Category Archives: Business

Without Toys R Us, 30,000 jobs, a black hole for toy makers

The demise of Toys R Us will have a ripple effect on everything from toy makers to consumers to landlords.

The 70-year-old retailer is headed toward shuttering its U.S. operations, jeopardizing the jobs of some 30,000 employees while spelling the end for a chain known to generations of children and parents for its sprawling stores and Geoffrey the giraffe mascot.

The closing of the company’s 740 U.S. stores over the coming months will finalize the downfall of the chain that succumbed to heavy debt and relentless trends that undercut its business, from online shopping to mobile games.

And it will force toy makers and landlords who depended on the chain to scramble for alternatives.

CEO David Brandon told employees Wednesday the company’s plan is to liquidate all of its U.S. stores, according to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The Associated Press.

More from Google News

Posted by Libergirl



Black People Are the Most Religious People In America, But What Are They Getting Out Of It?

African-Americans are the most religious group in the United States, but what are they getting in return?

According to the Pew Research Center, 79 percent of African-Americans identify as Christian, as opposed to 70 percent of whites and 77 percent of Latinos. A majority of Black people belong to historically Black protestant churches, which trace their origins to the late 18th century. Smaller numbers of African Americans are evangelicals, Catholics, mainline Protestants and Muslims. The largest Black churches include the National Baptist Convention USA, Church of God in Christ, the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the National Baptist Convention of America and the Progressive National Baptist Association Inc.

Pew found that more African-Americans believe in God — 83 percent — than whites and Latinos — 61 percent and 59 percent, respectively. More Black people say religion is very important in their lives — 75 percent versus 49 percent of whites and 59 percent of Hispanics. However, the number of religiously unaffiliated African-Americans is on the increase, and older Black people are more likely to be a part of historically Black Protestant congregations than younger people. These data on African-Americans and religiosity reflect a religious survey Pew conducted a decade ago.

The phenomenon is not limited to Black people in America, as Black people in general tend to be the most devout Christians, and Christianity is the most popular religion among the poor, formerly colonized people in Africa. On the continent, 55 percent of people are Christian, as opposed to 9 percent in 1910.

These statistics on Black religious enthusiasm come amid reports of a Black exodus by those, especially young people, who seek traditional African spirituality, or perhaps are disenchanted with the hypocrisy and sanctimony of Christian evangelicals, and view Christianity as a ”white man’s religion” that will not speak out against institutional racism and is stalling Black liberation. While Black young people and millennials are leaving a “stale, stagnant church” that has not grown with them and has shown hostility towards their movements, as D. Danyelle Thomas, founder and content creator of Unfit Christian wrote last year, this begs the question: What of the many people in the Black community, those who face the greatest challenges in society and continue to be so religious?

Black people generally did not arrive in America as Christians, as most were followers of indigenous traditional faiths and 10 to 15 percent were believers in Islam. Christianity was the religion of the slave master and of white supremacy. And yet, Christianity was the faith of Nat Turner and John Brown, of abolition. Faith has been an important part of Black life for centuries, for people who turned to the Bible for hope and inspiration and created their own form of worship.

Dr. Eboni Marshall-Turman, assistant professor of Theology and African American Religion at Yale Divinity School, is highly critical of the Black church. However, she also readily points out the significance of the Black church and its role in the community. “If we take the premise that African-Americans are the most religious people in America, what are they getting in return presupposes certain kinds of materiality which are at stake for Black people of faith. But I think more integral to a Black Christian project is hope,” Dr. Marshall-Turman, a Christian theologian who served for ten years as assistant minister of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, told Atlanta Black Star. She added that religion historically has oriented Black people to the world, “especially to a world in the U.S. that has denigrated Black life,” and has provided a “breathing space for Black people to survive and thrive” and “think about one’s own life and future outside white hegemony.”

“There is a material aspect beyond the project of hope and possibility that is part of the tradition the church. It is often one of the first places we go and the last place we find ourselves,” Marshall-Turman offered. “We will die, and a person of faith will stand over us and say final words. Whether we see ourselves related to the Black church in terms of membership, there is the lifespan in terms of our community; the Black church bookends from the blessing of babies to the funeralizing of the dead.”

There are tangible ways in which the Black church participates in the life of the Black community, the Black theologian notes. “Black churches feed the hungry, they support the homeless. They support those who may not have the basic necessities of life. They show up at court to support members of our community who have been unjustly incarcerated and find themselves in the throes if the criminal justice system,” she said. “They advocate in terms of basic necessities, housing, jobs, equal-pay services in the communities, very foundational basic matters of one’s right to life,” Marshall-Turman added, noting Black churches and mosques that go beyond offering hope and are “showing up” and serving people outside of their congregation, and handing out food on a regular basis.

D. Danyelle Thomas has a different take on the Black church and why people remain. “I would venture to say that most remain in relationship with the church because of both fear and familiarity. Even those with only a tangential relationship to church/faith, the fear of hellfire and brimstone as an alternative is enough to keep us captive,” Thomas told Atlanta Black Star, noting that hellfire, which she removed from her own theology, is not the dominant philosophy for most Black churches. “There’s also the facet of familiarity, as Black churches are more than places of worship, they offer community within community for us. Some of us still do church because it’s what we’ve always done. Like fear, familiarity has a stronghold on Black folks’ relationship with faith because interrogating the ‘why’ behind our actions isn’t always easy,” she added.

There is no monolithic Black church, and some African-Americans congregations have a long legacy or a present-day track record of fighting for social and racial justice. Black churches have fought on the front lines in resisting racism through slavery and the civil rights movement, and the AME Church was founded in resistance to slavery. A center of community life, the Black church often has been the target of Klan violence and white domestic terror, whether the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, or the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015. However, Black religious institutions have also pacified the Black struggle. As beloved as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are in the Black community, not everyone was with them and what they espoused when they were alive. Some Black churches have internalized white supremacy and have been accused of exploiting their congregations, and in the case of prosperity gospel, have appropriated white notions of capitalism for Black religious spaces.

Prosperity theology is alive and well, Thomas says. “The thing is, we all know we live in a system of capitalism that uses the tools of racism, sexism, classism, and the like to further hegemony. In my experience, I’ve found that the Black church is but a microcosm of the society at large. This is historically not the case, of course, as we know that the Black church was the cornerstone of the Civil Rights Movement and that faith has sustained our ancestors and living elders,” she said. “Logically, we understand that money answers all things so I don’t think people expect churches to operate for free. But, like with music and sports, churches have proved to be a fast-track to financial success with the right sales pitch — and that has, in my observation, elevated the visibility of Prosperity Theology or, as I call it, the business of church,” Thomas added.

According to Thomas, the pitch of prosperity theology is that an endless supply of wealth will be available to those who believe strongly enough. “There’s a bible verse that we’ve gleaned the idea that ‘only what you do for Christ will last’ (II Corinthians 5:9-10), and when you couple that with verses like Luke 6:38 (“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back”), the formula of spiritual gaslighting writes itself. And many folks decide to stay because they’ve been stripped of critical analysis in Jesus’ name,” she said.

Many people, including Black people, are in a relationship of spiritual gaslighting with their churches, Thomas argues, which lays the foundation for why many remain in churches that are not empowering or growing them. “Spiritual gaslighting is feeling like you’re crazy or bad, being taught the inability to trust your own judgment, constantly apologizing, insane levels of guilt and a need to constantly justify your normal, everyday decisions to an implacable and hyper-critical external authority,” she noted, adding that this does not mean the church is inherently abusive, but rather that certain normalized aspects of church culture are at play. “Your reason, conscience, will, emotions, culture, and even your personal relationship with God are all continually under attack by demonic forces that are seeking to deceive you. Therefore, you should be automatically suspicious of anything that comes from either yourself or from a source outside of the ideological bubble,” Thomas said.

“Those of us who stay or, at least, keep a tenuous-at-best relationship with the church WHILE transforming our theology do so because we understand the importance of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We also stay because we believe in the possibility of building the new community that reflects our hopes,” Thomas said, while acknowledging that some people are fortunate to be in fellowship with ministries that focus on inclusion, mental health, social justice and other pressing concerns. “The latter, creating forward-looking fellowships, is the driver behind my work with Unfit Christian. My goal is to remove all things that restrict corporate access to God, including all the negative -isms and deafening silence on sociopolitical issues.”

“I think nothing is beyond critique. Black churches are not God. They are institutions built by human hands,” Marshall-Turnan believes. “if we want to strengthen the church and pursue the church as relevant to the Black community, we have to continually critique the church. I bet those who critique the church love the church, and believe in its transformative potential,” she said, noting the institution is historically sexist, homophobic, and transphobic, marginalizes young people and engages in economic fragmentation, which explain why young people are leaving the Black church.

“I’m not really concerned about the studies that show the increase in ‘nones,’ or that Black people are leaving the church. I feel the work of Antony Pinn is so resonant,” Marshall-Turman said of the Black atheist humanist scholar at Rice University who refutes the claim that all African-Americans are theists. “The narrative we’ve been hyper-religious people is not true, and when you think about the secular movements within the spectrum of the movement for Black freedom, it is obvious that every Black movement did not start in the church. So, it is not true that everybody has been in the church,” she noted, rejecting the alarmist argument about people leaving the Black church, and adding that with mobility and other societal factors, the concept of church itself is transforming.

“As a theological educator, I see the next generation every day. I see them coming with rigorous critiques of Black churches and also deep commitment to Black churches. … I also see young Black budding theologians who are imagining new ways of doing church, and I think the Black church as a rhetorical indicator is big enough to hold all of that. So I am not too worried about that. As an older millennial, I am not worried if the church will be here tomorrow,” she added, believing it will be in the hands of Black people such as these.

“The Black church has so much great potential to do transformational work. As it relates to everyday folks living in proximity to the church. Black churches matter,” Marshall-Turman concluded. “They just do, and they’re still held in high esteem behind this spirituality.”

By David Love/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Charles Koch blasts Trump’s steel and aluminum tariff plan

Billionaire conservative megadonor Charles Koch slammed President Donald Trump’s announced plans to impose fresh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in a Washington Post op-ed, arguing that such policies would do far more harm than good for the U.S., both economically and culturally.

Image: Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle via AP Photo

“Just as the United States benefits from the ideas and skills that opportunity-seeking immigrants bring with them, free trade has been essential to our society’s prosperity and to people improving their lives,” Koch wrote in his op-ed, published online Wednesday night. “Countries with the freest trade have tended to not only be the wealthiest but also the most tolerant. Conversely, the restriction of trade — whether through tariffs, quotas or other means — has hurt the economy and pitted people against each other.

“Without a doubt, those who can least afford it will be harmed the most. Having just helped consumers keep more of their money by passing tax reform, it makes little sense to take it away via higher costs,” Koch wrote.

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Get Me Out of Wakanda!

I finally got around to seeing the “Black Panther” movie Tuesday. I’ve been black nearly seven decades. My blackness does not require affirmation from the Disney/Marvel Comics Universe, where Tony Stark is a greedy Pentagon contractor, where Captain America is a genetically modified organism, where the Wakandan king and the wannabe king both work with/for the CIA, and where Daredevil’s pals (season 1 episode 4) note that investigative reporting on “teachers union scandals” is as personally perilous as crossing the Mafia.

For those of us aiming to build a better world, this movie is nothing short of enemy propaganda.


In the “Black Panther” movie, all the Wakandan players are royalty, their counselors, their advisers or their rivals. All the strikingly beautiful and capable Wakandan women take orders from men. The only unambiguous good guy is the Frodo-looking CIA agent. The homicidal Killmonger character is calculated to sully the very notion of black rebellion against unjust authority, while Pan Africanism and humanism are defecated upon from multiple angles. Cinematic bar fights, car chases and battle scenes are a dime a dozen, and worst of all, Wakanda isn’t even rendered in any visually inspiring way.


The movie disrespects its audience and is a standing insult to science fiction and afro-futurism. As Dr. Jared Ball points out, we can’t just go make and market another movie to compete with this one. Disney/Marvel Studios put tens of millions into the promotion of this thing alone, and for now, millions of people are buying their message. That’s called cultural hegemony.

Those who would drink from this nasty water for “affirmation” and “black joy” must be deeply, desperately thirsty. And evidently, thirst confuses before it kills.

The only good thing I got from this movie was the motivation to look for and find some real, respectful, challenging and innovative science fiction and afro-futurism, preferably written by some black women to wash the rancid taste of Marvel’s superhero-industrial complex from the inside of my head.


I wasn’t going to record this commentary for Black Agenda Radio. Originally it was a Facebook post, but it generated such a response that it deserved a life outside of corporate social media.

Because Black Agenda Report is equally critical of Republicans and Democrats, because as black leftists we consistently oppose capital, patriarchy, empire, the black political class and the bipartisan war machine we are the only black-oriented media outfit alleged by The Washington Post and Prop Or Not to be under the evil influence of the Russians. Google and other corporate social media have targeted Black Agenda Report in order to restrict your access to our content. If I, Glen Ford or Margaret Kimberley or Ajamu Baraka or Black Agenda Report was temporarily or permanently banned from Facebook, all our posts and their comments would disappear. Facebook claims all posts as its private property. And even if they don’t ban us, it can be extremely difficult to find a Facebook post or a tweet more than a day or two old.

So I’m posting this at BlackAgendaReport.Com and at Black Agenda Radio Commentaries on SoundCloud where you can easily find it from now on. Please follow and share our stuff from those places on all your favorite social media. And please visit BlackAgendaReport.Com to subscribe to our direct and free weekly email of each week’s new content. Email is called dark social media because Google, Facebook, Twitter cannot track or block it.

By Bruce A. Dixon/BlackAgendaReport

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Income Inequality in the U.S. Is Even Worse Than You’ve Been Led to Believe Data show the country is failing its lower and middle-income earners miserably.

The more the ultra-rich prosper, the less they’re burdened with taxes, the greater the benefits for society as a whole. If you’re familiar with Republican economic theory of the past 40 years, you’ve probably heard this line of reasoning. In fact, just the opposite is true.

Take it from the world’s third richest man, Warren Buffett, who recently noted that between 1982 and 2017, “the wealth of the 400 [richest people in America] increased 29-fold—from $93 billion to $2.7 trillion—while many millions of hardworking citizens remained stuck on an economic treadmill. During this period, the tsunami of wealth didn’t trickle down. It surged upward.”

The reality is the United States is now home to some of the worst income inequality in the developed world, and thanks to the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this wealth gap will grow exponentially wider.

Lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, the GOP’s massive overhaul of U.S. tax law exemplifies trickle-down economics at its worst. Trump supporters insist that corporations will generously share their gains with employees, but according to economist Robert Reich, “almost all the extra money is going into stock buybacks” rather than wage increases. Because the richest 10 percent now own 84 percent of stock shares in the U.S., he emphasizes, this will do little to nothing to improve the prospects of most Americans.

According to the firm Birinyi Associates, a record $170.8 billion worth of buybacks and counting have been announced since the president signed these tax cuts into law. Reich has denounced the legislation for creating greater inequality in a country that is already radically unequal.

In 2017, the World Bank’s Gini index, which measures inequality country by country, cited Haiti, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and the Central African Republic as the world’s five most unequal countries. (The most economically balanced nations include Norway, Ukraine, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.) Gini data also show that measured against other developed countries, the United States is failing its lower and middle-income earners miserably.

Citing the 2015 Gini data of 34 countries, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently found that the top 10 percent in the United States earned 18.8 times more than the bottom 10 percent. By comparison, the wealthiest 10 percent of Danes, Fins, Belgians, Germans and Australians earned 5.2, 5.5, 5.9, 6.6 and 8.8 times more than the bottom 10 percent respectively. In Mexico, the most economically unequal country in the OECD’s report, the rich earned 30.5 times more than their poorest compatriots.

The 2018 World Inequality Report, compiled by Thomas Piketty and other economists and released in December, also paints a troubling picture of the United States’ wealth distribution. According to the study, the top 1 percent of wage earners went from owning 11 percent of the national income in 1980 to 20 percent in 2016. The bottom 50 percent’s share of the national income dropped from 21 to 13 percent over the same time period. In Western Europe, the 1 percent’s control of national incomes has risen from 10 to 12 percent, while the bottom 50 percent’s share has held steady at 23 percent—undesirable, perhaps, but decidedly more equal.

Although the U.S. remains the largest economy in the world, it is hardly the most inclusive. While Wall Street and Silicon Valley are thriving, OECD data indicate we not only suffer from harsh inequality but some of the highest rates of poverty in the developed world. In 2014, according to organization’s findings, the United States’ poverty rate was 17.2 percent compared to 10.4 percent in the U.K, 9.1 percent in Germany, 9 in Austria, 8.9 percent in the Republic of Ireland, 8.8 percent in Sweden, and 8.6 percent in Switzerland. Even in Greece, perhaps the European country hit hardest by the Great Recession, poverty was slightly lower than the U.S. in 2014, with a rate of 15.1 percent.

As a Republican candidate for president, Trump railed against out-of-touch elites, vowing to “make America great again” and revitalize the American Dream. Yet his administration’s proposed federal budget includes draconian cuts to a long list of social programs, including food stamps, housing and heating assistance. On the campaign trail, Trump insisted he would not touch Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, but his budget would defund Medicare by $266 billion, Medicaid by $1.1 trillion and Social Security by $72 billion.

What’s more, Trump has opposed raising the national minimum wage significantly, if at all. And by eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will cause 13 million Americans to lose their health insurance by 2027 and increase premiums by 10 percent, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Covered California, an ACA exchange program, has estimated that premiums could increase by as much as 30 percent in the Golden State in 2019.

The Trump administration has done everything possible to exacerbate inequality in the U.S. and undermine what little remains of the New Deal’s progressive policies. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has even praised Trump and Republicans in Congress for making “a great effort to break out of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt model.” If the U.S. remains on its current economic trajectory, there won’t be an economic safety net left to shred.

By Alex Henderson/Alternet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Taxpayers—Not Big Pharma—Have Funded the Research Behind Every New Drug Since 2010 A sweeping new study challenges our understanding of medical breakthroughs.

Something odd happened when the Trump administration submitted the original version of its latest pro-corporate budget: Big Pharma didn’t like it.

The problem wasn’t a tax hike or new regulations: the problem was that the budget included deep cuts to the budget of the National Institutes of Health.

If those cuts had gone through, they would have exposed one of the biggest lies told about Big Pharma: that the current system of patents and price-gouging is just an unfortunate necessity to cover the cost of all their brave and noble R&D work Trump’s original spending proposal for fiscal year 2019, released last month, included major cuts to not just to the NIH, but the National Science Foundation as well. It is those two publicly funded entities—not Big Pharma—that support the bulk of the country’s basic research into diseases and pathways to new treatments.

That’s why the cuts were especially unwelcome in the executive suites of drug and biotech companies. Their business models depend on Washington subsidizing expensive, high-risk basic research, mostly through the vast laboratory network funded by the NIH.

Just how important is our publicly funded research to Big Pharma and Biotech? According to a new study by a small, partly industry-funded think tank called the Center for Integration of Science and Industry (CISI), it is existentially important. No NIH funds, no new drugs, no patents, no profits, no industry.

The CISI study, underwritten by the National Biomedical Research Foundation, mapped the relationship between NIH-funded research and every new drug approved by the FDA between 2010 and 2016. The authors found that each of the 210 medicines approved for market came out of research supported by the NIH. Of the $100 billion it spent nationally during this period, more than half of it—$64 billion—ended up helping the development of 84 first-in-class drugs.

But the NIH doesn’t get to use the profits from these drugs to fund more research, the way it might under a model based on developing needed drugs and curing the sick, as opposed to serving Wall Street. Instead, publicly funded labs conduct years of basic research to get to a breakthrough, which is then snatched up, tweaked, and patented (privatized) by companies who turn around and reap billions with 1,000-times-cost mark-ups on drugs developed with taxpayer money.

Those companies then spend the profits on executive bonuses and share buybacks, and lavish mass marketing campaigns to increase sales of amphetamines, benzos, opioids, and dick pills.

And with what’s left over, they lobby to keep threats to this massive scam at bay, all while scooping up more NIH-funded breakthroughs and starting the process anew.

This scam is worth a lot of money and is not easily messed with, as sacred as federal research benefiting military contractors. After Trump reversed his proposed research cuts last month, Bloomberg published an investor-soothing excuse article with the title, “The NIH appears Trump-proof.” The reporter, Max Nisen, explained, “NIH funds [are] a backbone of the research ecosystem on which [biotech and drug companies] depend. The better the NIH does, the better they do.”

The new CISI study was actually designed and written to reinforce this status quo: By showing federal research to be crucial to the current drug-pipeline, its authors hoped to provide ballast against Trump’s proposed cuts, which threatened the development of new drugs.

The study stops there, but for those not committed to the current system of patents and profit, its findings provide a leaping-off point to bigger questions. Such as:

If government-funded science is doing such a great job at basic research, why not provide additional funding for the development and testing of drugs?

If private industry isn’t doing basic research, and continues to gut long-flat-lined R&D budgets, what the hell are they spending their money on? (That one has an answer; see graph below.)

Why are we allowing drug companies to gain proprietary control over taxpayer-funded research, then turn around and price-gouge those same taxpayers to literal death?

These are the questions driving a growing Drug Access movement that seeks to replace the current monopoly-patent paradigm with open science collaborations, generic license regimes, and a “NASA for drugs” focused on developing critical, life-saving medicines and ensuring they remain affordable.

A pie chart showing the main areas where Big Pharma spends its money. It shows that the vast majority goes to promotional activities. The slice for clinical trials is so small you can barely see it.
You think this looks bad? Imagine if they hadn’t differentiated between types of marketing. 

For advocates of this new paradigm, the CISI data amplifies what they’ve been saying for years.

“The CISI study is further evidence of a broken system where taxpayers fund the riskier part of drug development, then once the medicines show promise, they are often privatized under patent monopolies that lock in exorbitant prices for 20 years or longer,” says Bryn Gay, Hepatitis C Project Co-Director at the Treatment Action Group.

As an example, Gay points to new hepatitis C drugs that have become a global rallying cry for an end to drug patent monopolies. After the NIH funded $62.4 million for the basic science behind the breakthrough drug sofosbuvir, it was purchased by the firm Gilead for $11 billion. Gilead then turned around and priced it up to six figures, even though a 12-week treatment course of costs less than $100 to produce.

“Companies have raked in profits of over $70 billion from hep C medicines, yet companies like Gilead and Janssen have walked away from additional hep C research, such as for a preventative vaccine,” says Gay. “The impact of NIH-funded research again demonstrates that we need

to increase government funding for infectious and neglected diseases. We can’t rely on Pharma to set R&D agendas shaped by how much profit can be generated.”

Dean Baker, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, believes a publicly funded system is possible. A start-to-finish government drug pipeline, he estimates, would result in an 80 percent drop in the $450 billion Americans currently spend on prescription drugs. He estimates that the government could fund the development and testing of new drugs for an additional $50 and $80 billion a year—roughly the amount of money drug corporations have made from the hep C treatment alone.

“The industry wants us to believe the government can fund good basic research, but is incapable of developing and testing new drugs,” says Baker. That is, of course, not true. “[The CISI] analysis shows the enormously important government role in developing new drugs. We should start asking questions about how the government can see the process through so [new drugs] could be sold at generic prices the day they are approved by the FDA.”

Baker also notes a government-run drug pipeline would likely result in safer drugs as well as cheaper drugs, as all clinical tests would be made fully public as a condition of funding.

The lords of the current paradigm fear rigorous and transparent clinical trials almost as much as paying for their own R&D. Last year, when the industry and its political allies drafted the 21st Century Cures Act, everybody cheered its cancer “moonshot” funding, but few noticed the section weakening the rules and regulatory oversight around clinical trials.

In other words, the same people getting rich off your taxes are willing to risk your life and a slap on the regulatory wrist for a slightly faster route from NIH-funded science to the bank.

By Alexander Zaitchik/AlterNet

Posted by The NON-Confomist

Georgia Lawmakers Punish Delta Air Lines Over NRA Feud

Republican lawmakers in Georgia made good on a threat to eliminate a proposed tax break for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, after the carrier declined to reverse a decision to cut ties with the National Rifle Association.

Earlier this week, Delta — the state’s largest private employer, with 33,000 workers statewide — was among numerous companies to announce that it would end discounts for NRA members in the wake of the mass shooting that killed 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., high school.

Ignoring warnings that taking on Delta could harm the state’s pro-business image, the GOP-controlled House, which had earlier approved a larger tax bill containing the exemption, voted 135-24 on Thursday for a new version stripped of the provision. Meanwhile, some experts have raised First Amendment concerns over the legislature’s punitive move.

More from NPR

Posted by Libergirl