HIGHTOWER: The Corporate Buddy System

Down on your luck, Bucko? Been fired and finding it hard to get rehired anywhere? Trying to make ends meet in the Lean & Mean, Corporate Nineties with only a few weeks severance pay?Well that's because you're on the wrong end of the corporate ladder, Bucko! If you were at the top, you could actually enjoy getting bounced. Look at John Walter, the number two operator at AT&T. He got fired in July after only nine months on the job, but you don't see him moping around. That's because MaBell put $26 million in his severance package. Plus, AT&T bought Walter's house from him for $3 million more.Likewise Gilbert Amelio couldn't hack it after 17 months at Apple Computer but he still got a $7-million severance. Robert Greenhill's three-year tenure at Smith Barney ended with him securing a $22 million severance. Then there's Michael Ovitz's 14-month trip to Disney Inc. ending in a whopping severance of more than $90 million.New York Times writer Judith Dobrzynski calls it the "sweet smell of failure."One wonders: Where is the Board of Directors when these platinum payoffs are being lavished on departing executives? After all, these millions belong to the stockholders, and board members are sworn to protect their money.But guess who sits on the boards? Executives from other corporations, and their Corporate Buddy System has them scratching each other's backs! When chief executives retire, they don't fade away -- they tend to reappear on the boards of their buddies' companies, where they can be counted on to be generous to a fault. One survey found that 90 percent of retiring CEOs find their way onto at least one corporate board, where they're paid an average of $44,000 a year to be "yes men" to the companies' top executives.This is Jim Hightower saying . . . They say it's lonely at the top . . . But not when you've got your buddies on board.Source:"Growing trend: giant payoffs for executives who fail big" by Judith H. Dobrzynski. New York Times: July 21, 1997. "Truly golden years for ex-CEOs" by Gene Koretz. Business Week

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up