Thursday, October 15, 2009

Compassionate conservatism rearing its ugly head

My take on the Franken Amendment and the partisanship behind the vote can be read over at Jonathan's Corner. WARNING: the piece is extremely disturbing, concerning the subject material. Once again, the Count is welcome to post my piece onto Banned and Dangerous and the NH O/T if he so wishes.


Some of you may already know about the horrific and shocking tale of Jamie Leigh Jones, but for those who don't, here's a bit of info on her story.

A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.

Yes, you read that right. The act itself, as it turns out, was a warm-up compared to what comes next in the story.

Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job.

"Don't plan on working back in Iraq. There won't be a position here, and there won't be a position in Houston," Jones says she was told.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, Jones says she was held in the shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, who would not let her leave. Jones described the container as sparely furnished with a bed, table and lamp.

Unfortunately, it gets more insulting. Under the Bush Department (lack) of Justice, her case was largely swept under the rug, and left for one group to settle the matter...Halliburton/KBR.

Jones is now trying to proceed with the case in civil court, but KBR is pushing for it to be heard in “private arbitration,” without a “public record or transcript.” Halliburton has “won more than 80 percent of arbitration proceedings brought against it.”

Under a mandatory arbitration clause, if something happens to you - like the sexual abuse of Leigh Jones - under contract, you cannot sue the company for damages. Turns out its not just Halliburton that makes an arbitration clause mandatory in the workplace.
Hooters • Applebee's • KFC • Friendly Ice Cream Corporation • Circuit City • Neiman Marcus • Nordstrom • Hallmark Cards • Merrill Lynch • Citigroup • First usa • Ameriquest • Discover • Blue Cross Blue Shield • Aetna • Kaiser Permanente • AT&T • Ford • Daimler AG • Toyota • Clear Channel • General Electric • Halliburton • Bechtel • Rent-a-Center

Thankfully, last month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in her favor over Halliburton, stating that her injuries were not covered by the arbitration clause.

Now what does this heartbreaking example of unchecked corporate accountability and another dark example of life under the Bush/Cheney era have to do with 'compassionate conservatism' rearing its ugly head yet again?

Junior Senator Al Franken of Minnesota introduced an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that would make it illegal for defense contractors to stop employees from taking sexual abuse, battery, and harassment up to court, in other words, to make sure that we don't have to hear about another Jamie Leigh Jones in the news. You would beleive in the Senate, that a bill that would stop defense contractors from restricting employees from pressing charges because of rape or assault, would be an instant, no-brainer, unanimous 'yes' vote, right?

The bill did pass a vote of 68-30.

30 Senators basically defended rapists.

And these 30 Senators were, drumrolls please.......

Old, white, Republicans lawmakers. Here's the full list of the Senators who had the audacity to vote no.

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

I'm not one to wish ill will on others, but in this case, I hope there's a special place in Hell for the people who have decided to place corporate interests over those of rape victims.

Jon Stewart does a great job taking these partisan hacks to task on their actions on last night's The Daily Show.

In addition to being the Party of unchecked corporate greed, torture, anti-minorities, obstructionists, and the angry, racist Southern white voter, the GOP can add defender of rape victims to that shameful list.

Again, how the hell can honestly look at these qualities, and still vote Republican?

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