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Presidents are Simply Figureheads

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Message Laura Roberts
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When did the Presidents of the United States stop being our Commander in chiefs and become the figureheads they are today? Obama is simply a figurehead while it is the Corporations that actually run our government.

The vote from the Supreme Court regarding the roles of corporations in election funding should have solidified this thought in many people's mind. In 2008, a suit brought before the Supreme Court, Davis v. Federal Election Commission, which in essence set aside the Millionaires Amendment as unconstitutional. A prime example of the wealthy taking more control in the election process.

And again in January 2010, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court decided in the favor of corporations and their ability to promote one political party and/or candidate over another, therefore using its power and money to play a major role in determining the outcome of elections. In a history making decision 5 - 4, the argument placed before the Justices was that "the prohibition on corporate independent expenditures is an outright ban on freedom of speech backed by criminal statutes." Apparently the 5 of the Justices in their infinite wisdom agreed and overturned a lower courts' ruling in the matter.

While this author is not a constitutional expert by any means, I find it rather interesting that on one hand a corporation by definition is a legal entity existing separately from its owners for the purpose of limiting liability of said owners, yet it was determined by the Supreme court that corporations' (an entity) right to freedom of speech was being violated. So what are corporations? Are they an individual citizen or a legal entity that is formed to protect individual owners/citizens? Looks like the corporations get their cake and eat it too.

What these two cases show is further control of our political system and the selection of our leaders by the wealthy, and the corporation's (both domestic and foreign). It also makes the case for the further erosion of the ability of "we the people" to elect individuals that will represent our interests.

While President Obama called it a "major victory for big oil, wall street banks, health insurance companies, and other powerful interests." There is absolutely nothing he can do about it. After all look who is really responsible for placing the Justices to the Supreme Court that made these decisions. Not the people, but those with corporate interests.

If this isn't enough to wake up the citizens of this country, take a look at who received the bailouts in the recent near collapse of our economy. Corporate entities were deemed too big to fail and received billions of dollars to keep them from failing. And to add insult to injury, these same corporations continued on with many of the very same practices that created the need for the bail out in the first place. Executives received huge bonuses, went on lavish junkets, shareholders receive record dividends all on the backs of the working class. I don't know about you but if one cannot manage their business then they should lose their business. That's the way it works for the small business community.

Yet another example

Corporate entity Whirlpool received a 19.3 million dollar stimulus package, closed the Evansville Indiana plant, and moved operations to Mexico. In that particular plant closing 1,100 people lost their jobs. If you dig deeper, you'll find that they have closed other plants since then as well.

Meanwhile back on Main Street, the working class are losing their jobs, their homes, and their savings. Where is their bailout? Regardless of what the media spin would have you believe, this assault on the working class still persists. And with the recent BP disaster, more will follow.

The oil industry is yet another case in point. During his campaign, Obama campaigned against off shore drilling while republican candidates chanted the infamous "drill baby drill" mantra. Has anyone taken note that now President Obama has changed his mind on offshore drilling?

We are still engaged in two wars (although Iraq has calmed down somewhat) with the shadow of yet another conflict looming closer every day. The fact is that our best and brightest are still dying daily in Afghanistan and Iraq. Again, yet another campaign promise forgotten. All in the name of big oil and corporate profit....oops I mean national security. I rest my case.

While he may have meant well, President Obama is nothing more than a figurehead controlled by corporate big business.

"I voted for the least of two evils"

This has to stop and stop now. It is another major source of the problem. A much better idea would be if the candidates put forward are not to our liking then everyone boycotts the voting polls. Since when does voting for the least of two evils solve anything?

Think about this seriously. Boycott the elections. Every single person fed up with the status quo simply doesn't vote for anyone. Now that is a message. It sends a very strong message to those in power that no amount of money they have spent has convinced us that they hold our best interest in mind. This will never work however, because everyone would have to participate in this boycott. Ah but one can always dream.

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Laura Roberts is an outspoken activist, writer, environmentalist. She strongly believes in personal responsibility, something sadly lacking in the US today. One of her key projects at the moment is sustainable living and researching those who (more...)
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