Vote. There Really Is No Choice.
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 aloudÂ “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, HarrisÂ 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 HarrisÂ — 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, â€œa nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition.â€ Feinâ€™s political and privacy activism have been widely covered around the world. His work also led him to be nominated for a 2001 PEN/Newmanâ€™s Own First Amendment Award.
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Trump Indictment Is a Massive 34 Counts: CNN
When he appears in New York next week, Donald Trump will face a 34-count indictment.
CNN’s John Miller on-air Thursday evening announced, “I am told by my sources that this is 34 counts of falsification of business records, which is probably a lot of charges involving each document, each thing that was submitted, as a separate count.”
JUST IN: CNN’s John Miller says Trump will face 34 counts related to falsifying business recordshttps://t.co/XqxXbMBcSC pic.twitter.com/oY1blHS8K0
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 30, 2023
Attorney Tristan Snell, who assisted in the successful prosecution of the Trump University case for the New York Attorney General’s Office, responded via Twitter:
“This is WAY more than expected. If this is correct, it could mean that the indictment covers FAR more than the Stormy Daniels hush money — like Karen McDougal hush money or other hush money/catch-and-kill cases.”
READ MORE: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Says It Is Coordinating With Trump to ‘Surrender’
“My hunch for a while,” Snell adds, “given [David] Pecker’s involvement and the drawn-out timetable of the indictment, plus the TWENTY interviews of Michael Cohen with the DA, showed that something far larger than Stormy might be in the works.”
“May still be wrong, of course. But 34 counts is a LOT!”
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Says It Is Coordinating With Trump to ‘Surrender’
Donald Trump’s attorneys were notified Thursday afternoon a Manhattan grand jury had voted to indict him on felony charges related to his alleged hush money payoff of a porn star he reported slept with.
The ex-president’ attorney recently said if indicted Trump would travel to New York to turn himself in.
The Office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has just issued a strongly-worded statement saying it is “coordinating” with Trump’s attorneys for his “surrender.”
“This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected,” the statement reads.
READ MORE: ‘You Can’t Stand on Fifth Avenue and Just Shoot Somebody’: Donald Trump Indicted – Legal Experts Respond
The Daily Beast’s Jose Pagliery posted the statement to Twitter.
Breaking news: Manhattan DA is negotiating for Trump’s “surrender.” pic.twitter.com/9fFx7heiGA
— Jose Pagliery (@Jose_Pagliery) March 30, 2023
NBC News explains the process, noting he is expected to be arraigned next week.
“After the indictment, Trump will be arrested and taken into custody. He will likely have a mug shot and fingerprints taken,” NBC reports. “Trump will then appear in court to be arraigned, where he will hear charges and enter a plea. Two sources familiar with the situation told NBC News that the former president is likely to be arraigned next week. Trump will either be jailed or released while pre-trial hearings take place.”
'INDICTED FOR HIS BEHAVIOR'
‘You Can’t Stand on Fifth Avenue and Just Shoot Somebody’: Donald Trump Indicted – Legal Experts Respond
Just past 5:00 PM ET The New York Times broke the news that Donald Trump, the ex-president, had been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on felony charges.
It is a historic moment.
Legal experts are weighing in to help guide Americans through an event that has never before happened in this country.
Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Ackerman says the fact that this is the first time in U.S. history a president is facing criminal charges is itself a problem.
“I think it would have not been a novel event,” Ackerman said on MSNBC, “if we had done this 49 years ago with Richard Nixon, and he had not been pardoned, this will not be a big event [that] it is today.”
READ MORE: New Poll Sends Trump Damning Message About 2024 if He’s Criminally Indicted
“Everybody should be held accountable,” Ackerman added, citing former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s earlier remarks. Cohen testified repeatedly before the Manhattan grand jury that indicted Trump late Thursday afternoon after a three-hour session.
Ackerman lamented that despite over 30 people being indicted during Watergate, “Richard Nixon was pardoned, he wasn’t held accountable.”
“I think this is very important,” Ackerman continued, “establishing a principle, a line in the sand, that even if you’re the President of the United States, and you commit a crime, you can’t stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and just shoot somebody.”
Ackerman was referring to Trump’s infamous comments during the 2016 election, when he bragged he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
Attorney and civil rights activist Maya Wiley, also on MSNBC, said, “It’s important and sobering that we had somebody who had the highest office of this country who has now ben indicted for his behavior, his acts, in order to win that office, but also faces what are more shoes that will drop, I believe.”
“It is a sobering moment for this country, that we are witnessing this happened to somebody who was entrusted with such power who has now had a jury of his peers, because that is what a grand jury also is, say we believe he had to face the music.”
READ MORE: Here’s How Five Republicans in Congress Are Responding to the Mass Shooting of 3 Children and 3 Adults in Nashville (Video)
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now a professor of law, called this a “moment where we would do well to seriously assess who we are as Americans and who we are not as Americans, because we re all so familiar with Donald Trump’s tactics.”
Fmr. federal prosecutor @JoyceWhiteVance joins “The Beat” on news of Donald Trump’s indictment – “A moment where we would do well to seriously assess who we are as Americans and who we are not as Americans.” pic.twitter.com/H4odpLre3C
— The Beat with Ari Melber 📺 (@TheBeatWithAri) March 30, 2023
Watch the video above or at this link.
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