In the controversial Supreme Court Ruling on Freedom of Speech, corporations were judged to have the same rights as individuals. Since, we are now granting corporations the same rights and privileges that we the people of the United States enjoy, then is stands to reason that they should be bound by the same standards that apply to all of us.
Now, I do not support or defend the death penalty, but there are 37 states which currently have a death penalty and all of the Gulf Coast States engage in the practice of Capital Punishment.
Texas seems to dole out capitol punishment on the level of entertainment for the masses. There are 37 inmates on death row in Louisiana. It's a matter of money, of course, racial and class politics.
You could be liable for the death penalty for example in Texas if you were driving a car and say, your friend in the front seat asks you to stop at a 7/11 and wait while he goes in and decides to rob it...and kills the clerk. You could find out later on the news what happened, but you still could be liable for the death penalty just on the off chance tht you might have known something about what your friend was planning and you could have prevented it.
Now say, through your negligence and deliberate manipulation of information, you caused a catastrophic accident which destroys the lives of millions of people and an ecological nightmare that will forever change the Gulf of Mexico.
You'd have to hire an army of pretty slick lawyers to get you off and as an individual, you'd probably fail. After all if you were responsible for an incident that was beyond the imagination of any decent terrorist organization, the public would demand a scapegoat.
Now, we're hearing all kinds of stories that indicate that BP executives, managers, regulators and engineers either knew or had serious concerns that the Deepwater Horizon rig was at risk for an explosion.
And what else have we seen? A "Three Little Pigs" memo where BP makes it clear it's cheaper to pay long-shot damages than to make the rig safe. Memos where engineers warned of danger. Interviews with BP employees who talked about how the safety tests were rigged.
Think how much it would do to clean up corporate corruption if employees could say to their managers, "I could get the death penalty for covering that up -- and so could you." Imagine if they were required BY LAW to report their bosses for telling them to cut corners on high-risk products because it was cheaper - or risk being tried if something goes wrong.
Talk about (finally) being held accountable. Wouldn't you love to see it happen?
In China, when executives are found to have manufactured items that are killing people -- well, at least they have the good grace to kill themselves. We can't count on that; we don't have enough healthy shame left in this country.But after all, aren't corporations people now, too.?