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Vote. There Really Is No Choice.

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In a free society, perhaps most sacred is the right to vote.

An opportunity for your voice to be heard. This is not the time to be cynical, and take it from one of the biggest there is.

I’m under no illusions, of course.

By and large, the presidency is simply a figurehead position of our oligarchical corporatocracy.

In this our military industrial complex, the oligarchs have pitted us against one another in a two-party system as a distraction, while corporations and banks get richer and more powerful.

In the final debate, Mitt Romney forgot the plot, and started parroting his agreement with President Obama on most of his foreign policy initiatives. From illegal unmanned drones in undeclared war zones to Afghanistan withdrawals, he was supposed to offer us “a choice” while our defense industry sold weapons to undermine every policy principle expressed by the candidates.

Such that a discussion about energy policy failed to discuss what the implications of deregulation might look like. Not a whisper about climate change or devastating oil spills. With debate moderators that shouldn’t be allowed to moderate a high school debate, let alone Presidential one. It took the devastation of the unprecedented storm — Sandy (which should more aptly have been called Hurricane Infahoe or Hurricane Chevron) — to wake up Americans. Although New Orleans hadn’t forgotten.

Look at the evidence. We have our identical polar opposite mirror hatreds. Democrat and Republican. Nuanced to extreme representations of how we identify ourselves are embodied by our politicians and media figureheads. Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner, John McCain and Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein and Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Alan Grayson and Alan West, Rachel and Greta, Schulz and Hannity, Lawrence and Bill, the excommunicated Keith and Glenn, and the funnymen, John Stewart and Dennis Miller (was the latter actually funny). It would be nice if the right had a Bill Maher to balance things off, but they don’t.

The vicious storm, still wreaking havoc on hundreds of thousands of lives, to momentarily remind us what role government does serve (as opposed to making women pay for unnecessary vaginal ultrasounds) and what bipartisanship looks like, no matter the ideological differences or shapes and sizes of the politicians representing us.

But what we’ve learned in the last twelve years is that our elections do count, and that it does make a difference who’s in office.

From George W. Bush’s ban on stem cell research, to President Obama’s repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, along with the appointments of John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, sitting on the Supreme Court.

In 2000, we saw the chilling Rehnquist/Scaila/Thomas selections hit paydirt for Republicans with the installation of a President. Culminating nine years later in a re-positioning of the court that brought us Citizen’s United, the single most significant decision relating to the funding of our political system, opening the floodgates of anonymous corporate donations. In his dissent, Justice Stevens declared:

“At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.”

Despite Samuel Alito’s unprecedented and rude muttering aloud “not true” to the President during his Statement of the Union address in 2010 when the issue was raised in an unequivocal condemnation of the Court’s decision.

And despite his criticism, President Obama has hardly proved inept in navigating the post Citizens United campaign funding waters. While corporations like BP and Chevron laughed all the way to Board Room…and then banks.

The ugly, poisonous fruits of that decision is where we find ourselves today.

During the Republican primaries, along with Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, we got to learn more about people like the egomaniacal Koch brothers, the ostentatious, multibillionaire political bankrollers like Sheldon Addleson and Foster Friess, (showing that they could sure as hell influence an election, if not buy one).

Desperate surrogates like Donald Trump, pissing all over the remaining shreds of dignity in our political discourse made a mockery of the process by which we elect what is supposed to represent the most powerful position in the world. Even if illusory.

According to Melissa Harris Perry on her show on MSNBC, a whopping $9.8 billion will be spent this year on 13,000 statewide Congressional and municipal races.

On Saturday, Harris Perry interviewed Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now, who has been investigating the influence of money on Wisconsin’s politics, and who revealed that the little known Bradley Foundation, “since the Supreme Court declared George Bush the Victor of the 2000 election, they`ve spent in the neighborhood of $1 billion in propaganda to push forward a right-wing agenda.”

The Bradley Foundation, headed by Terry Considine and far larger than the Koch brothers, funds some of the better known “think tanks,” such as the American Enterprise Institute, Hoover Institute and Manhattan Institute. And has given money to and owns a stomach-churning, staggering array of right wing ideologues and politicos.

Among the valuable contributions they’ve brought to the election process — along with the junk science they fund in order to debunk climate change, and their push to privatize anything that is capable of yielding a profit — is a highly orchestrated, systematic voter suppression strategy.

One which includes positioning millions of poll workers in precincts around the country, the effect of which may yet have huge implications on this election.

Enough people across the political spectrum are concerned enough with the Citizens United decision, that chances of changing it might actually be realistic. Yet there are still dots we must continue to connect following this election. Terry Considine might be a good place to start. We don’t know the half of it yet.

Before a moderator could pull it, markomalley, at Free Republic.com asked a simple question. Would there be something illegal with Freeping an election? Followed by a strategy to disrupt the voting process. These are the kind of people Terry Considine is relying on to fulfill his agenda. Along with Mitt Romney.

One thing is certain, aside from the endless greed, lies and manipulation that define our fractured, almost unworkable political election process. No matter how much money they flood the process with, no matter how many obstacles they throw in the way, and no matter how much they try to suppress your vote. Whether by spreading vicious lies and insidious propaganda on billboards, web sites and position papers, or paying to elect the likes of Jon Huster, Ohio’s Secretary of State — the new Katherine Harris — to brazenly defy the courts and shamelessly make the fundamental right to vote, a tricky, scary, expensive proposition.

They cannot buy your vote. That alone is reason to do whatever it takes to vote this election.

Vote. There really is no choice.

 

Clinton Fein is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and First Amendment activist, best-known for his 1997 First Amendment Supreme Court victory against United States Attorney General Janet Reno. Fein has also gained international recognition for his Annoy.com site, and for his work as a political artist. Fein is on the Board of Directors of the First Amendment Project, “a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition.” Fein’s political and privacy activism have been widely covered around the world. His work also led him to be nominated for a 2001 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award.

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COMMENTARY

Trump An ‘Enemy of the Constitution’ Declares Nicolle Wallace, Blasting Call to ‘Terminate’ Nation’s Founding Document

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MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace slammed Donald Trump as an “enemy of the Constitution” on Monday after the ex-president, over the weekend, called for the U.S. Constitution to be terminated.

Trump demanded “the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” in light of his most recent – and false – claim the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

That was Saturday, on his Truth Social account.

On Monday, Trump denied having ever said it, despite the post still being up.

Wallace characterized Trump’s call to terminate the Constitution “an extraordinary statement even by the standards of a failed wannabe autocrat who plotted a coup against his own government and recently dined with white supremacists.”

READ MORE: ‘Venom’: Experts Shocked as Gorsuch Angrily Accuses Colorado of Forcing Anti-LGBTQ Baker Into ‘Re-Education Program’

“The disgraced ex-president made his contempt for our democracy as clear as ever, when he called for the United States Constitution to be ‘terminated.'”

Quoting The Washington Post, Wallace said: “Trump’s message on his Truth Social platform reiterated the baseless claims he has made since 2020, that the election was stolen, but he went further by suggesting that the country abandon one of its founding documents.”

She also played a clip of Republican Congressman Dave Joyce of Ohio from Sunday’s ABC News.

Rep. Joyce in the clip twists and turns but ultimately admits that if Trump is the GOP nominee for president in 2024 he will vote for him.

READ MORE: Anti-LGBTQ Slurs on Twitter Up Over 800% as Musk Allows Thousands of Previously Banned Users Back: Reports

“Well, again, it’s early I think there’s gonna be a lot of people in the primary I think at the end of the day, you will have — wherever the Republicans tend to pick up I will fall in behind because that’s –”

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos interjected, asking,”Even if it’s Donald Trump, as he’s called for suspending the Constitution?”

“Again, I think it’s gonna be a big field. I don’t think Donald Trump’s gonna clear out the field like he did in 2016.”

“I will support whoever the Republican nominee is,” Joyce added.

“And I don’t don’t think that at this point he will be able to get there because I think there’s a lot of other good quality candidates out there.”

“He says a lot of things,” Joyce continued, refusing to denounce Trump.

“Let’s not speed past that moment,” Wallace urged. “This is exactly how Trump happened. All the Republicans in Washington and around the country said, [Trump] ‘says all sorts of stupid you know what. Dorsn’t mean he’s going to do it.'”

“He did all of it, all of it. And then some,” she chastised.

Watch below or at this link.

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'REGURGITATING RIGHT WING TALKING POINTS'

‘Venom’: Experts Shocked as Gorsuch Angrily Accuses Colorado of Forcing Anti-LGBTQ Baker Into ‘Re-Education Program’

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch appeared angry and even hostile at several points throughout Monday’s oral arguments in a case brought by a Colorado right-wing evangelical Christian website designer who is suing the state because she wants to be able to discriminate against same-sex couples who are getting married.

The case, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, promises to be one of the most important of the term, and arguments extended more than two hours.

During one of the more heated moments, conservative Justice Gorsuch attacked Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson, claiming the state forced an infamous anti-LGBTQ baker who also went before the Supreme Court, winning his 2018 case in a very narrow ruling, into a “re-education program.”

RELATED: ‘What the Hell, Sam’: Justice Alito Slammed for Making ‘Joke’ About Black Children in KKK Costumes

Jack Phillips, a business owner who refused to bake cakes for same-sex weddings, citing his religious beliefs, was required to attend a class so he could become familiar with Colorado anti-discrimination law.

The Supreme Court’s ruling at the time called it, “additional remedial measures, including ‘comprehensive staff training on the Public Accommodations section'” of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.

Justice Gorsuch instead called it a “re-education program,” and slammed the state’s Solicitor General, Eric Olson, with it on Monday.

“Mr. Phillips did go through a re-education training program, pursuant to Colorado law, did he not, Mr. Olson?” Gorsuch asked the solicitor general.

“He went through a process that ensured he was familiar –” Olson responded, before Gorsuch cut him off.

“It was a re-education program, right?” the justice blared.

“It was not a ‘re-education program,'” Olson replied, holding his ground.

“What do you call it?” Gorsuch, dissatisfied, pressed.

“It was a process to make sure he was familiar with Colorado law,” Olson explained.

“Some might be excused for calling that a ‘re-education program,’” Gorsuch snapped.

“I strongly disagree, Justice Gorsuch,” Olson said, defending the law.

Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who provided the clip above, warns: “It does not bode well for the future of civil rights law that Gorsuch believes a state imposes ‘reeducation training’ on employers when it reminds them how to comply with nondiscrimination rules.”

RELATED: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Supreme Court Ruling in the Gay Wedding Cake Case

“Astounding that Gorsuch, A Supreme Court Justice,” tweeted Adam Cohen of Attorneys for Good Government, “Refers to Colorado giving courses on following civil rights law, As ‘reeducation training.'”

“Like being taught not to discriminate against LGBTQ is the same as being sent to a gulag for protesting communism in the Soviet Union,” he added.

Professor Elizabeth Sepper of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law says, “Justice Gorsuch describes education about antidiscrimination law and compliance as a REEDUCATION PROGRAM. This is beyond offensive. It was a central and SOFT tool of many civil rights movements and was essential to targeting market discrimination.”

Columbia Law School’s Elizabeth Reiner Platt, the Director of The Law, Rights, and Religion Project responded, “OMG Gorsuch repeatedly insists that a training on civil rights law is a ‘reeducation program.’ Good grief.”

Attorney Andrew L. Seidel, Vice President of Strategic Communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State tweeted, “WHOA. Gorsuch asks a very hostile question about sending the bakery to ‘a re-education program.’ He spits the phrase with venom and repeats it several times. He’s regurgitating right wing talking points.”

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'INAPPROPRIATE'

‘What the Hell, Sam’: Justice Alito Slammed for Making ‘Joke’ About Black Children in KKK Costumes

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The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in one of the most important cases of the term, a case that will determine if the nation’s highest court will or will not allow a person citing their personal religious beliefs to openly discriminate in the marketplace against same-sex couples.

In likely the most salient and important hypothetical example, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson described in great detail a photographer wanting to re-create scenes from 1940’s Christmases with Santa Clauses and children, in sepia tones, and making them historically accurate.

She asked the attorney representing the right-wing Christian website designer who does not want to have to provide her product to same-sex couples, if under her legal theory the hypothetical photographer would have to create photos of a white Santa with Black children.

Kristen Waggoner, the Alliance Defending Freedom‘s attorney arguing in favor of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, was forced to admit that the photographer would be able to say they would not take photos of Black children with a white Santa.

RELATED: Listen Live: SCOTUS Hears Christian Right Religion vs. LGBTQ Civil Rights Challenge

Later, Justice Samuel Alito, one of the Court’s most far-right jurists, decided to use Justice Jackson’s hypothetical analogy to make a point, and he did so by mockingly joking about Black children wearing KKK costumes.

“Justice Jackson’s example of that, the Santa in the mall who doesn’t want his picture taken with Black children,” Justice Alito began, getting the basics of the analogy incorrect.

“So if there’s a Black Santa at the other end of the mall, and he doesn’t want to have his picture taken with a child who is dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit, now does that Black Santa have to do that?”

Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson replied, “No, because Klu Klux Klan outfits are not protected characteristics under public accommodation laws.”

READ MORE: ‘Anathema to the Soul of Our Nation’: Trump Pilloried for Demanding ‘Termination’ of the US Constitution

“And presumably,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor interjected, “that would be the same Ku Klux Klan outfit regardless whether if the child was Black or white or any other characteristic.”

That’s when Alito decided to make a “joke,” while thousands of Americans were listening to the Court’s live proceedings.

“You do see a lot of Black children in Ku Klux Klan outfits all the time,” he said, presumably sarcastically.

He then laughed, and some viewers in the gallery joined with him.

Many on social media were outraged and offended.

“He is so inappropriate today. And offensive,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, the former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF). “The Black kids in KuKluxKlan outfits? Not funny. Is this the highest Court of the most powerful country in the world? Good grief.”

Minutes later, NYU School of Law Professor of Law Melissa Murray weighed in, saying, “I’m going to need Justice Alito to stop joking about seeing ‘Black children in Ku Klux Klan costumes.'”

“Seriously, what am I listening to?” she asked, to which Ifill replied, “Just awful.”

“The joke about Black kids in KuKluxKlan outfits?” Ifill also lamented. “No Justice Alito, these ‘jokes’ are so inappropriate, no matter how many in the courtroom chuckle mindlessly.”

Columbia University Professor of Law Katherine Franke tweeted, “Justice Alito is resorting to KKK jokes. Ha ha ha. As if what’s at stake here is funny, and isn’t taking place in a context in which LGBTQ people feel like we have a target on our backs. And, ahem – Klan jokes aren’t funny under any context.”

The Rewire News Group tweeted, in all caps, “I knew Alito wouldn’t be able to resist bringing up the Ku Klux Klan,” and then: “What the hell, Sam.”

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