US Pro-Discrimination Laws Opposed By Apple CEO Tim Cook And Other …

31 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple CEO Tim Cook Slams Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Law.

Just days after Indiana passed a controversial new “religious freedom” law that critics say will allow business owners to discriminate against same-sex couples and the LGBT community, Apple’s Tim Cook, the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company, penned an op-ed for the Washington Post condemning Indiana’s “dangerous” new law and similar legislature in other U.S. states. “There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country,” Cook writes, citing the new Indiana law as well as “more transparent,” more discriminatory legislation is being drafted in Arkansas and Texas. “These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear.Apple CEO penned a Washington Post editorial warning that bills like the one enacted in Indiana could be “used as an excuse to discriminate.” (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) NEW YORK (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook said that so-called “religious objection” legislation being introduced in a number of states is dangerous and bad for business.Apple Inc chief Tim Cook slammed what he called a wave of “dangerous” laws in several US states that he said promote discrimination and erode equality.

They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.” While Apple currently houses two retail stores in Indiana and another in Little Rock, Arkansas, Cook writes, “Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Mike Pence signed the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was quickly condemned by tech leaders led by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on the grounds that it was both anti-gay and a detriment to hiring the best and the brightest. Legislation being considered in Texas would strip the salaries and pensions of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas’ marriage ban later this year.

Asa Hutchinson, whom Cook has said should reject a similar bill, instead said that his state’s measure — which was approved 24-7 in the Arkansas Senate — would meet his approval. “This bill is designed to protect the religious freedoms of all Arkansans,” Hutchinson said Friday. “It’s no different than legislation that has passed in 20 other states, from Illinois to Connecticut. Following the outrage from the bill and the economic backlash SB 101 could have on Indiana, Republicans in Indiana are attempting to pass an extension to the bill that would “make it crystal clear that [the “Religious Freedom” law] cannot be raised in a denial-of-services claim,” Buzzfeed reports. Regardless of what you think of this Indiana law, whether a measure aimed at protecting folks’ religious freedoms really is anti-gay, is it a slippery slope for a CEO of any company to lecture a state on such matters?

In a letter he wrote then, Cook said, “there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. Cook, who was baptised as a child, said he has “great reverence for religious freedom,” but said faith should not be used as a tool to discriminate. “The days of segregation and discrimination marked by ‘Whites Only’ signs on shop doors, water fountains and restrooms must remain deep in our past,” he added. Remember, Cook’s own state of California takes a dim view of jobs shipped overseas, yet not a word from Cook about those millions of iPhones he makes in Asia. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies.

Same-sex marriage is now recognized in 37 states after the US Supreme Court in 2013 ruled that federal law could not discriminate against wedded lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples. And southern states like Texas and Arizona are cracking down on illegal immigration, should he weigh in on those matters that a lot of liberal groups call overly excessive? With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.” “We all agree that there should be more women in country music,” Miranda Lambert proudly announced at the beginning of her encore Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. “And we also all really miss the Dixie Chicks.” Then, with help from opening act Ashley Monroe and backup singer Gwen Sebastian, Lambert led her makeshift trio through a note-perfect version of the Dixie Chicks’ 1999 hit “Cowboy Take Me Away,” paying tribute to the platinum blondes who came before her during one of New York City’s biggest country shows of the year. Headlining the Garden for the first time, Lambert took the stage earlier that night to a fiery version of “Fastest Girl in Town” and hardly stopped for a breath during the rest of her 100-plus minute show.

She also included several classic rock covers, including the Rolling Stones’ “Bitch” and Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.” Lambert commanded her no-nonsense stage show with an effortless, unassuming confidence, singing fan-favorite ballads like “Over You” and “The House That Built Me” right alongside hard-partying rockers like her current single, “Little Red Wagon,” and her signature, set-closing “Gunpowder and Lead.” Lambert’s Saturday night show preached open-armed inclusion and fierce female independence. “Take a second to think about who you are, where you come from and what you stand for,” she said, in one of her longer, between-song comments of the night, before singing her 2011 anthem “All Kinds of Kinds.” Her performance was bookended by a pre-show video showing an array of pioneering women like Amelia Earhart and a banner on the video screen at the end of the show that simply read, “Well behaved women rarely make history.” In keeping with the night’s tone, Lambert provided one of evening’s biggest highlights with a mid-set, solo acoustic performance of Merle Haggard’s renegade anthem, “The Way I Am.” If Lambert made arena stardom look easy, Justin Moore showed why he’s one of the hardest working Nashville upstarts with his 10-song opening set. Donning a Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band T-shirt, Moore won over the crowd during extended versions of songs like “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” (performed as a tribute to 9/11) and his finale, “Small Town USA,” which featured a coda of Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” With his earnest speech-making and enthusiastic crowd work, Moore’s performance showed that he clearly has his eye set on headlining his own arena shows in the future. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. After months of escalating protests and grassroots organizing in response to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police reformers have issued many demands. The moderates in this debate typically qualify their rhetoric with “We all know we need police, but…” It’s a familiar refrain to those of us who’ve spent years in the streets and the barrios organizing around police violence, only to be confronted by officers who snarl, “But who’ll help you if you get robbed?” We can put a man on the moon, but we’re still lacking creativity down here on Earth.

While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the “disorderly conduct” of the urban poor. Like every structure we’ve known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario. Rather than be scared of our impending Road Warrior future, check out just a few of the practicable, real-world alternatives to the modern system known as policing: Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts. Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters.

There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn. While police forces have benefited from military-grade weapons and equipment, some of the most violent neighborhoods have found success through peace rather than war. Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage. Decriminalization doesn’t work on its own: The cannabis trade that used to employ poor Blacks, Latinos, indigenous and poor whites in its distribution is now starting to be monopolized by already-rich landowners.

To quote investigative journalist Christian Parenti’s remarks on criminal justice reform in his book Lockdown America, what we really need most of all is “less.” Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails. From hippie communes to the IRA and anti-Apartheid South African guerrillas to even some U.S. cities like Philadelphia’s experiment with community courts, spaces are created where accountability is understood as a community issue and the entire community, along with the so-called perpetrator and the victim of a given offense, try to restore and even transform everyone in the process.

Communities that have tools to engage with each other about problems and disputes don’t have to consider what to do after anti-social behaviors are exhibited in the first place. Obviously these could become police themselves and then be subject to the same abuses, but as a temporary solution they have been making a real impact. In New York, Rikers Island jails as many people with mental illnesses “as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined,” which is reportedly 40% of the people jailed at Rikers.

We have created a tremendous amount of mental illness, and in the real debt and austerity dystopia we’re living in, we have refused to treat each other for our physical and mental wounds. Mental health has often been a trapdoor for other forms of institutionalized social control as bad as any prison, but shifting toward preventative, supportive and independent living care can help keep those most impacted from ending up in handcuffs or dead on the street.

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