Monthly Archives: June 2013

Why Paula Deen’s History

DARYL K. WASHINGTON

Here’s a summary of some of the things being alleged against Paula Deen, her brother Bubba Hiers and the Deen business entities:

Summary:

Paula Deen, while planning her brother’s wedding in 2007, was asked what look the wedding should have. She replied, “I want a true southern plantation-style wedding.” When asked what type of uniforms the servers should wear, Paula stated, “well what I would really like is a bunch of little n*ggers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around;

Black staff had to use the back entrance to enter and leave restaurant;

Black staff could only use one bathroom;

Black staff couldn’t work the front of the restaurants;

Brother Bubba stated his wishes: “ I wish I could put all those n*ggers in the kitchen on a boat to Africa”;

Bubba asked a black driver and security guard “don’t you wish you could rub all the black off you and be like me? You just look dirty; I bet you wish you could.” The guy told Bubba he was fine as is;

Bubba on President Obama: they should send him to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, so he could n*gger-rig it;

He shook an employee (Black again) and said” F your civil rights…you work for me and my sister Paula Deen;

Paula’s son Jaime’s best friend managed the Lady & Sons restaurant. He threatened to fire all the ‘Monkeys’ in the kitchen. When Paula found out…she slapped him on the wrist and suggested that the employee visited Paula’s $13,000,000 mansion so he felt special and could be massaged. – See more at: http://www.blacklegalissues.com/Article_Details.aspx?artclid=7dfdbe0461#sthash.ehtuMfnw.dpuf

Mario Piperni’s Illustrated Late-Night Humor

Late Night Political Humor

JUNE 28, 2013 BY  

Humor - Late Night  :   http://mariopiperni.com/

The best of late night political humor via Daniel Kurtzman’s Political Humor.

Happy Friday.

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“The Supreme Court has overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. How about that? We don’t need a Defense of Marriage Act. What we need in this country is a marriage cap. You’re allowed three, and after that, you’re done.” –Jay Leno

“The Supreme Court has ruled the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Once someone explains this to me I’m sure I’ll be thrilled about it. Listen to what happened. Earlier today, Rush Limbaugh’s head exploded.” –David Letterman

[Here’s the cover of the current issue of The New Yorker. Brilliant. It’s the sort of illustration I wish I had come up with. -mario]

original

“In New York, the new front-runner in the New York City mayor’s race is Anthony Weiner. Some analysts say it’s due to name recognition. Actually, I think a few people recognize more than just his name.” –Conan O’Brien

“NSA leaker Edward Snowden somehow managed to get out of the U.S. with all their information. Now where is he? He’s in Russia now, going to be in Ecuador or wherever. He remains at large. Now what are the odds out of 350 million Americans, the only one the government wasn’t watching was him?” –Jay Leno

“The NSA says they have developed a robotic bird that looks and flies like a bird to use for surveillance. So if you see a bird outside your window tweeting with a BlackBerry, it’s spying on you.” –Jay Leno

“No one knows exactly where NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is hiding at the moment. He released a statement that says, ‘No one will find me unless some big-mouth jerk starts blabbing.’” –Conan O’Brien

“President Obama was in Germany and spoke at the Brandenburg Gate, which divided that city during the Cold War. Obama said it’s taught me a lot. When I was a kid, West Germany taught me the importance of standing tall, and East Germany taught me the importance of reading everyone’s mail.” –Bill Maher

“At the Berlin Wall, Obama said no wall can stand against the people’s yearning for freedom that burns in our heart – except for the one we’re going to build on the Mexican border.” –Bill Maher

“Over in the Senate, they found a way to get Republicans on board with immigration reform. They’re going to militarize the border. They’re going to build a border surge. … Sounds like something you eat at Taco Bell. Or something that happens after you eat at Taco Bell.” –Bill Maher

“I challenge The Onion to come up with a headline, in their brilliant but crazy worldview, that is more weird than the real one: ‘Republican Congressman Believes in Masturbating Fetuses.’” –Bill Maher

“Mitt Romney’s former campaign manager has launched a super PAC to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president. It makes sense because if there’s one thing Romney’s campaign manager is good at, it’s stopping someone from becoming president.” –Jimmy Fallon

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Mario Piperni on the Death of DOMA

SCOTUS Speaks – DOMA Is Dead

JUNE 26, 2013 BY  

 

Gay-Marriage---Sullivan

After screwing up on the Voting Right’s Act decision, SCOTUS got this one right.

The Supreme Court Thursday struck down as unconstitutional the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married in the states where they reside.

The court said it violated equal protection to provide benefits to heterosexual couples while denying them to gay couples in the 12 states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex couples may marry. The law passed by bipartisan majorities in Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton recognized marriage as only between one man and one woman.

A thought: Say what you will about the imperfect presidency of Barack Obama. Criticize him all you want for not having done it all as you might have wished. Phony scandals aside – Benghazi, IRS and the other fabricated scandals that live only in Sean Hannity’s wet dreams – there are some legitimate areas of concern. Violation of privacy by the feds is one of those areas where debate is welcomed.

But when you look at the big picture, you’re forced to admit that some big stuff has gotten done – and if not yet done, it’s at least being discussed. We’re talking health care reform, Wall Street reform, immigration reform, marriage equality, gay rights, the end of Bush torture polices, ending wars and climate change. These are big issues and Obama has taken them all on – albeit, some more successfully than others.

Marriage equality was inevitable in a country with a rich history of eventually doing the right thing no matter how long the abusive practice of discrimination had gone on (slavery, voting rights, women’s rights…). This day was going to happen at some point but when Barack Obama stated a year ago that his views on same-sex marriage had evolved (I believe they evolved long before then but that’s another story), and his administration stopped defending DOMA, you knew that this day was going to come sooner rather than later.

This is a presidency of historical proportions.

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Greg Palast on Gutting the Voting Rights Act

Ku Klux Kourt kills King’s Dream Law

Replaces Voting Rights Act with Katherine Harris Acts

by Greg Palast for Truthout
Tuesday, 25. June 2013

They might as well have burned a cross on Dr. King’s grave.  The Jim Crow majority on the Supreme Court just took away the vote of millions of Hispanic and African–American voters by wiping away Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


I’m so angry, so distraught by this, that I’ve asked my foundation to release my film, Election Files,  for free.  This is a no-BS, no charge download of my series of investigative reports for BBC Television and Rolling Stone.

Furthermore, I’m directing the Palast Investigative Team to drop all other work for a ‘round-the-clock investigation of the Theft of 2014 and 2016 elections that the Supreme Court’s ruling sets in motion.  Help usjoin us.


When I say “millions” of voters of color will lose their ballots, I’m not kidding.  Let’s add it up.

Last year, the GOP Secretary of State of Florida Ken Detzner tried to purge 180,000 Americans, mostly Hispanic Democrats, from the voter rolls.  He was attempting to break Katherine Harris’ record.

Detzner claimed that all these Brown folk were illegal “aliens.”

But Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act requires that 16 states with a bad history of blocking Black and Brown voters must “pre-clear” with the US Justice Department any messing around with voter rolls or voting rules.  And so Section 4 stopped Detzner from the racist Brown-out.

I’ll admit there were illegal aliens on Florida’s voter rolls – two of them.  Let me repeat that:  TWO aliens–One a US Marine serving in Iraq (not yet a citizen); the other an Austrian who registered as a Republican.

We can go from state to state in Dixie and see variations of the Florida purge game. It quickly adds up to millions of voters at risk.

Yet the 5-to-4 Court majority ruled, against all evidence, that, “Blatantly discriminatory evasions [of minority voting rights] are rare.”   Since there are no more racially bent voting games, the right-wing Robed Ones conclude there’s no more reason for “pre-clearance.”

Whom do they think they’re fooling?  The Court itself, just last week, ruled that Arizona’s law requiring the showing of citizenship papers was an unconstitutional attack on Hispanic voters.  Well, Arizona’s a Section 4 state. 

You’ll love this line from the Ku Klux Kourt majority.  They wrote that the “coverage” of Section 4 applies to states where racially bent voting systems are now “eradicated practices.”

“Eradicated?” I assume they didn’t see the lines of Black folk in Florida last November.  That was the result of the deliberate reducing of the number of polling places and early voting hours in minority areas.  Indeed, if the Justice Department, wielding Section 4, hadn’t blocked Florida from half its ballot-box trickery, Obama would have lost that state’s electoral votes.

And that’s really what’s going on here:  The problem is not that the Court majority is racist.  They’re worse:  they’re Republicans.

We’ve had Republicans, like the great Earl Warren, who put on the robes and take off their party buttons.

But this crew, beginning with Bush v. Gore, is viciously partisan.  They note that, “minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.”  And the Republican Supremes mean to put an end to that. See “Obama” and “Florida” above.

And when they say “minority” they mean “Democrat.”

Because that’s the difference between 1965 and today.  When the law was first enacted, based on the personal pleas of Martin Luther King, African-Americans were blocked by politicians who did not like the color of their skin.

But today, it’s the color of the ballot of minorities – overwhelmingly Democratic Blue—which is the issue.

Pre-clearance goes WAY north of the Confederacy to Alaska where Alaska’s Natives are often frozen out of the voting system–and West to California.

In the Golden State, an astonishing 40% of voter registration forms were rejected by the Republican Secretary of State on cockamamie clerical grounds.  When civil rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy and I investigated, we learned that the reject pile was overwhelmingly Chicano and Asian—and overwhelmingly Democratic.

How? Jim Crown ain’t gone, he’s moved into cyberspace.  The new trick is lynching by laptop:  removing voters, as was done in Florida and Arizona (and a dozen other states), by using poisoned databases to pick out “illegal” and “felon” and “inactive” voters—who all happen to be of the Hispanic or African-American persuasion.  The GOP, for all the tears of its consultants, knows it can’t rock these votes, so they block these votes.

Despite the racial stench of today’s viciously anti-democratic ruling, the GOP majority knew they were “handicapping” the next Presidential run by a good six million votes.  (That’s the calculation that RFK and I can up with for the racially-bent vote loss in 2004—and the GOP will pick up at least that in the next run.)

And the Court knew full well that their ruling today was the same as stuffing several hundred thousand GOP Red votes into the ballot boxes for the 2014 Congressional races.

The Republican court knows that to swipe 2016, they had to replace the Voting Rights Act with a revival of the Katherine Harris act.

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Humor: The Borowitz Report

Agency Busy Spying on Three Hundred Million People Failed to Notice One Dude Working for It

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A U.S. intelligence agency was so busy spying on three hundred million Americans that it failed to notice one dude who was working for it, a spokesman for the agency acknowledged today.

“I guess we were so busy monitoring the everyday communications of every man, woman, and child in the nation that we didn’t notice that a contractor working for us was downloading tons of classified documents,” the agency spokesman said. “It’s definitely embarrassing, for sure.”

Despite having an annual budget in the neighborhood of ten billion dollars, the agency had no idea that a dude who was working for it five days a week was getting ready to send those classified documents to a journalist who would then tell everybody in the world.

“Maybe if we hadn’t been so busy keeping our eye on those other three hundred million people, we would have noticed that this one guy who was working right under our noses was up to something totally fishy,” the spokesman said. “But you know what they say about hindsight.”

As for where that guy who leaked the documents was planning to go next, the spokesman admitted, “We don’t have a clue.”

“I know what you’re thinking—an intelligence agency probably should know that Hong Kong has an international airport and that its departures board lists flights to Moscow and whatnot,” the spokesman said. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe we need a bigger budget or something.”

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Photograph by Kin Cheung/AP.

Naked Capitalism on Ecuador

Bill Black: How Ecuador Won by Defying Neoliberal “Washington Consensus” Playbook

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Cross posed from New Economic Perspectives

Heritage Foundation is run by Jim DeMint, the former Tea Party legislator. Heritage promptly demonstrated the impact of its new leadership with its purported study of the benefits and costs of immigration that ignored the benefits and inflated the costs. Even other conservative groups were appalled – and that was before one of the co-authors of its studies’ past writings on the inferiority of certain minorities that purportedly made assimilation fail became public. Heritage is one of many anti-think tanks where anyone with a progressive thought is shown the door.

I wondered how the new Heritage was handling Ecuador. Ecuador is a particular problem for entities like Heritage. Heritage has an “economic freedom index.” “Freedom” has a specialized meaning to Heritage – financial regulation and regulation to protect workers’ health and safety tends to be treated as a decline in freedom. Simply having the government spend money – even if the spending dramatically increases health, safety, and education – can be treated by the index as making a nation less “free.” Like the competitiveness indices created by the World Economic Forum, the Heritage indices represent faux empiricism in the service of ideological dogmas.

Heritage sculpted its index to attempt to support its view that regulation and government spending reduce economic growth. Nations like Ecuador expose the fallacies of Heritage’s index. Heritage’s index has a “quick facts” component that reports that Ecuador’s economic growth was 7.8% and unemployment was 4.9% (unemployment is now down to 4.1%, the best in Latin America).

As I have explained in prior articles, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has dramatically increased spending in precisely the categories that the Washington Consensus claimed Latin American governments should concentrate their spending – health, education, and infrastructure.

A million Ecuadorians have been brought out of poverty (in a nation of 15 million) under the Correa administration. The enormous emigration of Ecuadoreans prior to his leadership has been replaced by net immigration.

Ecuador poses existential threats to Heritage’s index and ideology. First, President Correa is a top economist whose policies are based on the view that Heritage’s proposed policies are self-destructive, immoral, and economically illiterate. Correa’s policies are working brilliantly and are exceptionally popular in Ecuador. Better education, health, and infrastructure are essential to spur economic growth, but they are also steps that dramatically reduce human misery and powerlessness and expand freedom. Polls showed Correa had the highest approval rating of any head of state in the Americas.

Second, the three areas of government spending that President Correa has dramatically increased are the areas that the Washington Consensus said should be Latin America’s top priorities. This reveals how extreme the ideological dogmas are that shaped Heritage’s faux “freedom” index. The Washington Consensus, taken as a whole, is an exceptionally anti-governmental product of conservative neoclassical economic theories. Heritage, however, treats important aspects of the Washington Consensus as if they were the Communist Manifesto.

Third, Correa’s policies have proven so successful not despite Ecuador receiving a terrible rating in Heritage’s fake freedom index, but because Ecuador did so. Heritage ranks Ecuador as 159th in the world, and falling, and classifies it as “Repressed” – its lowest category. It is a mistake to see Ecuador and Correa as clones of Venezuela and Hugo Chavez. Correa and Ecuador have demonstrated that deliberately adopting policies that produce a lower Heritage score can increase growth, add dramatically to the quality of life, and expand the citizens’ freedom.

Heritage responds by disparaging Ecuador’s success. In its narrative accompanying its index, Heritage claims that Ecuador’s “economic growth has been moderate.” A 7.8% growth rate is “moderate?” I found Heritage’s description of Ecuadorean growth dubious so I looked to see what descriptors they used to describe growth rates for Heritage’s ideological allies. Heritage published an article trying to give Republicans credit for spurring economic growth by forcing a tax cut on President Clinton during his second term. Heritage claimed that the result of the tax cut was “spectacular growth” – “the economy grew at an annualized rate of 4.4 percent.”

Heritage considers 4.4% annual growth “spectacular” when Republicans (allegedly) produce it, but a 7.8% annual growth rate is only “moderate” if Correa produces. A conservative website notes our economy grew at an average annual rate of 3.4 percent under President Ronald Reagan.

I also looked at how Heritage’s fake freedom index described growth rates in Latin American nations that came closer to sharing Heritage’s ideological dogmas. Heritage describes Peru’s annual economic growth rate of 6.9% as “strong.” Heritage characterizes a 6.9% growth rate for a (relatively) conservative nation as “strong” but a 7.8% economic growth rate for Ecuador as “moderate” because (a) it detests Correa and (b) ideology trumps facts and logical consistency.

In Ecuador, GDP growth under Correa is particularly important because it has reduced inequality and poverty and led to an improved standard of living for virtually all citizens. Another measure of economic growth is the growth in real (adjusted for inflation) wages. Heritage has presented a chart in which it endorses the application of the phrase “Rapid Growth Scenario” to an annual growth rate in real wages of 1.4 percent.

In 2012, the real growth in wages in Ecuador was 3.0 percent. That is over twice the growth rate that Heritage described as “rapid.”

Modern theoclassical economics has made an art form of fake empiricism produced by fake think tanks that shape their product to please their corporate founders/donors. The products may look like science, but it is simply dogma misrepresenting reality in an intellectually dishonest manner. President Correa drives entities like Heritage nuts because Ecuador has been so successful while he has been president because he championed policies they despise. It is time for the United States to embrace this success.

It is bizarre that the Obama administration, which purports to support most of Correa’s economic policies, shares Heritage’s implacably hostility to the Correa administration. The Obama administration is already acting like Ecuador’s grant of asylum to Julian Assange is a hostile act to the United States and there is great danger that it will become even more hostile towards Ecuador should Edward Snowden be granted asylum by Ecuador.

A Personal Plea to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry

When you find you are taking your policies against Ecuador from Heritage’s playbook it should alert you of the need to stop, rethink, and reboot. President Correa was reelected by a huge margin on the basis of popular support for policies that he – and you – made the heart of your electoral platforms. President Correa has been able to put those policies in place to a far greater degree than you have Mr. President – and the results have been a spectacular success. You can disagree about some foreign policies while still being strong supporters of President Correa’s education, health, and infrastructure policies and the Ecuadorean peoples’ support for those policies, their President, and Ecuadorean sovereignty.

Yves here. If Edward Snowden succeeds in getting asylum in Ecuador, it’s a safe bet we will hear nary a nice word about Ecuador from anyone in the officialdom.

Glenn Greenwald on David Gregory

Glenn Greenwald Takes Apart David Gregory for Trying to Criminalize Journalism

By Heather

While discussing the news this Sunday that NSA leaker Edward Snowden has now fled Hong Kong and is heading for Venezuela with the help of WikiLeaks and the Obama administrations extremely aggressive treatment of whistleblowers, The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald let Meet the Press host David Gregory have it when he asked Greenwald if we ought to be prosecuting journalists such as himself for publishing these leaks.

GREGORY: To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movement, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald be charged with a crime?

GREENWALD: I think it’s pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalist should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question David is completely without evidence – the idea that I’ve aided and abetted him in any way.

The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the emails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory that you just embraced, being a co-conspirator in felonies for working with sources. If you want to embrace that theory that every investigative journalist in the United States who work with their sources, who receive classified information is a criminal, and it’s precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States.

It’s why The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer said investigative reporting has come to a standstill, her word, as a result of the theory that you just referenced.

GREGORY: Well the question of who’s a journalist may be up to a debate with regard to what you are doing. Of course, anybody who’s watching this understands I was asking a question, and that question has been raised by lawmakers as well. I’m not embracing anything, but obviously, I take your point.

Greenwald reacted to the question by Gregory on Twitter as well this Sunday.

The New Yorker: Darrell Issa’s Troubled Past

the best of the internets

by Ryan Lizza

Many politicians have committed indiscretions in earlier years: maybe they had an affair or hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny. Issa, it turned out, had, among other things, been indicted for stealing a car, arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and accused by former associates of burning down a building.

A member of Issa’s Army unit, Jay Bergey, told Williams that his most vivid recollection of the young Issa was that in December, 1971, Issa stole his car, a yellow Dodge Charger. “I confronted Issa,” Bergey said in 1998. “I got in his face and threatened to kill him, and magically my car reappeared the next day, abandoned on the turnpike.”

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On March 15, 1972, three months after Issa allegedly stole Jay Bergey’s car and one month after he left the Army for the first time, Ohio police arrested Issa and his older brother, William…

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Corporate Tax-Dodging and School Cutbacks

Ashtabula County Democrats

HOW CORPORATE GREED IS STARVING OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The total cost of K-12 educational cutbacks in recent years is about equal to the amount of state taxes left unpaid by these companies.

We hear a lot about corporations avoiding federal taxes. Less well known is their non-payment of state taxes, which along with local taxes make up 90% of U.S. education funding.

Pay Up Now just completed a review of 2011–12 tax data from the SEC filings of 155 of the largest U.S. corporations. The results show that the total cost of K-12 educational cutbacks in recent years is approximately equal to the amount of state taxes left unpaid by these companies.

Corporations Neglect Their State Tax Responsibilities

For 2011 and 2012, the 155 companies paid just 1.8 percent of their total income in state taxes, and 3.6 percent of their declared U.S. income. The average required rate for the 50 states is 6.56 percent.

Similar results were found in a Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) report on 2008–10 state taxes. In their evaluation of 265 large companies, CTJ determined that an average of 3% was paid in state taxes, less than half the average state tax rate. The results are summarized at Pay Up Now.

How much money is this? The 2011–12 underpayment, for just 155 top-earning companies, is about $14 billion per year. In the 2008–10 study, CTJ noted that “these 265 companies avoided a total of $42.7 billion in state corporate income taxes over the three years.” That’s also about $14 billion per year.

Unpaid State Taxes Are More Than ALL the K-12 Cuts

A comparison of the above results with educational cutbacks shows the devastating impact of tax avoidance on our children. A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) report revealed that total K-12 education cuts for fiscal 2012 were about $12.7 billion. A separate analysis of CBPP data shows total 2008–12 cutbacks of about $20 billion. According to the Census Bureau, K-12 funding rose about 5% a year from 1998 to 2008, after which it leveled off and began to decline.

More stunningly, higher education experienced a nearly $17 billion state appropriations cut in 2012–13, in comparison to 2007–8. Much of the shortfall was made up by tuition increases. As noted by the CBPP, “The entire increase in tuition at public colleges and universities over the last 25 years has gone to make up for declining state and local revenue.” Tuition has risen almost 600% over those 25 years.

Games Corporations Play to Take Our State Funds

Maddening as this is, a look at behind-the-scenes corporate subterfuge makes it even worse. A Good Jobs First report describes how companies play one state against another, holding their home states hostage for tax breaks under the threat of bolting to other states, with the whole process masked in inspirational language: “business recruitment” and “retention incentives” instead of the more accurate description of transferring jobs to the state that offers the most generous subsidies. The report notes that “This is a net loss game, with footloose companies shrinking the tax base necessary for the education and infrastructure investments that benefit all employers.”

Good Jobs First also reported on the personal income tax (PIT) subsidy, through which employers simply take the state tax paid by their workers. States are pressured into such agreements to keep corporations from moving out. Employees, as a result, are effectively “paying taxes to their boss.”

The Impact on All of Us

The end result of this hostage-taking is a breakdown in public services, most notably in education. Schools are deemed to be “not working,” and a frantic rush toward privatization leads to even more tax cuts for the business interests charged with the responsibility of “fixing” the broken system. But rarely are we informed that it’s our self-serving business and political leaders who broke the system.
http://www.alternet.org/corporate-accountability-and-workplace/how-corporate-greed-starving-our-public-school-system