Bugliosi and God
Re "Former L.A. County prosecutor challenges God," April 17
Vincent Bugliosi expresses incredulity at the goodness, omnipotence and omniscience of the Christian God. The Manson prosecutor repeats the age-old "God is mean because we die or suffer" argument.
As a lawyer and a believer, I note with curiosity and some sadness how many brilliant lawyers can reach opposite conclusions based on the same facts. Christians observe evil and pain and see the gift of free will, redemption and eternity. Others observe suffering and see only irrational futility and meaninglessness.
Mr. Bugliosi, we don't believe in the risen Christ because we are dumb but rather because we see Him every day in both joy and suffering.
Kudos to Bugliosi for using the logic and rationality he employed in the legal profession to debunk superstition. As a prosecutor, he searched for evidence, essential for building a case. He now demonstrates that a lack of evidence, along with well-established inconsistencies, destroy the case for religion.
I differ, though, with two of his concerns, the first being his differentiation between atheists and agnostics. If agnostics simply don't know if there is a god, they also don't know if there are a multitude of other possible existent beings. It becomes a meaningless and futile exercise to grant possibilities to everything.
Second, the prime-mover argument has been long abandoned by philosophers and theologians. All one needs to do is ask who created the creator, and if the answer is that he always existed, then why not the same for matter and energy?
Although Bugliosi addresses "The God Question" in his new book, the greater problem in today's world is the socialization of God — namely, religion.
Perhaps it is the true God within Bugliosi
that inspired him to write his book, the same God that gave him his sense of right and wrong as a prosecutor and that is the foundation of his integrity and character.
Many of us have found that God within us, one we believe is inherent in all men, perhaps in all living things. It is only when we make a religion out of God that we get the horrible distortions that create jihad, inquisitions and political trickery.
Marina Del Rey
On taxing corporations
Re "Support builds for a business tax cut," April 20
All this apparent agony between the two great and powerful parties in Washington over recovering this country's economy, and what they come up with is another tax cut for the corporate class?
Wow, that's creative thinking.
With problems in education and healthcare, high unemployment and a crashing Social Security system, all these people can come up with is yet another basket of goodies for those that, as this article says, "are sitting on a record amount of cash and are back to paying bonuses that are the envy of executives around the world."
It has long been recognized that corporations ultimately do not pay taxes, in that corporate taxes are passed on to consumers, employees and shareholders.
Corporate taxes lead to distortions in competition and an unfair distribution of the tax burden, resulting from lobbying and setting up shell offices overseas.
Of course, the revenue lost by eliminating the tax would need to be restored by increasing other taxes. However, the public should experience a net gain from lower prices, increased investment in U.S. business, higher employment and reduced business and tax administration costs.
Some large corporations are paying minimal taxes, yet the focus for balancing budgets is on public employee unions. Large corporations should receive no tax cuts unless they prove they are providing jobs in the United States.
The redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest Americans is a disgrace. Capitalism is supposed to benefit workers as well as owners. Otherwise, the concept of supply and demand is a failure, which is what we are experiencing today.
We need to end all tax shelters and make everyone pay their fair share.
Questions of fairness
Re "Palestinian teens held in deaths," April 18
It is shameful that The Times printed a picture of the distraught Palestinian mother of one of the teens suspected in the murder of five Israelis. The people who were murdered while they slept, including three children, were the victims, not the alleged Palestinian murderers.
When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, The Times often portrays the Palestinian perpetrators as the victims. The Palestinians are the ones firing thousands of rockets into Israel and shooting into school buses.
When they stop the attacks and rid themselves of their hateful Hamas leaders, Palestinians will have a chance at peace.
Jeffrey L. Melman
If the two Palestinian teenagers are indeed guilty of the terrible crime of murdering a settler family, they must be brought to justice. However, it is troubling to read that they had not been afforded access to an attorney or to family members.
If we are to trust the outcome of this case, we must be assured that their confessions were not obtained by coercion, and that they have received a fair trial with the aid of a defense attorney.
Re "Obama's L.A. visit means traffic grief," April 21
As he ate dinner at Brentwood's Tavern restaurant on Thursday, I hope President Obama looked out the window at the Veterans Administration campus. He may have seen three empty buildings designed to house some of the mentally ill homeless veterans now living on Los Angeles streets.
These VA buildings have been empty for more than 20 years. In that time, hundreds of homeless vets have died. This is unacceptable.
A coalition of activists has begged the Bush and Obama administrations to rehab the buildings immediately. The Bush administration did designate the buildings for homeless veteran use, but it provided no money to make them habitable. The Obama administration has promised to spend $20 million, but the money is tied up by Washington's budget wrangling.
Obama must open these buildings to homeless vets who need housing and medical services. I hope he was moved on Thursday to do so.
The writer is a member of the Santa Monica City Council.
Re "Written alerts to replace color threat system," April 21
So the Department of Homeland Security is finally scrapping those silly color-coded terrorist threat warnings in favor of written alerts. Instead of green, blue, yellow, orange and red, may I suggest "Chill," "What was that?" "Be afraid," "Be very afraid" and "Duck!"
The Baca way
Re "Baca a believer in outreach," Column One, April 19
What if Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca's efforts at outreach to the Muslim community to build trust were emulated by members of Congress to solve the many divisive issues that trouble our country?