Thursday, January 10, 2019

Corporations Must Pay the Piper, Too

The piper made 'em pay... so should corporations.
I’ve often wondered why big corporations can perform one criminal activity after the other without facing the “proverbial music” and be broken up or dissolved and put out of business.

Yes, some end up paying fines, but, then they just go back to doing what they do best… fraud, thievery, bribery, or just their usual, everyday screwing over their customers with shoddy products, terrible customer service, usurious interest rates or… the list is simply endless.

I mean, corporations have all the rights… and more… of U.S. citizens. (The Supreme Court has made it so.) But seldom do they face the consequences of their evil deeds.

For instance, the Justices have said it’s O.K. for corporations to donate unlimited piles of bucks to political campaigns. So, now we find ourselves at the point where our government is populated with nothing more than high-paid corporate shills who only do the bidding of their corporate masters.

Frankly, I think it is time for a serious reprise of the Corporate Death Penalty. Perhaps we should set up a separate court for citizens to bring charges against corporations, no matter their size or political clout, for the sole purpose of culling out and abolishing those heretofore untouchable sleazebag outfits which have repeatedly harmed the public.

That’s why I agree with Thom Hartmann. Here’s the story…

Thom Hartmann: Bring Back the Corporate Death Penalty, truthdig.com ,7 Jan 2019

"The good citizens of California have been wondering out loud who killed 86 of their citizens in the Camp Fire, along with dozens of other Californians over the years in other fires. Now both federal and state prosecutors are focusing on a likely suspect: Pacific Gas and Electric."

"California’s largest private, for-profit corporate utility appears to have killed a number of people over the years, in many cases because of negligence apparently prompted by a desire to jack up corporate profits."

"As a corporation, they play by different rules than you or I."

"Imagine you got a holiday package delivery gig, and decided to make more money by increasing the number of packages you can deliver in a day. The easiest way to accomplish this is by ignoring state and local regulations (speed limits) and drive like a maniac."

"But what happens if, in your haste, you hit and kill a bunch of schoolkids in a crosswalk?"

"Particularly if you’d already been busted multiple times for felony reckless driving and had already killed other entire families driving badly on public streets…several different times in several different cities. And, on top of that, if you had lied to the police and the courts, saying that you’d been driving very, very carefully—all while you tried to hide or destroy the evidence."

"You’d spend many years in prison for those deaths and the cover-ups; in some states you may even face the death penalty."

"Now consider what happens when a corporation behaves like that."

"Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has already been nailed for “speeding”—ignoring laws that require them to operate in a way that’s safe—and people have already died, on multiple occasions."

"PG&E was found guilty for the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion that injured more than 50 people and killed eight. They were fined $1.6 billion and are on probation now."

"Two years ago, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California noted in a public statement that the company had continued to break that same law. “The jury found PG&E guilty of six felony counts—five willful violations of the Pipeline Safety Act and one count of corruptly obstructing the federal investigation…” As an additional penalty, they were ordered to perform 10,000 hours of community service, pay a $3 million fine, and another five years was added to their “probation.”

"In 2017 alone, PG&E’s failure to properly maintain and operate their equipment and rights-of-way caused 17 fires in California; while investigators referred 11 of those cases to prosecutors for code violations, so far there have been no new indictments."

"In December of 2018, PG&E was again busted by the California Public Utilities Commission for not only refusing to mark and warn people of the locations of their gas pipelines in a timely fashion, but, as CNN noted, they “[P]ressured workers to falsify data…”

"And the crimes of PG&E pale in comparison to those of the tobacco industry, the asbestos industry, and companies like ExxonMobil that promoted lies about global warming while continuing to profitably and massively pollute."

"The Corporate Death Penalty Is Not New"

-more-

“The prevalence of the corporation in America has led men of this generation to act, at times, as if the privilege of doing business in corporate form were inherent in the citizen, and has led them to accept the evils attendant upon the free and unrestricted use of the corporate mechanism as if these evils were the inescapable price of civilized life, and, hence to be borne with resignation.

“Throughout the greater part of our history, a different view prevailed.

“Although the value of this instrumentality in commerce and industry was fully recognized, incorporation for business was commonly denied long after it had been freely granted for religious, educational, and charitable purposes.

“It was denied because of fear. Fear of encroachment upon the liberties and opportunities of the individual. Fear of the subjection of labor to capital. Fear of monopoly. Fear that the absorption of capital by corporations, and their perpetual life, might bring evils similar to those which attended mortmain [immortality]. There was a sense of some insidious menace inherent in large aggregations of capital, particularly when held by corporations.”

—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, 1933 dissent in Liggett v. Lee

Fractured Fairy Tales The Pied Piper - 1960


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