s interesting to note that the four Democrats on the court were joined by Republican Clarence Thomas, an African-American. It’s obvious that, when faced with a conflict between his personal and political beliefs, Thomas chose the former.

Race and Redistricting: This case focused on whether the Republican controlled Alabama State Legislature had redistricted high concentrations of black voters in some of its voting districts. The justices ruled that it had engaged in “racial gerrymandering.” The vote was 5-4 in favor of the Democrats. The four Democrats were joined by Justice Kennedy.

Housing Discrimination: A Texas group claimed that their low-income housing vouchers were being rejected by landlords in white suburban areas because they were not required to accept the vouchers unless they accepted Federal tax credits. This case focused on whether a disproportionate number of federal low-income tax credits were being disseminated to landlords in minority neighborhoods. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that this was happening. The four Democrats were joined by Justice Kennedy.

Pollution Limits: This case focused on whether or not the Environmental Protection Agency had violated the clean air act. The court ruled that the EPA had failed to do a cost benefit analysis before setting stricter limits on pollutants from power plants. The vote was 5-4 in favor of Republicans.

Same-Sex Marriage: The court ruled that same-sex couples can enjoy the same right to marry as heterosexual couples, anywhere in the United States. The vote was 5-4 in favor of the Democrats. The four Democrats were joined by Justice Kennedy.

There is an interesting aside to several of these Supreme Court decisions. I noticed that Justice Anthony Kennedy broke ranks with his fellow Republican justices on more than one occasion. Those occasions resulted in 5-4 votes in favor of the other side. I decided to take a more in-depth look at his background and found something that may help to explain this phenomenon.

Kennedy was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on November 30, 1987. Kennedy was confirmed by the Senate on February 3, 1988. At that time of his confirmation, there was a Republican president and a U.S. Senate controlled by Democrats. The confirmation vote was 97-0. One more thing, the confirmation of Justice Kennedy came nine months before a presidential election. I’m willing to bet that this moment in time, when politicians chose to do what was best for the country, has become indelibly etched in Justice Kennedy’s memory. I guess there are times when the scales of justice really are politically blind.

Although the justices are evenly matched at the moment, that won’t last for long. At this point, I should tell you that I don’t have a PhD in American history or constitutional law. What I’m about to say is only an opinion and I welcome any comments to the contrary. In my opinion, the founding fathers created a deeply flawed judicial branch. Here’s my idea of what would have worked better.

I think that the current, but temporary configuration of the Supreme Court works much better. We have an equal number of liberal and conservative justices. You see, the founding fathers failed to realize that it’s impossible to completely turn off a human beings belief system. Our beliefs, whether political or religious, become hardwired over time. Even if we had robot Supreme Court justices with artificial intelligence, it would be impossible to ensure that they wouldn’t “learn” our human belief system if given enough time. The founding fathers believed that, in the event of a deadlock, a ninth justice was the best solution. I believe that a better solution would have been to embrace party politics and require four members of each party be appointed to the Supreme Court.

So how would we overcome a judicial stalemate? My vision of SCOTUS would create a “ninth justice” comprised of the electorate. Once or twice a year, depending on the judicial workload, the voters would decide the outcome of any judicial decisions that were hopelessly deadlocked. There would be no campaigning or political party persuasion. The eight Supreme Court justices would submit two opposing conclusions for each case, directly to the American voters. In order to ensure fairness, each conclusion would be submitted to the opposing quartet of judges for analysis and editing until both sides agreed on the wording. The wording of the conclusions would be written in plain English and absent of any legalese. In the unlikely event that voting ended in a tie, the case in question would be referred down to the district court for adjudication. The decision of that court would be final.

In fact, let’s have some fun by trying my system out on an actual Supreme Court ruling. Recently, the eight remaining Supreme Court justices ruled on a case brought by the Obama Administration. In November of 2014, President Obama issued an executive order that gave temporary legal status, and an indefinite reprieve from deportation, to millions of illegal immigrants. It applied to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who had lived here for at least five years. It also allowed immigrants, who arrived as children and are under 30, to apply for a deportation deferral if they are living here legally. There’s more, but that was the core of the argument. If my system actually came into being, there would be much more information.

Congressional Republicans claimed that Obama didn’t have the authority to delay the deportation of this many immigrants without legislation. A lower court blocked the executive order. The administration appealed to the Supreme Court. SCOTUS split straight down party lines; the four Democrats disagreed with the lower court, while the four Republicans affirmed the court’s ruling. The deadlock allowed the lower court’s ruling to stand. If you were the “ninth justice,” how would you rule? Let me hear from you. The prologue of this book lists several ways to reach me.

So would my “ninth justice” idea ensure that the Supreme Court of the United States better represented the will of the people? Here’s something to think about before you answer. A majority of voters, whatever their politics, believe that politicians become detached from the people who elect them to political office. For the most part, they aim their frustrations at the executive and congressional branches of government. The judicial branch of government is largely overlooked because, for the most part, the justices operate behind closed doors and with very little fanfare.

In all honesty, it would be almost impossible to apply the same voting system to the other two branches of government. For one thing, the unilateral powers of the president are limited and, in most cases, only temporary. Whether or not you believe that a large percentage of congressional output is political posturing; the fact remains that the sheer workload of elected officials and their staffs would make a system such as I’ve described, completely unworkable.

But the Supreme Court is the only branch of government in which the electorate has absolutely no say in the matter. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could change that? The ramifications of Supreme Court decisions can last over many decades and generations before they are ever challenged. Unlike laws that are designed to deal primarily with punishment, Supreme Court decisions deal with cultural and social changes. These decisions may not be as obvious to the average American citizen as are laws that deal with everyday actions.

Supreme Court decisions affect Americans on a far deeper level. These decisions permeate throughout our societal fabric and helped to create and expand an American sense of values to this country and the rest of the world. On the surface, a Supreme Court decision may appear to only deal with one individual or one company; but that decision will eventually affect many or all individuals and companies in this country.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

It’s Not Political.  It’s Personal.

I’ve been a writer for 40 years and yet it feels strange to be writing this.  I’m not one to blow my own horn.  My accomplishments in life are my own.  I have never felt the need to impress people with them and at 63 years of age, I don’t care whether I impress people or not.  But I could not stay silent any longer.

When then political candidate Donald J. Trump stood in front of a crowd of thousands and gleefully mocked Serge Kovaleski, a New York Times reporter afflicted with cerebral palsy, I could no longer stay silent.  Up until then, he had denigrated Latinos, Muslims, prisoners of war, women – the list goes on and on.  I had watched from afar, sympathetic and embarrassed for them.  But I did not get angry until he attacked me.

You see, I was born with cerebral palsy.  Unlike the New York Times reporter, it only affected my ability to walk.  I say only because, outside of the fact that I was relegated to a wheelchair, my life was normal.  I was fortunate to grow up in a place where I was not bullied because I was different.  I had a lot of friends, incredible parents, and more than understanding teachers.  But as my friends started leaving for college and it became apparent that my parents had done all they could for me, I adopted a win at all costs attitude towards getting out of the wheelchair.

At this point, I should say that this was not the first time that I had attempted to leave the wheelchair.  As a young child, I had been fitted with short-legged and long-legged braces.  In those days, they were a superstructure of steel and heavy leather pads.  I hated them.  In the New York winters, they were cold and the summers made them hot and sticky. The constant pressure of the leather pads on my knees would cause them to become red and irritated.  But I would wear them because I had been told that stretching my muscles, much like stretching a rubber band, would cause the muscle atrophy to release. The doctors said to wear the braces locked for two hours a day.  I wore them locked for eight hours a day.  I wore the short braces, designed to hold my feet in a straight position, when I went to sleep.  My reasoning was that sleep was a wasted period that could be better utilized as therapy.  My parents put an end to that when sleep became no sleep.  In between, there were fruitless surgeries to forcibly release atrophied tendons or muscles.  When all was said and done, I found myself back at square one and still in a wheelchair.

Years later, I was about to transfer to a college 2,500 miles away from home.  There was no Americans with Disabilities Act.  Leaving home for the first time would be difficult.  A wheelchair would only compound that difficulty.  Then and there, I made the decision to either leave the wheelchair behind or “crash and burn” in the attempt.  It was all or nothing.  Six months later, I found myself on a plane to Tucson, Arizona.  My wheelchair stayed in New York.

The next ten years saw me go from braces and crutches to crutches to two canes to one cane and finally, to four years of experimental surgery.  During those four years, I had to relearn how to walk no less than seven times.  The surgeries were successful. And because of them, thousands of young children no longer endure the pain that I endured as a child.  That is my legacy.

I have not told you this story as an ego boost or a play for sympathy.  I desire neither of these.  When Donald J. Trump stood on the stage, in front of thousands of people, and gleefully mocked that New York Times reporter; he made a mockery of my entire life.  I’ve never met the reporter, but I can bet that he and I traveled similar paths.  There are millions of handicapped people in this country.  Some, like myself, have been handicapped since birth.  Others have become handicapped because of accident, acts of violence, or defending this country.  It is hard enough for anyone to live a normal life without being stereotyped by gender, skin color, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or handicap.  When someone running for president of the United States stands before a crowd and openly mocks those not as fortunate as he, when he robs them of their dignity without a shred of remorse; that person will never receive a shred of respect from me.  If I can’t respect Donald J. Trump as a human being, I can’t respect him as my president.  It’s not political.  It’s personal.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The United States of Animus

I’ve always wondered why we pay so much attention to polls.  They’re like a guessing game where you only have to be correct 50% of their time in order to be considered an expert player.  Sometimes, you don’t even have to be that good.  Pollsters are like weather forecasters on local news.  Even if you get it wrong, people continue to listen to you.

I always laugh when media outlets refer to their “scientific polls” because there’s really no such animal.  Let me give you an example of exactly what I mean.  Here’s a simple question, “What color is the sky?” You might think that the answer is blue.  That would probably be the number one answer of most respondents. But answers can be based on everything from climate conditions to the location of the respondent to the time of day that the question was asked.  Someone who has been in a windowless office all day, might answer blue or undecided.  There are always, at least, ten percent of the respondents who are undecided. You could ask “Are you breathing at this moment?” and at least ten percent of the respondents would be undecided.

Much like our sky color question, validity of polls can also be influenced by the political climate.  Here’s a little test.  Ask ten people if Sirhan Bishara Sirhan is a known terrorist.  I’d be willing to bet that a majority of them will say yes based solely on his name.  Truth be told, you could ask those same people if Sirhan is the president of Syria and a majority would say yes.  It’s not that the respondents are stupid, but they are influenced by mainstream media, social media and the opinions of family and friends.  In point of fact, at least on the question of terrorism, they would be right and they would be wrong.

Sirhan Sirhan was responsible for one of three high profile assassinations during the 1960s.  Sirhan Sirhan assassinated Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.  James Earl Ray assassinated the reverend Martin Luther King, also in 1968.  Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated John F. Kennedy in 1963.  The heinous acts of these three gunmen terrorized the country for an entire decade.

The difference between then and now is that we didn’t blame a religion or a country or an ideology for these senseless murders.  We blamed the murderers.  It didn’t really matter if Sirhan was a Palestinian because we weren’t looking for retribution.  We were looking for redemption. 

Read more at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HVSRUP6#navbarCopyright 2016 The Year of My Life: reminiscences and rants: Politics by Mark I. Jacobson. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

It's not what the candidates are talking about that bothers me, it's what they're not talking about.

I'm not worried about who will be our next POTUS based on anything that the candidates are saying.  To be honest, They can't do 90% of anything they claim to be able to accomplish while campaigning for the office.  You're not a lone gun slinger or a sole proprietor of a business.  If you were, a wave of the hand would take care of any problem.  There are constraints on the office that prevent a democratically elected president from becoming a dictator. As I wrote in my book.

One of Trump’s basic negotiating tactics is to “fight back very hard” if negotiations don’t go smoothly. That might work well in the business world because buildings don’t bleed. But in the geopolitical world of today, fighting back very hard will get innocent people killed. At the very least it will get us involved in a conflict that will cost us more treasure and blood than we can afford to lose. Do we really want a leader who believes it’s acceptable to negotiate with people’s lives as if they were buildings?

But this is what does worry me.  The next president will nominate one or more Supreme Court justices.  That's a job for life.  As I wrote my book, here's how it's gone so far.

There’s plenty of time to nominate a new Supreme Court justice. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem. But this isn’t a normal time in political history. From a Republican point of view, with a little bit of luck, they could take back the White House. If that happens, there would be a Republican controlled Congress and White House for a couple of years. But that would be enough time to ensure a Republican nominee and a GOP majority in the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future. And if Republicans are really lucky, the next opening would be from the other side. Hey, I’m not being morbid; Supreme Court justices don’t have to die because they can retire at any time.

Of course there is always the possibility that the Democrats will hold on to the White House. In that case, a liberal Supreme Court justice will be appointed and the balance of power will shift. This shifting of political power isn’t what the Founding Fathers envisioned for SCOTUS. When the country was coming together, no one even considered that any of the three branches of government could corrupt the Constitution. They were building a framework that would enable the new American society to function. They thought that they had addressed all the problems that might arise and for the times that they lived in, they had.

It's not so much the president, but the president's political party that becomes a problem.  Because it really doesn't matter which side of the aisle you're on.  The next POTUS will determine the structure of life in this country for generations to come.  I'll leave you with one final thought.

This November, we’ll either elect a man who will make America great again, again or a woman who is actually for America (as opposed to all the other male presidents who, unfortunately were not). What gets lost in all the regurgitated slogans and vapid rhetoric is that this is not an election for the United States of Trump or the United States of Clinton. It is an election for the United States of America.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A completely non-political but important message

Hi everyone,

As many of you know, my new book is for sale on Amazon.com.  In case you want to check it out, I've put a link at the bottom of this post.  But that's not what I'm writing about. That book is on its way and I'm already working on my next book.  My next project deals with violence, everything from online bullying to global conflict.  It won't be as tongue in cheek as the first book.  This is a much more serious subject.  Ii is something that has affected my life by way of people that I cared about.  I say cared about because, unfortunately, some of them are no longer with us as a result of abuse.

Each of my books is connected to a charity.  50% of my digital royalties go to that charity.  The first book is connected with Fisher House, an organization that works with the families of veterans who are undergoing extensive medical treatment.  I haven't chosen the charity for the book that I'm currently writing, but that will come later.  I'm open to any and all suggestions from my friends.

In conjunction with this new project, I have started a GoFundMe campaign with two objectives in mind.  The most obvious is to raise funds in order to aid in the research, writing, and promotion of the new book.  But the other objective is to invite input from people whose lives have been touched by violence.  I really want to raise awareness of this problem.  In my first book, I wrote that all politics is local.  It depends on how any political move affects the individual voter.  The same could be said for violence.  Even a global conflict eventually affects each and every one of us.

I am also using this platform to kick start a project that I began working on several years ago.  The Marchese Foundation for Adult Victims of Child Abuse is an idea that I began working on as a nonprofit corporation.  After spending thousands of my own dollars, the IRS and I were unable to come to an agreement on operational guidelines.  I have decided that the foundation will work best if it is not a nonprofit corporation.  Some of the proceeds from this fundraising campaign will go towards the creation of this foundation.  I am still working on the exact operational details and I will keep everyone updated on a new website, ChildAbuseNeverEnds.org.  The only detail that I know at this time is that my salary for running the foundation will be $1 per year.

I'm asking all my friends to go to the GoFundMe page and watch a 3-minute video.  After watching the video, there are several ways in which you can help this project move along.  1.  You can donate to the project.  There are gift packages at every level of donation.  2.  There is a link below the video that enables anyone who has been touched by violence to share their story.  Everything is in the strictest confidence.  If you or someone you know has been touched by violence, please share your story with me.  3.  Probably the most important thing you can do to help this project is to share the GoFundMe page with family and friends.  Getting the word out will help to bring the specter of violence out of the shadows.

I expect the completion date for this project to be March of 2017.  I am looking forward to this book, the charitable donations, and the foundation to leave a lasting impression on our world for decades to come.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.

The GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/2wzksgzg

My Amazon book page (50% of the royalties go to charity): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HVSRUP6

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Political System for the People


Here’s my idea of what would work better.  Keep in mind that this will never come to pass.  I’m just proposing a different way of doing things.  Feel free to disagree or propose your own suggestions.  So here goes nothing.

I propose that we get rid of the two party system.  That means no more donkeys, elephants, or any other animal.  Everyone should have an equal opportunity to run for political office.  Despite what you may think, this doesn’t exist in our electoral system.  The opportunity to run for any political office should be open to anyone, whether they are homeless or a live on a palatial estate.  But there is one thing that keeps this from happening and I will get to that in a moment.

My election process would be overseen by the Federal Election Commission.  Every potential candidate must pass a standardized test on their basic knowledge of how our government operates and global politics in general.  Believe it or not, many candidates don’t possess this basic knowledge.  The potential candidates would only be allowed to take the test once.  The window for taking the test would be from June 1 - November 30 of the year preceding the election.  The ten highest scoring candidates would be allowed to run for any federal political office in the upcoming election.  If candidates did not pass the test, they would not be allowed to run for any federal political office for a period of one year. The election cycle would run from January 1st of the next year until one week before Election Day.

Now let’s talk about the one thing that keeps the average American from running for political office.  That one thing is money and I have a radical proposal for correcting this situation.  Keep in mind that I’m talking about candidates running for U.S. senator, U.S. representative, or POTUS.  I propose that we get rid of Citizens United and every other method of fund raising.  Now, you’re probably asking yourself how anyone could possibly run for office without any money.  The answer is simple.  If you’re running for federal office, your campaign should be financed by the federal government.

Here’s how my proposal would work.  Upon passing the standardized candidate test, the top ten candidates would be given one million dollars which would come out of the federal treasury.  This would be the only financing allowed for a political campaign.  Any candidate who knowingly accepted campaign funds from any outside source would have to bow out of the race, return any remaining funds and would be disqualified from running for office for a period of one year.  Federal campaign money would be deposited into a campaign account in the same way that college students have scholarships deposited into student accounts.  Every expenditure would have to be approved by the FEC and would be published on the FEC website.  Proper money management would ensure that candidates would be able to finish the campaign process.  It would also show the voters how well each candidate can handle a budget.  If any candidate should drop out of the race, the remaining funds would be forfeited back to the federal government.  Any funds remaining at the end of the campaign process would also be forfeited back to the federal government.  This would level the financial playing field and allow anyone, whether they be unemployed or a billionaire, to run for political office. Media would be required to charge the same rate for every candidate and those rates would be capped by the FEC.  Without political parties, there would be no need for primaries, caucuses, or party conventions.

Now for the fun part.  Voting would be done via the Internet and would begin one week prior to Election Day.  The website would be overseen by the Federal Election Commission.  Computers would analyze the social security database in order to determine who is eligible to vote.  Voters would have twelve months prior to the election to verify social security number and address information.  If the information on file with the FEC did not match the information entered at the time of casting the actual vote, that vote would not count.  There would be no electoral college because the winner of the election would be determined by the actual number of votes cast for candidates.  It would truly be a system of one person, one vote.
Copyright 2016 The Year of My Life: reminiscences and rants: Politics by Mark I. Jacobson. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Why does the mainstream media love Donald Trump?

The mainstream media is finally coming around to the fact that Donald J Trump may not want to be president of the United States.  I write about this in my book.  Actually, I wrote this section of the book about eight or nine months ago.

I never understood why the media didn't start alluding to the fact that he wasn't really a serious candidate a long time ago.  They knew that he was a narcissist who loves being in front of a camera almost as much as he loves being in front of a mirror.  They also knew that he loves to make outlandish statements strictly for the sake of self promotion.

But the media loved the gravy train that they were riding on.  Ratings and readership were up and that's all that mattered.  Now, Trump's statements are nothing more than self destructive and the gravy train is coming to a stop.  It was inevitable that any love affair that burned so hot was destined to burn out.  Now the media has to start talking about politics and the country.