Why You Shouldn’t Talk to Law Enforcement Without a Lawyer… EVER.

If the police are questioning you in relation to a crime that took place, you may already be a suspect.  At best, you are being questioned as a witness who may possibly be used to testify at trial.  At worst, you are under suspicion for the crime, and a criminal defense attorney is the best means of protecting yourself against self-incrimination and falling prey to tactics by the police to evoke a statement that may be construed as an admission of guilt.  The police are well trained to trick a suspect into confessing to a crime, and even if you didn’t commit the crime, you’d better have a lawyer present during any and all questioning.   

Police Know How to Evoke a “Confession” From You – Even if it’s False.

Too often, false confessions are the result of hours of threats, psychological stress, mental disability, and a slew of other factors.  A common method used by law enforcement to obtain “voluntary” confessions is the criticized Reid Technique. The Reid Technique, developed by John E. Reid and his colleagues in 1947, is a nine-step process used by law enforcement for interrogation.  These nine steps, outlined in an educational piece entitled “The Reid Technique of Interrogation” written by Brian C. Jayne and Joseph P. Buckley (President of John E. Reid & Associates) and published in 2004, makes statements that should alarm the criminal defense community, as well as place all citizens that are facing police questioning on notice.  For example, “[a]ll suspects start off denying involvement in the offense. The guilty suspect eventually becomes quiet and withdrawn.  At some point the guilty suspect starts to mentally debate whether or not to confess.  It is at this stage that the investigator seeks the first admission of guilt.” The Reid Technique takes an assumptive stance that all suspects “start off denying involvement” and presumably, that every suspect is a viable candidate for voluntary confession, regardless of that initial denial or the actual involvement in the crime.  The document states, “[m]ost guilty suspects and all innocent ones will offer denials during theme development. An important principle with respect to denials is that the more often a suspect denies involvement in an offense, the more difficult it is for that person to tell the truth.  If a suspect is permitted to voice too many denials he becomes committed to that position and no amount of persuasion will allow him to save enough face to tell the truth.  For this reason, the investigator will discourage the suspect from offering weak denials.”  If you are facing questioning by law enforcement in relation to any crime, remember that law enforcement utilize the Reid Technique on a regular basis.   

Wrongful Convictions – American Society’s Pandemic

According to the Innocence Project, “[i]n approximately 25% of the wrongful convictions overturned with DNA evidence, defendants made false confessions, admissions or statements to law enforcement officials.”  Those defendants spend an average of 13 years in prison before exoneration.  In their efforts to convict for a crime, law enforcement (and state prosecutors) sometimes hone in on the wrong person of interest due to faulty detective work or inadequate evidence.   If you’re being questioned in a criminal matter, the police are likely suspicious of you; they are seeking an arrest and the state is seeking a conviction.  By not having the right representation, you may be vulnerable to a system that has a history of obtaining convictions through inaccurate evidence, mis-identification by eye-witnesses, and false confessions made under duress.  

Wrongful convictions and the imprisonment of innocent people is an increasing phenomenon, and as science and law continue to intersect, more exonerations are occurring with the acceptance of better post-conviction DNA testing laws, recanted and/or corrected witness statements, invalidated forensic science results and acknowledgement of bad government procedures.  But at what price?  Thousands of innocent people, who likely thought they’d never need a lawyer because they were not guilty of the crime have been put behind bars, or worse, placed on death row.  According to the National Registry of Exonerations there were 90 exonerations of wrongful convictions in 2013 alone – and that’s certainly not the national total of individuals improperly imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit.  Some experts estimate the number of innocents imprisoned has skyrocketed to over ten thousand people.  A study spearheaded by University of Michigan law professor Samuel R. Gross was published in April 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. In this examination entitled Rate of false conviction of criminal defendants who are sentenced to death, Gross and his fellow researchers state that identifying post-conviction, material factual evidence that proves the innocence of a convicted person has simply not been a priority as “legal review of a criminal conviction in the United States focuses primarily on procedural errors at trial rather than on the factual accuracy of the trial court’s judgment.”  The best way to avoid these types of factual errors before it’s too late is for every citizen involved in an investigation to engage an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.

Even an innocent person needs a lawyer during police questioning.  It doesn’t make you “look guilty” by invoking your right to have an attorney present.  If you are arrested or simply brought in for (seemingly innocent) questioning in a criminal matter, asking to speak with your lawyer won’t be enough to invoke your right to counsel.  You must firmly state the following:  “I am invoking my right to remain silent.  I am invoking my right to have my attorney present.”  It is then that the police should stop their line of questioning until you have retained a lawyer to be present during questioning.  Don’t place yourself in a vulnerable position in a criminal investigation. With the rates of incarceration skyrocketing, it’s simply unwise to talk to police without a lawyer on your side. Image

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A Jury of (a few of) Your Peers

You may have heard of the film “12 Angry Men” the 1957 Sidney Lumet drama starring Henry Fonda. It depicted the deliberations of a jury facing the quandary of reasonable doubt and a unanimous verdict requirement (that’s not quite accurate) in the criminal trial of a young man charged with the stabbing death of his father in which a guilty verdict would result in the death penalty.

Earlier this week, I wrote an article for a criminal defense attorney about juries and what exactly comprises a jury? You may be surprised to learn that the size and makeup of a jury has been debated quite a bit – and not in the favor of the citizen, but certainly, in the favor of the state. And that idea of unanimous verdict…? That’s not what you might think, either. Read on…

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“Why do juries have 6 or 12 people? Why not 5? Why not 50?”

The number of jurors in criminal cases is a highly debated topic within the legal community. Under the Sixth Amendment, “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committee.” The Sixth Amendment insures the right to a jury, and combined with the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause, there is a right to a due process in determining the composition or structure of a jury. However, the specificity as to how many of those impartial jurors are necessary to ensure a fair trial for a defendant, while simultaneously providing a representative cross-section of the community, was not clearly outlined by the framers of the Constitution, and this ambiguity has caused much controversy over the past century.

The number of jurors assigned to criminal trials historically relied on the Magna Carta of 1215 (also known as The Great Charter), and English Common Law. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan penned, “When Magna Charta declared that no freeman should be deprived of life, etc., ‘but by the judgment of his peers or by the law of the land,’ it referred to a trial by twelve jurors” Thompson v. Utah, 170 U.S. 343, 350 (1898). The general rule adopted by the Court was for a jury of twelve (white) males.

It was in 1970 that Justice Byron White opined that the generally accepted twelve-man jury was arbitrary, even historically accidental, and that a six member jury was constitutionally sufficient. The opinion effectively altered the generally accepted jury size of twelve men. He stated, “[i]n short, while sometime in the 14th century the size of the jury at common law came to be fixed generally at 12, that particular feature of the jury system appears to have been a historical accident, unrelated to the great purposes which gave rise to the jury in the first place.” Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78, 90 (1970). While Justice White found the twelve-man jury to be unnecessary, accidental and somewhat arbitrary, Justice Thurgood Marshall dissented, “[a]s I see it, the Court has not made out a convincing case that the Sixth Amendment should be read differently than it was in Thompson even if the matter were now before us de novo—much less that an unbroken line of precedent going back over 70 years should be overruled. The arguments made by MR. JUSTICE HARLAN in Part IB of his opinion persuade me that Thompson was right when decided and still states sound doctrine. I am equally convinced that the requirement of 12 should be applied to the States.” Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78, 117 (1970).

Eight years later, another case that called to question the matter of jury size came to the Supreme Court, and the Court acknowledged that, though the number six was a bit arbitrary, they had to draw a line somewhere. Justice Powell, joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Rehnquist, admitted in Ballew “the line between five-and six-member juries is difficult to justify, but a line has to be drawn somewhere if the substance of jury trial is to be preserved.” Justice Powell then questioned the methodology with which the Court came to its conclusion stating, “I have reservations as to the wisdom— as well as the necessity—of Mr. Justice Blackmun’s heavy reliance on numerology derived from statistical studies. Moreover, neither the validity nor the methodology employed by the studies cited was subjected to the traditional testing mechanisms of the adversary process. The studies relied on merely represent unexamined findings of persons interested in the jury system.” Ballew v. Georgia, 435 U.S. 223, 246 (1978).

From an outside point of view, jury size debates may seem more like hair-splitting bickering between attorneys, bar associations, courts and legislators. The reality, however, is many case-critical issues arise from a reduced jury size. Many scholars allege that the Williams decision was made using mostly untested research and possibly misinterpreted empirical data and that six-person juries are unable to confer and communicate as effectively during deliberations, often eliminate essential minority group representation, and that their collective memory for factual aspects of the cases are significantly less than in the larger twelve-person jury. Smaller juries, argue academics and scientists, result in more convictions and a higher probability of convicting innocent defendants.

Though six-person juries are considered constitutional by the Court, there is a caveat that was outlined by Justice Rehnquist in his opinion: “However, much the same reasons that led us in Ballew to decide that use of a five-member jury threatened the fairness of the proceeding and the proper role of the jury, lead us to conclude now that conviction for a nonpetty offense by only five members of a six-person jury presents a similar threat to preservation of the substance of the jury trial guarantee and justifies our requiring verdicts rendered by six-person juries to be unanimous.” Burch v. Louisiana, 441 US 130, 138 (1979). In other words, twelve-person juries do not require a unanimous verdict – but six-person juries do.

The questions remain: What size jury is truly a representative cross-section of the community? Are the smaller juries statistically and repeatedly resulting in the convictions of innocent persons? As more scientific and empirical data is collected, analyzed, and more cases are tested in front of the Supreme Court, we may see a revision to those numbers again in the not-to-distant future.

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Goodbye Campaign Finance Ceilings – Hello Corruption.

“Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard.” 
Justice Breyer, in his dissent on McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission
April 2, 2014.

It’s a sad day in America.  Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission.  The McCutcheon decision has essentially over-turned Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U. S. 1 (1976) (per curiam), a forty year ruling that imposed campaign contribution limits on aggregate dollar amounts (limits on the number of the total campaigns to which an individual may contribute) in an effort to reduce or limit political corruption.  Today’s ruling has effectively handed over all political power to the mega-rich and left our politicians even more susceptible to corruption, bribery, unbridled campaign and soft-money finance, and scandal. 

Money has truly drowned out the cries of the common citizenry. 

Almost more important than the majority opinion itself, is the dissenting opinion that issues a grave warning.  Justice Breyer wrote in his dissent that recent history has proven “There was an indisputable link between generous political donations and opportunity after opportunity to make one’s case directly to a Member of Congress.”  McCutcheon combined with the landmark Citizens United case have opened the door for the super-rich to have unlimited access at the expense of the working man. 

Justice Breyer’s dissent is judicial insight into the catastrophic end of our democracy.

Justice Breyer, with whom Justice Ginsburg, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan joined, penned the dissent, which, in my personal opinion is a landmark moment in time when we have four Supreme Court Justices that agree – the mega-wealthy have overrun the people, and corruption has indeed, taken hold of our political system in a way that will inevitably implode this nation.  The opinion’s excerpts below offer a prudent theme:  the Supreme Court should NOT be legislating from the bench – and the First Amendment should not be used as a divisive and cloaked weapon against the public to lure public servants into a world of corruption over justice.

Read the April 2, 2014 Opinion – Majority and Dissent – in its entirety here.

Justice Breyer, Dissenting.  Justice Ginsburg, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan joined.

“It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institutions. It creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign.  Taken together with Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. 310 (2010), today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.” And

What has this to do with corruption? It has everything to do with corruption. Corruption breaks the constitutionally necessary “chain of communication” between the people and their representatives.  It derails the essential speech-to-government-action tie. Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard. Insofar as corruption cuts the link between political thought and political action, a free marketplace of political ideas loses its point.  That is one reason why the Court has stressed the constitutional importance of Congress’ con­cern that a few large donations not drown out the voices of the many. See, e.g., Buckley, 424 U. S., at 26–27.” And,

“The “appearance of corruption” can make matters worse.  It can lead the public to believe that its efforts to communicate with its representatives or to help sway public opinion have little purpose.  And a cynical public can lose interest in political participation altogether.  See Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC, 528 U. S. 377, 390 (2000)”

Justice Breyer furthers that the Supreme Court should NOT be legislating from the bench:

“Determining whether anticorruption objectives justify a particular set of contribution limits requires answering empirically based questions, and applying significant discretion and judgment. To what ex­tent will unrestricted giving lead to corruption or its appearance? What forms will any such corruption take? To what extent will a lack of regulation undermine public confidence in the democratic system?  To what extent can regulation restore it? These kinds of questions, while not easily answered, are questions that Congress is far better suited to resolve than are judges.  Thus, while court review of contribution limits has been and should be “rigorous,” Buckley, 424 U. S., at 29, we have also recognized that “deference to legislative choice is warranted.” Beaumont, 539 U. S., at 155.  And that deference has taken account of facts and circumstances set forth in an evidentiary record.”

“The result, as I said at the outset, is a decision that substitutes judges’ understandings of how the political process works for the understanding of Congress; that fails to recognize the difference between influence resting upon public opinion and influence bought by money alone; that overturns key precedent; that creates huge loopholes in the law; and that undermines, perhaps devastates, what remains of campaign finance reform.  With respect, I dissent.”

On a personal note, I almost wept when reading this dissent; knowing fully that our politicians are enslaved by the corporations and mega-rich 1% that finance them. That never again will our public servants be in the position to fight for the everday working man.  Forty years of safeguards against political corruption have been erased with the swift swipe of the pen by Chief Justice Roberts in corroboration with Justices Scalia, Kennedy and Alito… and reluctantly, Justice Thomas.

God help us.

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Miranda Rights: You Have the Right to Remain Silent…. Well, sort of.

The U.S. Supreme Court has been very busy chipping away at our Fifth and Sixth Amendment Rights…
and US citizens should be VERY concerned.  

Dispelling the myth:  Pre-Miranda silence is not protected by the Constitution and may be construed as an admission of guilt during an investigation, says the U.S. Supreme Court.  Prosecutors can – and will – use your silence against you.

“You have the right to remain silent.”  There are few citizens in the United States with access to a television that haven’t heard that line being delivered by the heroic law enforcement officer arresting the suspects as they walk them off to the patrol car.  But what you may not know is that silence isn’t always golden.  Miranda Rights, established by a Supreme Court ruling in 1966 in order to preserve a defendant’s right to avoid self-incrimination has a few caveats that could be critical to your case should you ever find yourself facing criminal charges.

History of the Miranda Warning

On June 13, 1966, the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on Miranda v. Arizona resulted in what we know today as “Miranda Rights”.  Ernesto Miranda, the defendant, was arrested and charged with robbery, kidnapping and rape in 1963. Without an attorney present, and without being informed of his rights, Miranda finally confessed to the crimes after hours of being interrogated by police officers, detectives and state attorneys all the while being cut off from the outside world.

Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren wrote the decision and stated, “… the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination. By custodial interrogation, we mean questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.” Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436 (1966).

According to the U.S. Supreme Court’s almost paradoxical ruling in Salinas v. Texas, 133 S. Ct. 2174, 2178 (2013), however, silence may absolutely be used against you.  Silence in and of itself is not exercising the protection afforded under Miranda.  Quite the contrary:  In Salinas, pre-Miranda silence in lieu of answering questions may be interpreted by the State as admission of guilt and used as such evidence in a trial.  A suspect must first clearly state that he or she intends to invoke their Miranda rights and retain a lawyer immediately. 

You can absolutely be arrested without being Mirandized.

As iterated in my recent article for a law firm publication this week:

Once arrested, any statements coerced by law enforcement or made during interrogations prior to your Miranda Warning may be suppressed due to Fifth Amendment violations, but that is provided you clearly state that you understand your rights and want a lawyer present.  You must invoke your rights if you’re a suspect in a criminal investigation and retain an attorney immediately.

If you are arrested, the Miranda Warning serves to protect you from self-incrimination by giving you the “right to remain silent” under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which offers the suspect the right to refuse “to be a witness against himself.”  The Miranda Warning also requires law enforcement to remind the defendant that he has a guaranteed Sixth Amendment right “to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.A defendant has the right to an attorney if facing criminal charges and if he cannot afford an attorney, a government-appointed attorney (public defender) will be provided.

Unlike what we often see on television, the Miranda Warning is not a get out of jail free card based on a technicality, and the defendant has a certain amount of responsibility in the process to ensure that the Miranda rights are properly exercised by him or her.  Miranda Warning is not required by law enforcement to make an initial arrest, nor is it required to issue a warrant or initiate interrogations.  Rather, Miranda is a procedural process that, over time, has become a little less defendant-friendly, and a lot more tilted toward law enforcement.

Ideally, upon you invoking your Miranda rights, law enforcement officers should immediately cease questioning during custodial interrogation. Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U. S. 477 (1981).  But what about the statements you may have made right before you were read Miranda?  Spontaneous admissions made prior to the reading of your Miranda Rights may be usedagainst you if they were voluntary and are considered admissible. U.S. v. Withorn, 204 F.3d 790, 796, 54 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 255 (8th Cir. 2000).Mere silence during questioning is not enough to ensure the protection of your Fifth and Sixth and Fourteenth (due process) Amendment rights. Salinas v. Texas, 133 S. Ct. 2174, 2178 (2013).  If you have been arrested, you must acknowledge that you understand your rights, and then invoke them.  You must state clearly that you will not participate in questioning without your attorney present. Davis v. United States, 512 US 452 S. Ct. (1994).

You must state that you want an attorney immediately, and do not give any further comments to law enforcement under any circumstances.  By exercising your rights under Miranda, you are not being uncooperative – you are protecting yourself from self-incrimination and ensuring that your right to due process (fair treatment afforded to all citizens under the Constitution) during a criminal investigation is upheld.

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The Obama Administration: As Transparent as the Mississippi?

In celebration of Sunshine Week, the press is taking big digs at the current administration’s failures to meet those feel-good promises of transparency and access to information made to the public and the media, and the headlines are quite interesting:

  •  “AP’s White House staff: Press losing presidential access as Obama officials close doors” – Sam Kirkland, Associated Press, March 18, 2014;
  • “Sunshine week looking dark for Obama’s ‘most transparent administration in history’” – Mark Tapscott and Associated Press, Washington Examiner, March 20, 2014;
  • “Agencies Earn Poor Grades in FOIA Handling” – Elena Malykhina, Information Week, March 17, 2014;

And one of my personal favorite headlines this week:

  • “Obama’s most transparent presidency in history isn’t” – Andrew Malcolm, Investors.com, March 18, 2014.

There are over 145 immediately available articles on the refusal to ante-up public information by the federal government this week from both the big networks, syndicates and small independents.  Whether right- or left-winged or politically, um, neutral, there’s a show-choir-like unison in the voices of these writers and their networks, all belting out the hook of their big number:  We can’t get no (FOIA) satisfaction!

After spending several years in the military, I have a respect for the government’s desire to keep certain information out of the grubby little hands of the lowly civilian population.  For example, why does Joe the Plumber need to know about his tax dollars that are used in funding a “test” program to put women in male-styled combination covers (aka “man-hats”) at the whim of a civilian Navy official who obviously has an excellent fashion sense and just wants men and women to “look the same”?   Sure it cost millions of dollars and spent enough resources to feed a small island for a year.  But how would that knowledge even remotely benefit him?  That, my friends, is the definition of need-to-know.

This president, like most of his predecessors, is full of promises and falls short of fulfillment.  But why is it that we’re so darn hurt over these broken promises?  Sure, we fell for hope and change during his first term, but are we that naïve that when a politician lies we can’t seem to put our proverbial foot down?  Instead, we cry and whine…. and then demand more free stuff (wee!) as a parting gift and Band Aid until the next bruising.

Ever the fact finder, I jumped over to Obama’s website (www.whitehouse.gov) to see what he had to say, and this is what I found.  Ladies and Gentlemen, the words of the POTUS (or one of his many staff writers, anyway):

“Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

SUBJECT:  Transparency and Open Government 

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

Government should be transparent.  Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.  Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.”  – President Barack Obama  (read more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment )

What we have here is a failure to communicate that is nowhere near a quick fix when facing the miles and miles of red tape we’ve forced them to create to cover their proverbial butts because when we don’t like something we take court action, or in recent events, we do absolutely nothing except throw a temper tantrum.  That red tape that didn’t start with Obama, and certainly won’t end with this administration.  Has Obama’s office failed to keep another promise?  Yes.  But the fact remains that this type of secrecy by the US government has been going on since the inception of well, the U.S. government.  We the People just feel more insulted now than ever when we’re told “No” because (enter favorite reality star here) is NEVER TOLD NO! 

But looking back, we haven’t changed, either.  We are as constant as the government we resent.  We are absentee voters with disinterest in anything that isn’t immediately in our back yards.  We are getting exactly the type of leadership we’ve asked for, folks. 

Do-nothing politicians are merely the product of do-nothing voters. 

 

 

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Chain Gang Charlie Crist is Dangerous for Minorities

Private prison profiteer Charlie Crist is running for Florida Governor AGAIN. This time, as a Democrat.

http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/charlie-crist-policies-failed-florida-minorities

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A PSA on PPA

Why Political Party Allegiance (PPA) is Destructive

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”

How blindly and how eagerly do we hand over the reigns of our legislative affairs to either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party simply because we feel loyal to a label? How quickly we mistake the opinions and endorsements made by political leaders or news show commentators as even relatively close to researched, vetted, or verified.

I am a registered Republican. When I was 18 I registered to vote, excited and hopeful. I don’t really remember it, but I imagine that’s how I felt.

That was almost twenty years ago. I’ve never once voted straight down any party line, and am likely either Independent or Libertarian, though I’m not always sure myself and don’t really care to be a member of a club. I’m simply not willing to hand over my right to vote in the primaries because I don’t belong to a major party, so here I sit. Why?

Fear of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Distrust over programs like GW Bush’s “Healthy Marriage Initiative” spending millions on telling people how to be married. My opposition to the war on drugs. My support of stem cell research. My disgust with engagements in war efforts that are a wolf in sheep’s clothing designed to enrich already wealthy corporations at the expense of the lives of our men and women in uniform. Taxes, healthcare, spying, propaganda, welfare, jobs… all the lines are blurred by the two parties that take zealot-like positions to either the left or the right without care of consequence for the citizens left in the middle of the fray.

But what else can I expect? Their by laws are clear: “Elect Democrats” or “Elect Republicans”. The Democratic by laws don’t say, “Create, review and pass laws in the best interest of the country no matter their party affiliation.” Nor do the Rules of the Republican Party say “Stop irrational fighting over ideologies that are harmful to our citizens.”

Both parties, in their fight to differentiate themselves are just alike, taking corporate dollars for campaigns in the billions and only working three days a week. Getting paid to not do their jobs or balance budgets… its quite the scheme.

Oh, the news today! I don’t watch mainstream media, I scroll through snippets. Mainstream news, in my opinion, is poison for the soul, and I’m unsure what is worse: The networks’ own programming, or the commercials created by unidentified special interest groups formed to spread more propaganda?

I watch CSPAN so I can observe without commentary what is happening in the government. I don’t need a translator named Rachel, or Glenn, or whatever. News today isn’t journalism, it’s editorials presented as news, which is scary because people believe in them. You know who you are.

My blog, for instance, is a blatant subjective perspective on issues. It’s mine. I don’t present my opinions as fact, unless those are historical facts used to support my opinions and can be verified and substantiated, or are personal accounts, and then I prove it. But all in all, it’s my writing and my perspectives on various things from my MetroSectional. If I contribute to a publication, it’s based upon my own, not their, opinions for that piece. I just write, and research, and read, and write more.

But when a news company celebrity subjectively endorses a party or candidate, just as when a party or party leadership member endorses the same, we must remember that it’s all just that: it’s subjective.

News and sadly political party leadership today have become entertainment cloaked as journalism and lawmaking. Pseudo-anchormen and women with MSNBC, FOX or otherwise aren’t reporters, they’re entertaining people with their personal commentary, for ratings and viewers, and the less skeptical voter regurgitates their words like its truth and gospel. They’re live bloggers with a whole bunch of readership. Party Committee and Club leaders aren’t working for us, they’re fundraising for their Party-no matter who their candidate may be. They have to because their oath is to their party, not the people.

In a meeting recently, myself and few others voiced our concerns that the voter population, for the most part, have a trust in their parties that when the party leadership endorses a candidate, they’ve vetted him or her. Just as when those same voters turn on the news, they expect that the journalists verified facts. But it’s just not how things work any longer.

Political Party Allegiance (PPA) has become dangerous. Dangerous to the citizenry, and dangerous to our Constitution. Just because you vote doesn’t mean you’re doing your homework, which I highly advise. Meet your lawmakers. Research them and their policies. And most importantly… turn off the freaking television.

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