Archive for corporate America

"I don't recall 'if you're comfortable with it' qualifying any of Jesus Christ's commandments."


what would jesus do

Regular readers know that I'm a big Michael Hiltzik fan, and for good reason. He's good at spreading the-- What's it called again? Oh yeah-- truth. One of his latest columns dealt with the truths regarding the Supreme Court's wrongheaded Hobby Lobby ruling in favor of allowing bosses to make health decisions for women. The consequences of that one were fairly easy to predict. Not only are businesses trying to use their "religious beliefs" against access to contraception, but now the decision is oozing into other areas of discrimination, as in gay and transgender targets. But hey, it's all cool, because it's in the name of Religion, with a capital R. In short: Blame Jesus.

Where's an impartial Supreme Court when you need one?

Which brings us to today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Plaudits to Michael Hiltzik for highlighting how the U.S. Supreme Court's outrageous Hobby Lobby decision may abet religious zealots' discrimination against gays and transgenders in the business world. ("Hobby Lobby's harvest: A religious exemption for LGBT discrimination?," July 16)

Hiltzik's telling parallels with mid-20th century racism ring true. For pious segregationists, the 1896 decision Plessy vs. Ferguson served to keep public schools segregated until Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954.

That epic reversal set the stage for civil rights legislation enacted during the next decade, which served to counter persistent racism.

Hiltzik's apt insights suggest that the 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision won't, like the Plessy ruling, endure for decades. All that's needed is one more high court justice who favors equal rights over faith-based discrimination.

Devra Mindell, Santa Monica


On Monday, President Obama issued an executive order barring LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. To protect their organizations from feeling "very uncomfortable" and to perpetuate "diversity of opinion," Pastor Rick Warren and other religious leaders, in a July 1 letter to Obama, argue their right to discriminate against the LGBT community while still receiving federal (taxpayer) funding

There is a disgraceful hypocrisy lurking in a request by Christian church leaders for religious exemption from an anti-discrimination rule. I don't recall "if you're comfortable with it" qualifying any of Jesus Christ's commandments.

Ellen Chavez Kelley, Santa Barbara


Hiltzik's excellent column was deficient in only one respect. He failed to ask Warren or Father Larry Snyder where in the fundamental documents of their faith they find their God commanding them to discriminate against LGBT people in terms of employment. Are they discriminating on religious grounds, moral grounds, or do they want to discriminate because they're simply bigoted?

Additionally, if their consciences won't allow them to treat LGBT people equally, they're always free to say "no" to the taxpayers' money.

John Gibson, Los Angeles


Power play: Hobby Lobby et al. "not happy until their faith has more influence."


separation of church and state cartoon power

obama tweet birth control women hobby lobby


My Twitter followers often ask me why religious-slash-conservative politicians do what they do despite the potential negative effect on so many Americans. Why, for example, do they persist with their War on Women? Why do they insist that a zygote is a child and force closures of women's health clinics, putting existing lives at risk? Why do they claim they are "pro-life" as they scream their heartless, vicious verbal attacks at-- and put the fear of their god into-- child refugees who are escaping from rape, violent abuse, and death? Why do right wing extremists allow these atrocities to continue? Why are they willing to potentially end lives in the name of their god? My answer is an abbreviated (it is Twitter, after all) one-size-fits-all reply: Power and money.

Power and money are strong motivators. Tossing red meat to rabidly hungry political donors and like-minded voters goes a long way to securing state and federal lawmakers' positions. And by keeping their jobs, they get to extend their influence. It's all about self-interest.

Hypocrisy is an ingredient of Theocratic Stew, too, but that doesn't answer the Why. Besides, some outwardly religious zealots may very well believe their own fevered, ill-conceived blather.

The Hobby Lobby case allows bosses to control and exert their influence over women, women who may hold different beliefs (or disbeliefs) than the corporate "person" that pays them. Rather, they claim it's about their beliefs. Some of us see it differently.

Today on her radio show, Nicole Sandler played an interview with David Silverman. Silverman is the president of He was discussing conservatives and their heavy-handed religious policies, but made a very important distinction. To quote Silverman, "It's not conservative, it's theocratic." Bingo.

Which brings me to today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because, believe it or not, our voices matter:

That's rich, a Christian activist law firm calling itself the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom. Equally Orwellian phrasing titles the constitutionally dubious Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the Becket firm has cited to obtain ill-considered U.S. Supreme Court decisions favoring Christianity over sound public policy. ("Law firm in Hobby Lobby win is playing key role in religion cases," July 19)

For truth in advertising, how about "the Becket Fund for Denying Nonbelievers' Rights to Freedom from Religion"?

So what if this firm advocates a Muslim prison inmate's right to grow a beard. That ploy likely will prevail as a bone thrown to non-Christian detractors, but its narrow application betrays the firm's ulterior motive: to set up more far-reaching court rulings to favor the Christian majority.

Edward Alston, Santa Maria


The lawyers for Hobby Lobby don't seek religious freedom. As with the recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they seek the right to extend their religious beliefs to apply to everyone else.

All over the world, it's common for those who practice a particular religion not to be satisfied with their own personal religious freedom. They are not happy until their faith has more influence.

In Iraq, this conflict gets people killed. In the U.S., the Supreme Court allows businesses to force employees to comply with owners' religious beliefs.

The freedom of religion in the 1st Amendment prevents the government from establishing a religion. Once the immense power of government assists one religion, all others suffer.

Norwood Price, Burbank


Poll-itics: SCOTUS approvals near lowest "in 14-year trend"


poll-itics smaller SCOTUS

SCOTUS, SCOTUS, SCOTUS, what are we going to do with you? Well, here's an idea: Elect Progressive presidents who will replace right wing extremist Supreme Court justices (and other judges) who decide cases that are turning this country upside down.

This Supreme Court has:

  • ruled in favor of prayers in city council meetings (read: Christian prayers);
  • eliminated buffer zones around abortion and contraception medical centers in Massachusetts so that women can now be intimidated and threatened literally within an inch of their lives;
  • weakened unions by ruling that they could not force home-care workers to join them and pay dues;
  • and, of course, allowed Hobby Lobby and other family-owned businesses to decide what kind of birth control their employees could use based on their bosses' religious beliefs. Not the workers' beliefs, mind you, because apparently, corporate religion trumps that of the individual.

And don't get me started on Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions allowing corporate money to attempt to buy elections the way Willard "Mitt" Romney buys car elevators.

According to Gallup, this has affected the court's popularity. Democrats in particular are not too thrilled with this SCOTUS. If that's the case, you know what to do: Vote. In droves. Swarm the polls. Help to register other voters and get them to the ballot box, too.

gallup scotus


Americans remain divided in their assessments of the U.S. Supreme Court, with 47% approving of the job it is doing, and 46% disapproving. These ratings are consistent with approval last September, when 46% approved and 45% disapproved, and rank among the lowest approval ratings for the court in Gallup's 14-year trend. [...]

Republican approval of the Supreme Court is up 21 percentage points since last September, from 30% in 2013 to 51%. Independents' approval shows little change, going from 47% to 46%. Support among Democrats, on the other hand, is down [...]

Americans' current views more closely reflect the court's own ideological divisions in these two recent decisions, rather than its bipartisan unanimity.


Snark attack: Marco Rubio "is onto" thousands of climate scientists' "schemes."


snark warning marco rubio climate change

On "This Week," Marco Rubio was interviewed by ABC's Jonathan Karl about climate change:


I don't agree with the notion that some are putting out there — including scientists — that somehow, there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what's happening in our climate. Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research, and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that's directly and almost solely attributable to man made activity.

I don't know of any era in world history where the climate has been stable. Climate is always evolving. Natural disaster have always existed.

Jonathan Karl:

But let me get this straight. You do not believe human activity — C02 — has caused warming to our planet?


I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientist are portraying it. And I do not believe the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it. Except, it will destroy our economy.

And with that, here are today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

It is a coincidence that the day after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), an apparent GOP presidential hopeful, stated his belief that man was not causing climate change, scientists announced that global warming was causing irreparable harm to massive Antarctic glaciers, which will eventually cause a major sea-level rise. ("Irreversible collapse of Antarctic glaciers has begun, studies say," May 12)

Evidently, Rubio is courting corporate donors and therefore must deny that man contributes to climate change. These corporate leaders need politicians like Rubio to stop the implementation of policies that would reduce carbon emissions and therefore hurt their bottom lines.

Yes, the increasing use of solar and other alternative fuels could reduce certain corporations' profits, but corporate interest should not trump the planet.

Norwood Price


Those climate scientists are at it again. They're trying to scare us all into believing that climate change is really happening and that humans are causing it.

It's a good thing that Rubio is onto their schemes. I'm looking forward to him exposing the mastermind of this hoax that has been perpetrated by those thousands of scientists in dozens of countries these past several decades, and to having him identify the (undoubtedly sinister) motive behind the hoax.

If he can accomplish this, it definitely qualifies him to be the next U.S. president.

Al Barrett

Santa Monica