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Give BP the Death Penalty

What does it take for a foreign corporation to get the corporate death penalty in America?

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This continued into the late 1800's when whiskey trusts, sugar corporations, and OIL CORPORATIONS were all put to death in several states across the nation. In New York, workers petitioned the state Supreme Court to slay the beast that is Standard Oil for labor abuses. In 1894, the court obliged and revoked Standard Oil's corporate charter in that state.

And yet, here we are today, more than a century later, with the Gulf of Mexico ruined, 11 men dead, and countless other lives ruined. And the overseas corporation responsible for all this mess still has free rein to do business anywhere it wants in the United States, because our justice system has been neutered by corporate power.

If corporate charters were contingent on corporations operating in the best interests of the public, as they used to be, then our nation would get some long-overdue for some corporate death sentences. The big five oil companies – ConocoPhillips, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP – dump a billion pounds of carbon pollution into the atmosphere every day, fueling asthma and cancer epidemics in local communities. But they don't have to pay for these externalities caused by their pollution, we the taxpayers have to pay for the extra burden on our healthcare system. Just like we, and not the oil companies, have to pay for our military machine that keeps the oil lanes open so these companies can make billions.

Do we even get cheap gasoline for all of this? No. No matter how you slice it, these oil companies, especially BP, are not operating in the public interest - and need to be put down. They've broken their contract with "We the People."

And unless we want to continue to see smoldering oil rigs just off our coast and massive oil slicks in our waters, then we must bring back the corporate death penalty.

Thom Hartmann is an author and nationally syndicated daily talk show host. His newest book is "The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America — and What We Can Do to Stop It."

Sam Sacks is a former Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill.  He's now the senior producer on The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann airing weeknights at 7pm EST on Free Speech TV and RT America.