Thursday, December 3, 2009

Politico reported yesterday that some Republican Senators are "steamed at (Al) Franken because partisans on the left are using a measure he sponsored to paint them as rapist sympathizers — and because Franken isn’t doing much to stop them." Oh my!

It looks for all the world to me like these poor saps were just innocent victims of the same kind of "drive by" set-up Franken used in books like "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them". You know the M.O. Franken offers up this idealistic crapola in the form of an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill which everyone with half a brain knows is just plain unrealistic. Subsequently the Senators who live up to their responsibilities and vote against it are raked over the coals in the media. The Huffington Post even reports the creation of a mock website, Republicans For Rape. Don't go there, its really, really sick, and has the names and pictures of the 30 senators who had the moral fiber to stand up and try to vote this bit of legislative grand-standing down. Men like David Vitter and John Ensign, whose concern for all women, not just their wives, has been well documented hither and yon.

As we all know by now, the amendment would prohibit funding for any contractor who requires an employee, as a condition of employment, to sign an agreement which in effect surrenders their right to due process in certain instances, most notably rape.

Well any jackass can easily see how this would hamstring defense contractors in the performance of their duties while defending this country from God knows what. After all, we can't have a bunch of bed wetters out there being allowed to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights when we have Enemies of Liberty to fight. To drive this point home, in an op-ed for the The Tennessean, Republican Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker wrote:

"We voted against the amendment because it was overly broad, banning arbitration in too many cases where it would benefit employees.

...This amendment had nothing to do with criminal charges. Arbitration agreements do not in any way limit a prosecutor's ability to bring criminal charges against those who commit crimes.

...When Senator Franken offered his amendment, he said it was inspired by the experience of Jamie Leigh Jones, a woman who was raped by her coworkers, whose horrific story has incensed us all. Ms. Jones took her case to court and won because the courts decided that the arbitration clause in her employment agreement should not prevent her from pursuing her sexual assault claims in court.

...If the Franken Amendment had simply done what Senator Franken said it would do - preserve employees' rights to their day in court if they are victims of rape in the workplace - we would have voted for it in a heartbeat. But the Franken Amendment simply went too far."

Well now doggonit that sounds perfectly reasonable to me. After all, Jamie Jones got her day in court anyway, didn't she? Let's google that and see... OK, here's something. Its an opinion submitted to the Tennessean a day after the Alexander/Corker op-ed. In it ordinary citizen Sheila Hobson, a "human resources manager who lives in Goodlettsville" writes:

"I read the response of U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (Tennessee Voices, Nov. 10) regarding how they voted against the "Franken amendment'' because it was too broad and went too far.

...Would they be satisfied with "using arbitration to resolve certain claims" as a way of dealing with this horrific crime, if their daughter, wife, sister or mother was brutally gang-raped as former KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones was?...

Alexander and Corker also stated, "Ms. Jones took her case to court and won because the courts decided that the arbitration clause in her employment agreement should not prevent her from pursuing her sexual assault claims in court.

In a Larry King interview with Ms. Jones last week, she stated that Halliburton had appealed this decision and that she had been fighting for her day in court for four years.

"That is four years of reliving the hell she endured, again to have to fight the same employer that will not allow her any justice in seeing her rapists prosecuted in the U.S. judicial system.

The vote for the Franken amendment was 68 to 30, which included all female GOP senators voting for passage. Alexander, Corker and 28 other male Republican senators voted against the amendment. Basically, that was 30 men who said that it is permissible for big businesses like Halliburton to use arbitration instead of our criminal justice system to deal with violent crimes."

Waitaminit. Could it be that Lamar and Bob might not be giving us the straight skinny? I mean, did Ms Jones really have to re-live 4 years Hell while trying to get her case heard in civil court? Well let's see then. On July 28th, 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang raped when she was all of 19 years old. This incidentally is about the age of Corker's two "college age" daughters, Julia and Emily (we won't go there). Here are the details:

"According to Jones, on July 28, 2005, several of her fellow KBR employees offered her a drink containing a date rape drug, of which she took two sips. The men then allegedly engaged in unprotected anal and vaginal gang-rape upon her while she was unconscious. She was able to name one of her attackers based on his confession to her, but was unable to identify the others due to her unconsciousness. Further, the lawsuit filed by Jones' attorneys cites the following: "When she awoke the next morning still affected by the drug, she found her body naked and severely bruised, with lacerations to her vagina and anus, blood running down her leg, her breast implants ruptured, and her pectoral muscles torn – which would later require reconstructive surgery. Upon walking to the rest room, she passed out again."Jones' account was confirmed by U.S. Army physician Jodi Schultz. Schultz gave the rape kit she used to gather evidence from Jones to KBR/Halliburton security forces, after which the rape kit disappeared. It was recovered two years later, but missing crucial photographs and notes.

Jones was confined by armed guards to a shipping container containing only a bed, under the orders of her employer, KBR. She says she was denied food, water, and medical treatment. After approximately one day, says Jones, a sympathetic guard gave her a cell phone and she called her father, Tom, who in turn contacted Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) who contacted the State Department. Agents were dispatched from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and removed Jones from KBR custody.

In May 2007, a State Department diplomat recovered the rape kit from Halliburton and KBR. However, notes and photographs taken by Schultz (of Jones the morning following her rape) were missing, undermining any chances of bringing the case through the criminal courts."

We now know that Ms Jones was unable to get help from the Department of Justice in pursuit of her case, and had to file a civil suit on her own. It wasn't until "September 15, 2009 the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled Jamie Leigh Jones' federal lawsuit against KBR and several affiliates can be tried in open court."

And that adds up to 4 years of living Hell in my book. Oh and by the way, the sweeties at Haliburton with their million dollar attorneys are still fighting this tooth and nail and Jamie's fight isn't over yet.

So it looks like I was wrong about this whole thing after all. When Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker wrote: "Ms. Jones took her case to court and won." They were pretty much lying through their teeth. To this date, Jamie hasn't won jack shit. About all she has now is the right to go broke trying to get some kind of compensation from the chicken shit assholes who did this to her.

Could it be they were lying about the rest of the amendment? Let's take a look at the text:

"Sec. 8104. (a) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any existing or new Federal contract if the contractor or a subcontractor at any tier requires that an employee or independent contractor, as a condition of employment, sign a contract that mandates that the employee or independent contractor performing work under the contract or subcontract resolve through arbitration any claim under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or any tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention."

And that looks pretty straightforward to me. All it is saying is that contractors paid by the government don't have the right to force their employees to sign away their rights to due process in an American court of law.

Let's have a show of hands here. How many of you reading this ever remember having to sign a contract, as a condition of employment, which requires you to give up any legal recourse to the enforcement of your constitutionally guaranteed civil rights?

I didn't think so. Businesses here in this country deal with all kinds of litigation every day. Consumers sue over shoddy products, employees make claims of workplace discrimination or sexual harassment and so on. Sometimes businesses win and sometimes they lose. Sure, its "unwieldy", but that's how the system is supposed to work.

Here's another blantant lie: Lamar and Bob accuse Franken and his amendment of "banning arbitration in too many cases where it would benefit employees.". Bullshit. Go back, look at the text and tell me where it says that. Under the amendment, companies like KBR would still have every right to offer arbitration. And you can bet your sweet ass they're saying this because, like every one with half a functioning brain cell knows, you would have to be out of your mind to accept arbitration when the very company you are suing gets to pick the arbitrator and the rules of arbitration.

Which makes me wonder what in Hell Lamar and Bob were talking about when they said the amendment "simply went too far.". Maybe if the amendment had been limited only to "gang rapes which occurred on July 28th, 2005 in Iraq" they would have been more inclined to give it a thumbs up.

All of this brings up an interesting question:

What kind of disgusting excuses for Senators are these 30 Republicans who had the nerve to stand up in front of the American people and say that some of the men and women who go out and risk their lives for this country should denied the same constitutional rights which we, safe here at home in our warm beds enjoy?

But you know I can't just leave it at that. These same thirty men had an opportunity to make a stand on the same principles which they say gives America the moral authority to actually be in places like Iraq in the first place. And they threw it away. What worthless buffoons they are.

What cowards!

1 comment:

  1. I'd say it's shocking how little courage it takes to be a U.S. Senator these days, but I actually think that lacking the courage to do what's right is a primary qualification for the job.