The political charade about the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico continues to the point of nausea.
BP assures everyone it will pay all claims and make everyone “whole”.
The government assures everyone it will make sure the situation is cleaned up.
Sure, I believe that, don’t you?
That’s what they said about the Exxon Valdez disaster. It didn’t happen then. You can go to Alaska today, to the site of that disaster, turn over the stones, and surprise! You’ll find a layer of oil still in place. Families were devastated, businesses and livelihoods were ruined, they certainly were not “made whole” by Exxon or the US goobermint. Exxon continues in business to this very day, fantastically profitable, no one on their board of directors went to jail.
BP is moving fast towards bankruptcy. It was so arrogant it didn’t even bother to buy insurance on its operations in the Gulf (all insurance companies are breathing a sigh of relief about that). Once it’s bankrupt, all bets are off.
Notice that we are weeks into this disaster, and not a single person has been arrested, even though this is obviously as act of economic and environmental terrorism. Nobody in British Petroleum is worried about going to jail, and the reason for that is simple. Corporations are almost totally insulated from criminal consequences for their actions. Corporations murder people all the time, and nobody ever gets arrested. We’ll lock up a low level subsistance class drug “dealer” for possessing a few grams of crack cocaine for decades, but we let corporate criminals like the presidents of Exxon and British Petroleum commit vast terroristic acts and they don’t even get a slap on the wrist.
Notice that no one has gone to jail for the economic meltdown of the last couple of years either.
Ten years ago I wrote a little essay “ Eleven Necessary Measures to Curb Corporate Crime.” It received moderately wide circulation on the internet at the time. Today, in the wake of the financial crisis of the last couple of years and the British Petroleum fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico, it is as relevant today as it was when I first wrote it.
If you need evidence of the utter corruption of our political system, you need look no further than the soft-on-corporate-crime approach of our politicians. And if you wonder why we have so much corporate crime, well, it’s because our entire criminal justice system has failed us. Everybody, from the judges to the congressmen to the legislators to the governors to the district attorneys, is the bought and paid for property of the corporation class.
- The stockholders and management of corporations convicted of felonies should lose their right to vote and run for public office.
- A registry should be maintained in each area of criminal corporations, and any corporation convicted of a felony should be required to register with the local police. A notice should be sent to all of their neighbors that a criminal corporation is taking up residence in their locality.
- Criminal corporations should lose all corporate welfare benefits and government contracts.
- Criminal corporations should be required to make weekly visits to parole officers, and their stockholders and management should be subject to random drug tests (either urine or hair).
- Criminal corporations should not be allowed to operate within 500 yards of a school, church or library.
- Criminal corporations should be required to place the phrase “A criminal corporation” on all advertising, signs and vehicles as a public warning.
- If criminal corporations violate the terms of their parole, their stockholders and officers should go to jail.
- In addition to the fine on the corporation, the personal assets of stockholders should be forfeited for their criminal negligence and lack of oversight.
- The increasing number of lawless corporations calls for stricter penalties. Bring back the death penalty for corporations. In this context, the ‘death penalty’ is the closure of the corporation, the forfeiture of its assets to its victims and/or the government and the winding up of its affairs by a court appointed receiver.
- Stockholders and management should be required to wear monitoring bracelets for the duration of their parole, and may not travel outside of their jurisdiction without a written pass from their parole officer.
- The stockholders and management of criminal corporations may not associate with the stockholders and management of other corporate felons, and are forbidden to keep and bear arms.