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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, July 9, 2014 91B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Corporations are people, with more rights than you Ever since Citizens United, the Supreme Court's 2010 decision allowing unlimited corporate and union spending on political issues, Americans have been debating whether, as Mitt Romney said, "Corporations are people, my friend." Occupy Wall Street protestors decried theidea, late-night comedians mocked it, and reform groups proposed amending the Constitution to eliminate it. Last week, however, the Supreme Court endorsed corporate personhood -- holding that business ffmns have rights to religious freedom under federal law. Not only do corporations have rights, their rights are stronger than yours. The question came to the Supreme Court in a challenge to regulations implementing President Obama's landmark health care law. Those regulations require employers with 50 or more employees to provide those employees with comprehensive health insurance, which must include certain forms of WHERE I STAND provide their employees with only victims. What religious ...................................... contraception. So the rights rights will business ADAM WINKLER of employees have to givecorporations seek next? The CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR way to the rights of the court said that its decision corporation, wouldn't necessarily mean contraception. The The court's decision in that closely held businesses contraception requirement Hobby Lobby isn't a surprise, could obtain exemptions was designed to protect the The Roberts court has been from health care regulations rights of women. Studies largely hostile to the rights of mandating insurance show that access to women -- allowing greatercoverage for vaccinations contraception has positive restrictions on abortion,and blood transfusions. Yet benefits for women's restricting their ability to sue the court did grant those education, income, mental for workplace corporations today a right to health and family stability, discrimination, and limiting make such claims in court. If Protecting women's rights, the scope of family leaveensuring women's control according to the court, isn't a laws. Meanwhile, the dataover reproduction -- a good enough reason for the show that the Roberts court constitutional right -- isn't a government to force a is the most business-friendly strong enough reason to limit business corporation, at least Supreme Court in nearly athe religious rights of Hobby a privately held one like century. Just as CitizensLobby, it's not clear why chain craft store Hobby United expanded the rights of these other laws won't fall Lobby, to include birth business corporations to too. control in its insurance speak about political issues LGBT people may be next. contrary to the business -- and, in the eyes of many, Remember a few months ago owner's wishes. At least enabling them to drown out when Arizona almost that's what the Supreme the voices of We the People -- adopted a controversial law Court, in a 5-4 decision, held Hobby Lobby has given that would have given in Hobby Lobby. Federal businesses another powerful business corporations a statutes guaranteeing tool to fight against broad right to use religion to religious freedom to regulation. Hobby Lobby'smake claims for exemptions "persons" apply equally to religious rights enablethe from the law? That proposed closely held business fLrm to ignore the voices of law was rightly seen as an corporations, and those women who wish to enjoy the attack on LGBT rights, as corporations' religious health benefits from supporters insisted that liberty is "substantially controlling reproduction,business owners who object burdened" by having to And women may not be the to same-sex marriage shouldn't be forced to bake cakes, take pictures or arrange the flowers at such ceremonies. After Hobby Lobby, now all business corporations have a right under federal law to claim religious-based exemptions to all sorts of laws -- including laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. To its credit, the court's majority recognized the trouble created by the ruling and suggested that In'ms would not be entitled to discriminate on the basis of race. "The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race," the majority wrote. Yet the court's omission of LGBT discrimination is worrisome. The justices must have understood that the current conflict between religion and anti-discrimination law involves LGBT people, not racial minorities. No corporation is seeking to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against African-Americans, while several are seeking to discriminate against LGBT people. About that, the majority says nothing. If the court's ruling is read to permit challenges to laws barring discrimination against LGBT people, Hobby Lobby will be the Arizona law on steroids. It wouldn't apply in one state but across the nation. So while a business corporation can't go to church, fast on Yom Kippur, or travel to Mecca for Ramadan, it can still go to court and, on the basis of religious freedom, demand to be exempted from the law that applies to everyone else. Today, women are the victim. Tomorrow, it could be LGBT people. Indeed, after Hobby Lobby, every person is at risk. Everyone, that is, except the corporate person, my friend. Adam WinMer is a oonstitutional la w professor a t UCLA School ofLa w and is currently writing a book about the constitutional laws .of corporations. Big changes needed to make government effective, efficient In 1965, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means ' Committee, Wilbur Mills, brought legislation establishing Medicare and Medicaid to the floor of the U.S. House. That was my fn'st year in Congress, and I remember vividly the moment when Mills came to the Democratic caucus to explain his plans. Many of us had been Swept into office in the 1964 Democratic wave that accompanied Lyndon Johnson's election, and we had an overwhelming .... majority in Congress. We could pass any bill we wanted. But Mills argued forcefully that we shouldn't. WHERE I STAND Republicans, and eventually within the ranks of the in Congress will be darned if too many managers in each ....................................... 70 of them -- half their executive branch, but after they'll let a drive for layer and too little LEE H. HAMILTON caucus -- joined us to pass years of abject failure -- from efficiency close a military accountability. DIRECTOR the bill. the response to Hurricanebase or federal off'me complex These are crucial matters INDIANA UNIVERSITY CENTER ON CONGRESS Mills was playing a very Katrina to the initial rollout in their district, to fLx. Not only do Americans smart game. What he of the Affordable Care Act to I'm reminded, though, of a want to see better It was crucial, he said, that understood was that in the the cost overruns, delays and famous quote by Alexanderperformance from their we get bipartisan support for end, Americans' lives would mismanagement that too Hamilton: "A government government, but federal the measure: passing the law be affected not by what often characterize federal ill-executed, whatever may executives -- including the was one thing, but whathappened in Congress, but by programs -- it's hard to be the theory, in practice is president-- cannot achieve really counted was its what the federal government argue that the government is poor government." Our their policy objectives unless implementation. With did with the law it was filled with people who know government has become so those under them are bipartisan support, the odds handed, how to make it a model ofbig, complex and riddled with competent and were much higher that the There are times these days efficiency and effectiveness, competing agendas that its high-performing. We have to highly controversial measure when a story like that, about Some are too busy just performance -- its ability to rethink and transform how could be rolled ottt someone in Washington trying to carry out policy, execute faithfully the law -- government does its business effectively, earing about the Others think government'sis terribly compromised. As -- not just on a one-shot So despite the grumbling of government's effectiveness, too big; they're not interested NYU Professor Paul Light basis, but constantly. some members of the caucus, feels as quaint as a tale about in improving it, just in points out, there are tooLight has probably thought Mills made significant knights and dragons. Plenty cutting it. Some use many decision-makers, tooharder about these issues accommodations to fred of good, competent peoplegovernment to help their many bases to touch, too than anyone else inside or common ground with serve both in Congress and friends and allies. And some many layers of management, See Hamilton, page 10B LETTERS to the EDITOR Guidelines for Letters All letters must contain an address and a phone r umber. We publish only one letter per week per person aad only one letter per person per month regarding the same subject. We do not publish third-party, anonymous, or open letters. Letters must be limited to a maximum of 300 words. The editor will cut any letter in excess of 300 words. The deadline is Friday at 3p.m. (Deadlines may change due to holidays.) Letters may be taken to any of Feather Publishing's offices, sent via fax to 283-3952 or e-mailed to dm nald@p s.mm. Consider the consequences When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, the mission's aim was ridding the world of terrorists. Saddam Hussein hated al-Qaida and had no connection with the 9/11 iattacks. The U.S. invasion of Iraq didn't make sense. Now it makes even less sense as Iraq is terrorized by ISIS -- a group even more extreme than al-Qaida. It is President Obama's fault, the hawks who promoted the Iraq war claim. They say that Iraq is not stable and the president erred in pulling U.S. troops out. But if our soldiers have to live and die beyond a decade in order to prevent the country from coming apart, it was unstable to begin with. The Iraqi army is case specific. Ten years were spent working with and training it. It was well equipped, when they faced ISIS, they quit and laid down their arms. The complaints about Obama have no basis in fact. Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Malki refused to sign a Status of Forces Agreement that would have kept the U.S. in Iraq. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the country has become more theocratic. The concept of a secular government with accommodation is gone. More than a half million Christians have fled the country because they fear for their lives. Saddam Hussein was terrible. He did have a secular government. Iraq is coming apart. Can it be saved is the question in search of an answer. The war hawks that include Republicans Graham and McCain are giving advice and representing themselves as experts whom everyone should follow as the U.S. determines the best way to respond to the crisis it created. It would be best for them and everyone else to pause and reflect on the unintended consequences of U.S. military action before the U.S. starts heading down a dangerous path. James I. Overstreet Quincy Replace the city council The city of Portola receives $100,000 state grant money for a deputy sheriff. A portion of that money is earmarked for juvenile crime prevention. Have you seen any juvenile crime preventionposters, classes or neighborhood watch programs? The current job description of the Community Service Officer (CSO) represents only 25 percent of the duties to honestly qualifyfor the state grant. Our county sheriff is aware of the CSO job description, when the city receives grant monies, it must comply with the grant description. Is the city currently accepting the money under false pretenses? Has the current city CSO taken a certified Police Officer Standards and Training traffic accident investigation course? Do you have an inept city council? Is it time for new blood? How has the current city council improved the city for the better with more feel-good studies and meetings? Look around; do you see any tangible accomplishments, new paint or businesses? Your water-sewer rates have not fallen. You still have city attorney retainer fees of $60,000, loss of your full-time deputy sheriff, the council voted against the LAFCo per-capita plan that would save the city $46,000 per year. They cower to the board of supervisors. They alienated Hispanic voters with their bigotry. I'll donate a thousand dollars apiece to two conservative candidates under the following conditions. They defeat the current incumbents and remove the city attorney and financial officer from their jobs. Call it a campaign contribution you can be assured of when the job is fmished. I figure my contribution will save the city $60,000 in attorney retainer fees and another $24,000 in CPA fees the moment it's accomplished. You have everything to gain by replacing the current incumbents. Trent Saxton Lake Davis Residents have no say I am a senior at Greenville High School, and very discouraged with the lack of concern for GHS that I have seen by our school board -- especially the Indian Valley representative. Recently the Board voted to name our football stadium after a former coach. This coach had the worst win/loss record of any coach in recent memory; his only qualification being that b.e was at the school for along time. It's not like he started the program or was even one of the first football coaches. He was only there a long time. My problem isn't even with the coach. My problem is that the Board approved this without allowing Indian Valley residents to voice their opinion. A meeting-- the only meeting, in fact -- was held to make this decision in Portola. It seems many decisions for one community are decided in other communities. I know at least two people who sent emails asking Mr. Cook to request the decision be postponed until a meeting closer to Indian Valley. Our community mainly consists of working-class families, and many who work are unable to make it to a meeting in Portola. In addition, no communication was received for public notice of the meeting in question from the student who proposed the naming of the stadium. My concern is that the board is making decisions without the consent of indian Valley residents. Once again, we are losing our principal. The hiring of Mr. Miller's replacement is soon, yet nobody from our community is included in the process. Seriously? I may be graduating, but I have two younger sisters. And instead of allowing someone with a stake in the community to have a say in this decision, employees at the district office are making our decisions for us. I think it's time for our representative Mr. Cook to support us -- or step down. Miranda Fitch Greenville Same Old Broken Record Is anyone as tired as I am of hearing the liberal writers to this newspaper continually rag on about how republicans are responsible for all the country's ills? The latest barrage accuses them of filibustering over 300 bills in the Senate. Well, how about the fact that Harry Reid has refused to bring over 400 House-passed bills even to a vote in the Senate? Examples include the educing Regulatory Burdens Act, the Energy Tax Prevention Act and Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act. Mr. Reid and his democratic colleagues have also failed to present a budget (which is illegal), failed to address virtually all House job creation measures and failed to put forth any pro-growth plan of its own. So, there's plenty of blame to go around without attempting to paint one party as the cause of all evils. You can include the president in that group as well. His "my way or the highway" approach to governing hasn't been too successful in accomplishing any significant progress either, has it? Instead of playing the blanc game, why don't you liberals try something productive like suggesting solutions that can stimulate needed debate? Bryan Hansen Graeagle Contact your electe l officials... PLUMAS COUNTY SUPERVISORS- 520 Main Street, Room 309, Quincy, CA 95971; (530) 283-6170; FAX: (530) 283-6288; E-Mail: pcbs@cotmtyofplumas.com. Individual supervisors can also be e-mailed from links on the county website, c0untyofplumas.com PRESIDENT - Barack Obama, the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, D.C. 20500. (202) 456-1414. Fax: 202-456-2461. E-mail: whitehouse.gov/contact / U.S. SENATOR - Dianne Feinstein (D), 331 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3841; FAX: 202-228-3954; TYY/TDD: (202) 224-2501. District Office: One Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco, CA 94104; Phone: (415) 393-0707; Fax: (415) 393-0710 Website: feinstein.senate.gov. U.S. SENATOR - Barbara Boxer (D). District Office: 501 1 St., Suite 7-600, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 448-2787; FAX (916) 448-2563; OR 112 Hart i Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3553. FAX (202) 228-0454. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 1ST DIST. - Doug LaMalfa. 506 Cannon HOE Washington, D.C. 2051E (202) 225-3076. lamalfa.house.gov. DISTRICT OFFICES: 1453 Downer St., Suite #A, Oroville, CA 95965; 2885 Chum Creek R., Suite #C, Redding, CA 96002. STATE SENATOR, 1st DIST. - Ted Gaines. State Capitol, Room 3070, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916)651-4001, FAX: (916) 324-2680. E1 Dorado Hills Constituent Service Center. 4359 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 112, E1 Dorado Hills, CA 95762. (916) 933-7213, FAX (916) 933-7234; Redding Constituent Service Center. 1670 Market St., Suite 244, Redding, CA 96001, (530) 225-3142, FAX (530) 225-3143. STATE ASSEMBLYMAN, 1ST DIST. - Brian Dahle, State Capitol, Room 2174, Sacramento, CA 94249, (916) 319-2001; FAX (916) 319-2103. District Office, 2080 Hemsted Dr., Ste. #110, Redding, CA 96002; (530) 223-6300, FAX (530) 223-6737. 1 1 GOVERNOR Jerry Brown, office of the Governor, State~ Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814. Website: gov.ca.gov/ l (916) 445-2841. FAX: (916) 558-3160.