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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/2/14

Constitutional Amendment Or Bust

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Citizens United, The Movie, on Kickstarter
Citizens United, The Movie, on Kickstarter
(Image by The PEN)
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My guest today is progressive political activist and frequent OpEdNews contributor, The Pen . Welcome back to OpEdNews, PEN.

Joan Brunwasser:  I understand that you have a Kickstarter project to make Citizens United, the Movie . Tell us how it's going.  

The Pen: It's really amazing the amount of attention we're attracting.  Of course, of all the issues we've ever confronted, more of our people have spoken out on this than anything else, and by a very wide margin.  Since the original decision was announced in the Citizens United Supreme Court case [2010], we've had requests for upwards of 50,000 bumper stickers related to this, most of which we sent out entirely for free.  Here, we are making a full-length feature, narrative movie to dramatize this, and we launched on Kickstarter more than anything to give the project real visibility in the not-preaching-to-the-choir world.  And it's working right out of box.

JB: Tell us more, please.

PEN: Kickstarter, as you probably know, has become the number one go to place for independent filmmakers to get their projects off the ground.  Even famous, established directors are now doing this.  And even competing with all the thousands of others trying to do the Kickstarter thing, in just five days we reached our initial goal and shot up into the top 10 most popular of all Kickstarter movie projects.  If support continues to pour in, a WHOLE lot of people are going to ask, "What's this??"  It's already happening.  And that's exactly the kind of exposure we need, not just to get the movie made, but also to actually build the momentum to amend the constitution for real, to abolish corporate personhood and shut down the gross perversion of our democracy by unlimited special interest corporate political spending.

And we're not just getting financial support.  The first thing we posted on Kickstarter was a video of a faux defense contractor TV PR ad, which we will use in the movie to make a point of the extent to which corporations, and military war profiteers in particular, have taking over the concept of "the people."  We put together some spectacular video clips for this sequence, a cockpit view of a fighter jet streaking away from the deck of an aircraft carrier over sparkling waters, a military satellite in orbit with the sun glinting off the curvature of the earth, and a missile armed attack drone in flight that virtually flies down our throats, and more.   You really have to see it.

All we needed to finish this scene was to get real actors in to replace the stand-in voiceover we used to write the scene.  And we were asking people on Kickstarter to contribute to help make that happen, and to get the cameras rolling for the other scenes planned for our day one shoot.

Well . . . we immediately started hearing from top professional voice narrators, literally from all over the world, offering to record tracks in their own facilities.  That's how much people really want to see this movie get made.

JB: How gratifying.

PEN: We've got all kinds of magical scenes planned.  The movie opens with a hypothetical conversation between founding fathers James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, based on their own letters and speeches, talking about the propriety of chartering a national bank, and the appropriate limits on corporations in general, which were rare entities in colonial days.  This will all be in authentic colonial costumes, against a true-to-life background we already have pictures of, and we've even acquired a real antique book from the 18th century as a prop.

JB: Powerful. Great idea.

PEN: Then later in the film, we are going to have an encounter between Supreme Court Justices Stevens and Kennedy in the Supreme Court robing room (for which we have an incredible architectural visualization artist to do the recreations), where they casually debate the upcoming Citizens United decision.  And we're going to have Madison and Hamilton appear there again, ghostlike off to the side, commenting on how badly their own words have been twisted.  

JB:  I love it!

PEN: It's going to be so much fun.  And from the practical hands-on experience of making our first movie, we know we can accomplish all of this the first shoot day, and more.

And of course, all of this is all the more urgent in light of the latest Supreme Court outrage, which just came down today [April 2, 2014] in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, essentially striking down whatever campaign contribution limits remained.  This comes as no surprise.  Justices Roberts and Alito were installed precisely to render these kinds of democracy-killing decisions, and are already in the top 10 of corporate-favoring justices ever.  Our courts have always recognized before that allowing the very wealthy to have an inordinate sized thumb on the scales of our political process was a bad thing.  But no more.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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