Why do corporate "people" have their own Justice System?

Yesterday, Wal-Mart pleaded guilty to criminal charges of dumping hazardous fertilizers and chemicals in California and Missouri. The retail giant will pay $81.6 million in fines for violating the Clean Water Act and other E.P.A. regulations. That fine is less than one tenth of one percent of the profits Wal-Mart made in 2012 alone. So, after criminally dumping chemicals in 16 California counties for years, Wal-Mart can simply write off the fine as a cost of doing business.

If you or I were caught illegally dumping these chemicals, we could face fines of $50,000 per day, and five years in jail. And, if we did so in a way that put other people at risk – the way Wal-Mart has done – our fine could be as much as $250,000 per day, along with 15 years behind bars.

According to the Supreme Court, Wal-Mart is a person, but they aren't subject to the same criminal justice system that natural people face. Wal-Mart can't be put on probation, or thrown in jail, they just pay fines for breaking the law, and go right back to screwing over workers and killing mom-and-pop businesses around the world. They don't care about fines... for them, it's like getting a parking ticket. And, if the price is right, they will just keep breaking the law, and paying fines, because it's cheaper or easier than doing what's right.

If a normal person would be thrown in jail for five years after illegally dumping toxic waste, Wal-Mart should be forced to shut its doors for an equal amount of time. If a corporation's action lead to someone's death, that corporation should be held to the same standard that a human being would be held – life in prison or the death penalty. That corporation should be forced to permanently shut down, or be broken up and never allowed to do business again.

If Wal-Mart wants the privileges of being a person, they should face the same responsibilities that real people face. That includes being punished for their crimes.


Vegasman56 11 years 3 weeks ago

I do agree with Thom.

Protecting corporations Constitution by Supreme Court monarchy, they are just modifying the term corporate charter to a fascist lite charter. If they could be held or consider corporations as being the person, they should be held responsible for their actions, for the crimes against laws, rules, and regulations we have this country that protects our environment we live in, and our financial system. This little hand slap that Wal-mart received is embarrassing to this country showing the other nations that we have a double standard we live by, that the top elite, the 1%’rs can escape prosecution for the violations they receive, but the common American will be prosecuted and sent to prison and fined. Not a good image we are presenting to the rest of the world. I personally believe that not only that they should lose their corporate charter, plus 1/4 in US dollars of the value of their Corporation in fines. The CEO, president and vice president to be brought up on charges, criminal charges for such violations and find 1/4 of their net worth, taken out on any property they do have such as their personal homes, vehicles, stock holdings, trusts and bank accounts on each one, not only here in this country but offshore banking.

Russ Wichman's picture
Russ Wichman 11 years 3 weeks ago

While I agree that a fine representing a minuscule portion of profits provides no incentive to do the right thing or to at least avoid breaking the law, closing Walmart for any period of time will hurt the poor people working at Walmart much more than Walmart's executives and the owners they report to.

I believe a better response would be criminal indictments against every executive involved in the decision making process that resulted in violations of the law AND a fine for the company equal to ten times the cost of any damage that resulted from the illegal actions.

I believe that if executives knew they could face prison terms, that would have a significant impact on their decision making process. The fine of 10 times the costs of damage done might motivate Walmart's owners to instruct their executives to avoid potential legal problems.

This reaction would not negatively impact the minimum wage people who work at Walmart because they can't get a better job.

TxPeon's picture
TxPeon 11 years 3 weeks ago

Why stop at Walmart. I know people who work for Homedepot, and Loews, and they throw out nationwide, millions of tons of chemicals, metals, plastics in there trash every year, and suspect, they get a tax break for all of this throwing out. Most of which coulds be used for recycling, Habitat for Humanity, etc.

They are lazy, and need to be severley slapped. for their incrediable trash party.

johnbest's picture
johnbest 11 years 3 weeks ago

I work as an engineer in a small city in New Mexico. In 2001 we were threatened with a $250,000 a day fine if we did not repair our sanitary sewer system.

How do these F' kers get away with this crap. Oh, I forgot they are a "right to work" state in the south and can do any F'king thing they want according to the retardicans. I have had it with these people. I

agree with you Thom. The Walmart Corporation should be dissolved and the Federal Government should take everything they have including their stores.

bendigger0 11 years 3 weeks ago

Right on, Thom!

johnbest's picture
johnbest 11 years 3 weeks ago

They are definitely lazy. They are also arrogant POS.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 3 weeks ago

What's wrong with the EPA? The fines are written and on the books to suit the crime- even without corporate prisons, why aren't they paying the maximum for deliberate criminal violations, taking it out of the stockholders' pockets. Then is when heads would fly. There is nothing worse to Officers of a corporation than an angry mob of stockholders who did not get their dividends. Stockholders can force a corporation to close in one day.

The stockholders, and consumers, who benefit from the crime and the insignificant fines, should bear a penalty for supporting bad eggs with their money.

Until we put LAWYERS back in their place in society, which is at 1/3 the income and status of a medical doctor, the way it used to be, their chains will increase and weigh the earth down till we fall out of the solar system.

The JUST action here is for the EPA to appeal the fine- all the law is on their side.

This will not happen because LAWYERS for Walmart can pay off anybody, even the Department of Justice.

David32's picture
David32 11 years 3 weeks ago

Remember that fines, particularly in WalMart's case are paid by the customer as are all costs of doing business. One of the prime reasons for forming a corporation instead of a sole proprietorship or partnership is that executives/employees are protected from liability. I agree that it's time that concept be abolished and all salaried exempt employees and elected executives be held personally responsible for their actions and punished accordingly through personal asset seizure and imprisonment. Non-exempt hourly and piece work employees should not be held responsible for the actions of the decision makers.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 11 years 3 weeks ago

I once knew someone who got a ticket for fishing without a fishing license. At the time the fishing license cost $25.00. The fine handed out was $750.00. That person no longer fishes without a license.

Someone in the Attorney General's office should have calculated exactly what would have been the full legal cost of disposing this waste. Permits, licenses, insurance, disposal fees, workers pay, workers comp insurance..everything. Once the full amount is calculated, multiply that by thirty (X 30) and use that as a fine.

Unless the fine drastically exceeds the legal cost there will be no incentive to not repeat the crime. Anything less is a bribe!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 11 years 3 weeks ago
Quote Russ Wichman:I believe a better response would be criminal indictments against every executive involved in the decision making process that resulted in violations of the law AND a fine for the company equal to ten times the cost of any damage that resulted from the illegal actions.

I believe that if executives knew they could face prison terms, that would have a significant impact on their decision making process. The fine of 10 times the costs of damage done might motivate Walmart's owners to instruct their executives to avoid potential legal problems.

Russ, with all do respect 10 X isn't enough. 30 X will do the trick. Trust me. If, after that initial fine is rendered and the company repeats the offense, then it is jail time for the executives in charge. 4 years the second offense, 25 years the third offense; unless, human life was in danger the during the first or second offense in which case these would entail and automatic minimal 25 year sentences for all executives involved as well.

Sure this would cause Walmart to have to pass the expense onto their consumers but anything less is giving Walmart an unfair advantage in pricing their products below what any other law abiding company can do. Are we to help Walmart maintain it's monopoly; or, to force it to play on a level playing field?

Kend's picture
Kend 11 years 3 weeks ago

We pay a hidden tax on almost all products we buy like tires, batteries, chemicals, etc to cover the disposal of all of this. Where does all that money go. In the Walmarts of the worlds pockets I guess. The sad truth is I pay for a garbage service for my company. They come dump the container ino the truck and leave. No one checks or cares what I put in there. Same at home, we have a plastic container that a automated truck picks up and dumps and driver never gets out of the truck. He has no idea what's in the container. So when I pay the extra $15.00 when I buy that battery where does that $15.00 go? It stinks

Vegasman56 11 years 3 weeks ago

It all 5 members of the family would go to prison it will not effect any of the Wal-mart store employees, at all. it will be business as usual. Point in case John Joseph Gotti, Jr. was an Italian-American mobster who became the Boss of the Gambino crime family in New York City, and he got life in federal prison. Some thug took his place and Gambino crime family business went on. Their will be somebody in charge of the Wal-mart store exchange to run the business probably as usual.

Futurenow 11 years 3 weeks ago

I agree, Thom. Maybe, a schedule of violations and fines, and then, they must be closed when they exceed this. No more license or permits or contracts, no more legal use of the entity "Walmart" and all assets liquidated to pay for costs of their violations, destruction of life and environment, and costs to health issues caused by Walmart. I never shop there to protest. I'd rather support local businesses, pay more, and buy less!

How about violators, like Walmart, have to pay TARIFFS on everything they bring into the US to sell if they have been found guilty of polluting, dumping wastes, and violating responsible business operations in the United States. Then, they will be treated like a foreign company if they have been destructive to our country and our people.

If a corporation has been found guilty of harm and destruction to people or environment, they pay fines, and if violations continue, the punishment is to PAY TARIFFS on everything, all produce, all products they bring into the US. Maybe, this would make a change in the financial consideration of Walmart, eh?

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 3 weeks ago

Walmart's fine reminds me of the recent 10 million dollar NASDAQ fine. The Banksters are treated the same way, always just an obligitory financial slap on the wrist. Nobody ever goes to jail anymore.

I can't think of a monopoly capitalst corp. in more need of a union than Walmart. I also can't think of a group of owners who epitomize the ugliness and senselessness of greed more than the Waltons, which in turn reminds me of Steinbeck's, Grapes of Wrath.

"If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he's poor in hisself, there ain't no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an' maybe he's dissapointed that nothing he can do 'll make him feel rich."............... John Steinbeck

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 11 years 3 weeks ago
Quote 2950-10K quoteing John Steinbeck who:"If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he's poor in hisself, there ain't no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an' maybe he's dissapointed that nothing he can do 'll make him feel rich."............... John Steinbeck

No wiser words were ever spoken. That "spiritual' emptiness inside is never filled by wealth of any kind. Only, the more wealthy one grows the greater the void of "spiritual" emptiness that is open. There is no greater example of that than the 1%'ers around us who covet everything yet are grateful for nothing. Nothing will ever quench their hunger for "spiritual" fulfillment; therefore, it is Nothing that we should give them!

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 11 years 3 weeks ago


I've asked that very question KEND. So do you have any thoughts on what WE consumers can do to demand transparencey? As well, Do you (or your wife) have any suggestions on leveling the "two teared justice system" that allows companies like Wal-Mart to break laws and get off with a financle slap on the wrist?

To answer your question (or your wifes question) from Tuesday; "What did Monsantos do wrong?"
Over the last few years there has been an increase of consumer awareness regarding GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms) that is used to make and or grow our food. Now I don't think I need to point out to you all that is wrong with this, meddleing with Mother Nature is never a good idea...especially when it effects - in this case - the food we eat. You and/or your wife can do some reaserch and fact checking on GMO's yourself...Heck start with Monsantos, Dupont, ConAg, (read what they have to say about GMO's) and then research independent reports from those that reveal the adverse effects of GMOs, as well medical reports which indicate that more and more health issues are being connected to diets (food), especially that contain GMOs.

Now what Monsantos, along with a slew of other corporate food manufactuers - is doing wrong is by trying to hide what they do from the public. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Washington for assurance that they will not have to by law lable their products as containing GMOs.
I'm not sure if your a conscience consumer when it comes to what you eat, but I am. I not only pay attention to ingredients, but also look for companies that support Fair Trade & Wages, as well as lable their products as being NonGMO; unfortunatly I have found it difficult to find in a wide variety of food.
However, if the Food Manufacturing Industry has it their way...Our rights as consumers will be caste aside.

Bottom line is Monsantos, and many of the bigger corporate Food Manufacturing Companies, are no different than Wal-Mart in that there only concern is keeping their investors pockets stuffed...They opperate under a "by any means necessary" ideology, and have no regard for the Rights and wellbeing of you and I.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 11 years 3 weeks ago

DANNEMARC...Did you read post 19 from Tuesday? I thought you may want to expand or comment on it...or maybe not.


npartrick 11 years 3 weeks ago

Russ said: This reaction would not negatively impact the minimum wage people who work at Walmart because they can't get a better job.

Think about this. Maybe they cannot get a better job becasue there are no longer any other choices. WalMart has forcedt the closing of so many local businesses AND manufacturing facilities in the United States.

A proper fine would be to do unto them as we did to Ma Bell and the A&P. Bring back Main Street USA and the manufacturing that went overseas, and break up the too big to fail.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 3 weeks ago

I agree. It is time to undo the chains and bring back competition. And it's time to say FU to Franchises and overpriced student loans which train people for servant positions. The excuse to perpetuate the cartel/syndicate/consortium because they dominate us is re-enforcing slave conditions everywhere.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 3 weeks ago

DAnneMarc: It seems to me that folks like the Waltons could have a much more rewarding life if they followed Sam's example. Why not just get up and go to work each day, maybe manage one of their stores? In fact if they took this advice I think there would be a good chance of them having an awakening not unlike Charles Dicken's Ebenezer Scrooge. Maximum money happiness occurs at about $75 grand. The obsession for money and power, is a pathetic way to throw ones life away, not to mention ruining the lives of others along the way.

Speaking of doing something rewarding, in my opinion the Hartmann's contribution to work with troubled youth is the kind of example we all need to follow. I've always respected them most for their efforts related to this endeavor.

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 11 years 3 weeks ago

“Travels with Charley: In Search of America”

By John Steinbeck an interesting read, it motivates me to mix the literary and math together. Start your tickle switch now, and hold on for ride in the Steinbeck tradition.

Sometime ago traveling through a town perhaps forty thousand as a population, was interesting in a different way. It was at night while looking for a certain street, noticing lighted business, those corporate franchises all up and down the main street on both sides. However several towns in this area where tightly connected, many persons moving though could wonder which town one might be traveling in. Where one town begins and ends, especially don’t take the side streets. Then its real fatigue, especially if you have a mission that is late, and your corporate do rights are cracking the whip.

The welcome signs for each town easily missed, but the curiosity about the modern business corporate marquees jumped out in lighted glitziness began to make me think. At first a lot looked unusual like they’re very few to no Dodge City saloon signs. Like the Dodge House, or the Dodge City groceries. Most of the business signs independent franchise logo. The towns are corporate clusters of the one percenters. The one percenters are working the local economy and the politics.

Anyone could guess the telling marquee of the yellow radiance in the McDonalds arc of the convenient store. But to my surprise in entering viewing the menu in the familiar huge picture presentations with delicious Angus burgers, buns with trimmings, salty fries and a large fructose sweetened drink had an elliptical addition pasted over saying; Products Discontinued. Yikes, no more Angus burger? At Hinsdale and Lombard Illinois. Where’s the beef?

Wow, as if it reminds me of the reasoning students look at in logic courses while they study Venn diagrams, Markov chains, the least square methods in calculus. Yes my derivative passions exploded to beg the question for the “WTF” moment. Yikes what’s happening, hey the mainstream media is leaning out the drive by window barfing or what!! Tainted meat, or is the Public Relations, that are loaded with good pay checks, preparing to turn righteous or just plain honest, repent for the animals that roam chew and ingest carcinogens like anhydrous ammonia.

From my view there is a deep plain obvious compilation of evidence that is clearly public acceptable. Ladies and Gentleman of America there is a widely held mix definition of terms that are conspiracy theories, but there is no conspiracy, it is a wall, a field of people, a tsunami, of just plain tyranny injustice and pure corporative methods in a well “oiled” circles of families, buddies, gangsters, rotary club types, or even not for profit.

Especially not for profit seemed to define the churchy types, or social do gooders. Or especially, Allah Allah Allahu La types that have a printing press or silk screen machines in the Masque basement to make “save our troop stickers” while taking the funds to Iraq radicals. Definitely needs to be reviewed by the IRS and the justice system.

Russ Wichman's picture
Russ Wichman 11 years 3 weeks ago

DAnneMarc, I pulled the 10 X figure out of thin air because I believe that would be much preferable to the pittance of a fine that usually results from corporate criminal behavior. I would not be opposed to a fine of 30 X costs.

However, I believe the real counter-incentive is jail time. One can replace lost money, but one can't replace lost time and the stigma of a felony record is not something any executive could afford.

Russ Wichman's picture
Russ Wichman 11 years 3 weeks ago

I agree that one of the reasons they can't get a better job is a lack of competition fostered by Walmart's predatory business practices. I believe we should break up ALL monopolies, which is the appropriate word to describe a business that is "to big to fail".

I believe there are other culprits to blame on our loss of manufacturing jobs, but these issues were not the one I was addressing in the response you reference.

Russ Wichman's picture
Russ Wichman 11 years 3 weeks ago

In a very good movie called "The Descendants", a wealthy character says, "I want to give my kids enough money to do something, but not enough to do nothing." If only Sam Walmart had heeded that advice.

In my opinion, money is like a drug in that people can become addicted to it. No amount is too much and the amount you have is never enough. Consider the Koch brothers. They have more money than they can spend, yet they want still more. If you could ask them why, they would not be able to give you a valid reason.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 11 years 3 weeks ago

Kend -- The more optimal use of that $15 would be to pay the central processing facility and not each individual pick up.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 11 years 3 weeks ago

Vegasman56 -- I thought the Gambino crime family took a serious hit when John Gotti went to jail.

George Reiter's picture
George Reiter 11 years 3 weeks ago

"Oh what tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." A quote from Sir Walter Scott.

Justice will prevail...

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