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Famed attorney: politicians are pigs

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Republicans are not elephants and Democrats are not donkeys.

They are both pigs, says Gerry Spence, the famed lawyer, author and television commentator.

Spence offered his take on American politics during a recent appearance at The Spotted Frog Bookstore, leading the audience of about 85 people, appearing mostly to be from the political left, through a treatise on today’s America.

Spence’s remarks were brutal and his targets widespread. Politicians stink, lawyers are not much better and the media are just corporate mouthpieces, he says. The politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, are interested in money — "great money, powerful money and it’s mostly corporate money," Spence says.

"The same hog trough is feeding the hogs," Spence says about the Republicans and Democrats, questioning how politicians can stay honest if they take corporate donations and calling politics a "puppetry show we’re having."

Everyday Americans do not have a political voice. That was taken over by corporations, the "corporate king," Spence says, and there are not many trustworthy leaders in the nation. He insinuates that lawyers, doctors and preachers should be lopped in with the politicians. Even big booksellers are part of the corporate machinery that dominates America, Spence says.

"Who do they trust," he said about Americans. "Who do you trust?"

Spence, who spoke for about an hour and fielded questions afterward, quickly won over the crowd. One person quipped that Spence should "take Bush to trial." The remark was followed with another person saying "take Cheney with him."

The crowd was filled with prominent Democrats and others who have ties to the political left. Rob Weyher, the chairman of the Summit County Democratic Party, and Laura Bonham, the Democrat who recently lost a bid for the Statehouse, were in the crowd.

Spence is widely known for representing Karen Silkwood and other high-profile clients and he is oftentimes seen wearing Western garb during television appearances. His World Wide Web site boasts that he has not lost a criminal case and it has been 37 years since he lost a civil case.

Spence condemned the Bush administration and made parallels between the administration and the Nazi regime. He especially noted Adolf Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, and the ability of the Nazis to sway the thoughts of Germans. He compared America’s advertising industry to the Nazi propaganda machine and equated the Bush administration’s post-Sept. 11 policies to those of Hitler after the Reichstag fire, when the regime expanded its power with emergency measures.

Spence claims the administration repeatedly told Americans that Iraq was linked to the Sept. 11 attacks, eventually convincing them that the relationship was certain. Because they were told over and over again, they supported the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, he says.

"Any thinking person had to know this was a falsehood," he said about claims of weapons of mass destruction.

He added about Sept. 11: "Everyone knows there was no relationship between that horror and Saddam Hussein."

Other topics Spence touched on include:

( The divisions in America, which he says are historic. Congress has never been so divided and Americans are divided like no time since the Civil War, he says, claiming that Americans are "alienated and abandoned."

( Consolidation is ruining the media, Spence says, explaining, "there is no freedom of speech in this country." He says newspapers and radio stations have consolidated under corporate control and that mantra has also seeped into National Public Radio. "Thank god for the Spotted Frog," he says, charging that bookselling in America has also suffered from consolidation.

( The Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind education program is ineffective and, according to Spence, leaves all children out. Healthy forest initiatives results in the trees being cut down, he claims.

( The media censor the news. He says he has been censored by television shows and he has not appeared on a national program for about two years. "Contrary to what we believe, we do not have a free press," he says.


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