On the road to ruin the US is traveling, one of the more significant milestones has to be the legal decision that corporations have the same legal protections as real people. As Cecil Adams points out, the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment has been used more often to protect corporations than the former slaves for whom it was originally written. Corporations have even claimed that they have the free-speech right to lie in their advertising.
Corporations may have been given all the rights of real people, but they conveniently don’t have many of the limitations and restrictions. After all, you can’t really throw a corporation in jail.
Which is too bad, particularly in the case of mercenary organization Blackwater. Blackwater has a bloody history, with employees on trial on manslaughter and gun charges. But when they lost their major contract protecting US diplomats in Iraq, how did they respond? By rebranding themselves. Last month, the company changed their name to Xe (which, as Blue Girl points out, is pronounced “Zee” — as in Nazi). Yesterday, the founder announced he was stepping down (although of course he did appoint the new president and new CEO).
What I find really sad about this is that even if Blackwater were unable to rebrand themselves, all the founder would really have to do is pull out all his money and let the corporation fail. Then he could start a new corporation, with another new name and no bad reputation to live with. After all, corporations can not only change their name, they can change their entire appearance, including their fingerprints.