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June 15, 2012

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Marcus Aurealeus

The problems America is experiencing today can be seen as both direct and indirect results of corporate dominance over American society and its laws. Unfortunately, some of our fellow Americans instead insist on blaming a 'boogeyman' for our nation’s problems instead addressing the root problem and offering viable solutions. At its core, the ‘root’ problem goes ignored even thought it has existed in America for over 140 years, and is one that has completely permeated itself into the socio-economic fabric of society, including our laws, politics and government.

There are some that allege President Obama is at fault for our nation’s problems, just because he is the current President. This is essentially foolish and irresponsible thinking. To place the blame wholly on this or any other President without analyzing the problem from a factually historical perspective and an unbiased political and constitutional view only contributes to increase and reinforce our problems. Quite frankly, there is actually very little President Obama or any other elected official is able to do, as our problems stem from a somewhat obscure influence embedded within the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and controlled by those the Amendment actually serves to protect. This problem, while long part of our nation’s laws… goes widely unnoticed while intrinsically connected to the false notion that somehow, a corporation is a person, deserving of all the same rights of the average citizen.

One simply needs to look back to a specific SCOTUS decision in 1886. This was in the case of “Santa Clara County v. The Southern Pacific Railroad Co.” This is the case where the Supreme Court declared a corporation to be a person. Then in 1888, in “Pembina Mining Co. v. Pennsylvania,” the previous declaration was affirmed as a part of the decision. In 1889, in “Minneapolis & St. L. R. R. Co. v. Beckwith:” the Supreme Court of the United States, for the first time squarely and positively decided that a corporation was a person within the meaning of both the "due process of law" and the "equal protection of the laws" clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. These cases, considered together as one opinion, mark one of the most important developments in our constitutional history and one that has reduced the American democratic republic into an oligarchy controlled by corporations and special interests. This is not taught in American schoolbooks and most Americans are not made aware of any of this through any of the usual media outlets. The matter of corporate personhood needs to be brought to the forefront and made a priority through a larger national discussion.

Necessary is non-partisan dialog to discuss constitutional reforms, particularly within the 14th Amendment. We need to address and overturn SCOTUS decisions that favor special-interests and adversely affect socio-economic issues and the daily lives of all Americans through corrupted and biased laws. This is fundamental to our liberty and freedom. Other Amendments relating to campaign financing reform should also be put on the table for review and further reform where applicable, including provisions to create a general fund for public campaign financing to remove influential special interest money from our political and electoral processes and equal the playing field. A constitutional amendment restricting or banning independent political expenditures by corporations and unions in electoral campaigns is needed and the recent Citizens United decision should also be repealed.

As realized during 1912 by Charles Wallace Collins in his writings, “The Fourteenth Amendment and the States, A Study of the Operation of the restraint clauses of Section one of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” the Fourteenth Amendment was framed to protect Negroes from oppression by the whites during "reconstruction" after the Civil War, not to protect corporations from oppression by the legislature. Although a humanitarian measure in origin and purpose, it has been practically appropriated - by the corporations. It was aimed at restraining and checking the powers of wealth and privilege. It was to be a charter of liberty for human rights against property rights. Due to an unforeseen flaw in the Amendment, corporations were able to reverse this through the aid of the court and the transformation has been rapid and complete. It operates today to protect the rights of property to the detriment of the rights of average American citizens. It has become the Magna Charta of accumulated and organized capital.

Having well-trained lawyers, corporations have been quick to seize upon every opportunity to check the activity of the States when their own interests are affected. Their method is one of persistent opposition. Having great financial resources, they infiltrate the political system through lobbyists and bankrolling elections by insuring political puppets similar to an "Obama" or "Romney" type candidate get elected to prevent the enactment of any statute that may operate to their immediate disadvantage. If they fail to stem the tide of public opinion, and laws are made which will reduce their profits, they immediately set to work to prevent the enforcement of such laws. In other words, they now start on the long and winding road of litigation. They appeal to the State courts and to the constitution of the State. If they fail to obtain the relief sought, they seek shelter under the Federal Constitution, invoking protection under the contract clause, the commerce clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment.

The 14th Amendment works almost wholly to the benefit of the corporations and individuals of considerable wealth. A poor man cannot afford to claim protection under the Amendment therefore, any rights he or she should have, is nullified as it is too expensive a process for the average American to pursue. Over the life of the 14th Amendment, the majority of cases decided by the court have been adverse to the States. According to Collins, Federal intervention was in favor of a corporation about 78% of the time during the first fifty years. Whether that has changed over the years, one can only guess, without having to research all court cases that took place during the last hundred years.

In its practical operation, The 14th Amendment gives no power of control to the Federal Government. Congress is powerless under it to make any laws by way of regulating the internal affairs of the States. It does, however, give the Federal Government through the Supreme Court almost unlimited power of intervention. That this power has been sparingly exercised is due to the conservative interpretation of that instrument by the members of the Supreme Court. This intervention under the Amendment has a very remarkable effect. The State is checked or restrained along a certain line of activity. The Federal Government is powerless to go any further. Having restrained the State from acting, its authority ceases absolutely. Within the particular sphere in controversy, the State is also rendered powerless.

Thus there is created a field in which business operations may be carried on over which neither the Federal Government nor the State can take any affirmative action. Intervention under the Amendment has this inevitable result. Beyond the pale of the law there is seen a shadowy realm in which the powers of wealth may move to and fro, unhampered by the will of the people. Although Collins revealed this exactly one-hundred years ago, little if anything, has been done to correct any disparity within the law. Another adverse consequence is that our so-called democratically elected officials have become obligated to do the bidding of corporations and other special interests and the wealthy while essentially... the people go unrepresented.

Today, media hyperbole reported as “news” is nothing more than propagandized distraction. These same corporate entities create many of the side issues reported daily in the media as a distraction to keep Americans from realizing or focusing on the main issue or that Americans are subject to servitude by corporate dominance. This allows them to maintain control over America's resources and people, and rob us of the same rights, freedoms and pursuit of happiness they covet for themselves to enjoy. No longer are we a true democracy but instead, governed by corpocracy and wealthy oligarchs. This is what lies at the ROOT of America's problems. NOT Obama or any other boogeyman or hyped-up issue promoted through corporate controlled media outlets.

Corporate Personhood is at the 'ROOT' of ALL of America's problems. This is what should be the focus of a national conversation, not whether it is Obama's fault or who would make the better President. If you want to fix the problems of today, there needs to be a discussion on how to correct the major mistakes of the past. Otherwise it will always be business as usual no matter who you support or who gets elected, until we are a republic no more.

Bob Gerchen

Until now I didn't realize that money qualifies as free speech. Wow, what a country!

Ken Chestek

Oh come on now. A constitutional amendment that says corporations are not "persons" protected by the 14th Amendment is not even close to "repealing the First Amendment." McConnell may have said these words, but that doesn't mean you should simply report what h says, unchallenged and unquestioned. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

JDG

McConnell continues to bow-down to the lobbyists that own the Congress and feed his fat ass with funds to keep him in office. He does not represent the people from his state that stupidly voted him in office. This man has NO HONOR! He is the classic example of what is wrong with the Congress that was designed to represent the people of the USA. He brings shame to what our Country should stand for not for his fat pocket book!

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