Friday, April 17, 2015

IBM Blasts Piyush Jindal Over Antigay Religious "Freedom" Law


The corporate hijacking of America continues to pick up steam. With Congress ready to put Emperor Barack Obama into God mode with their ramming through of fast track authority for the secretive, job killing Trans Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) the global monstrosities are increasingly interjecting themselves into local issues. The latest example is in the state of Louisiana where IBM just sent a nasty letter to Governor Piyush “Bobby” Jindal blasting the Pelican state over another of those anti gay laws that are being sold to the voters under the premise of religious freedom.


IBM has sent a letter to the governor of Louisiana warning that a pending religious freedom bill would create a hostile environment for the tech company's employees.

"A bill that legally protects discrimination based on same-sex marriage status will create a hostile environment for our current and prospective employees, and is antithetical to our company's values," IBM vice president James Driesse wrote in a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal.

"IBM will find it much harder to attract talent to Louisiana if this bill is passed and enacted into law," Driesse said.

The letter asks Jindal to work with the state legislature to "ensure this legislation is not discriminatory." IBM has made significant investments in Louisiana, including a technology services delivery center in Baton Rouge.

The letter is the latest warning from corporate America to states that are considering controversial religious freedom laws. In Indiana and Arkansas, an intense backlash has already forced lawmakers to make revisions.

The IBM letter follows the ferocious backlash against Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act when Governor Mike Pence saw his dark horse presidential hopes go up in smoke shortly after signing the bill into law. The reaction was swift, with corporations and local businesses bringing immense pressure that forced the legislature to modify language in the bill that was seen as anti-gay. A number of states with similar laws have become a bit squeamish in the aftermath and despite his often over the top rhetoric as some sort of national avatar of morality it will be interesting to see if Jindal also backs down.

Not that IBM exactly has the moral high ground in this dust up considering that it was the company's own tabulating machines that tracked Jews in Hitler’s network of death camps and probably also tracked gays. The profiteering off of the Third Reich by American corporations is one of those skeletons in the nation’s closet. While Der Fuhrer is invoked daily by our slimy politicians despite the fact that he has been dead for seventy years, the dealings of corporations and Wall Street with the Nazis remains largely unknown. You see, widgets are widgets and in the case of IBM those widgets just happened to be doomed Jews. 

Historian Edwin Black wrote a book about Big Blue’s contribution to the atrocities entitled “IBM and the Holocaust”. The book was reviewed by Forbes back when it came out in the piece “IBM Gets An Ugly History Lesson”:

Like any efficiency-driven organization, the Nazis were big on technology. It wasn’t just to order and track office supplies–they had to keep track of all the Jews in concentration camps. And to do that, they used IBM equipment.

According to a new book, IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation, by Edwin Black, IBM not only provided its technology* to the Third Reich, IBM also formed a “strategic alliance” with the Nazis. A class action lawsuit was also filed over the weekend against IBM on behalf of all Holocaust concentration camp survivors.

The lawsuit alleges that IBM aided the Nazis during World War II and then later tried to cover up its actions. Aiding genocide demonstrates poor business ethics in general, but beyond that, it’s even uglier given the possibility that IBM may have made a nice profit off the Nazis. Exactly how much IBM profited is far from certain.

While it was a long time ago and all those who were involved with the decision are now dead, it shows that when it comes to short-term profits that corporations rapidly dispose of anything even approaching basic morality let alone human dignity. A guy named Jesus Christ once said something about letting those who are without sin cast the first stone, this is an appropriate metaphor regarding IBM’s meddling in a state's democratic process. But then again, when have the big corporations ever given a tin shit about what the voters think?