I really wanted to post a few more pictures from my journey to Instanbul and make insightful comments and stuff. But while I was away our Senate, a word which means elders and thus the thoughtful and wise voice of government, voted on an amendment to H.R.3326, the DoD appropriations bill, sponsored by the newest senator, Al Franken.
The amendment would prohibit the DoD from spending money for any "Federal contract with Halliburton Company, KBR, Inc., any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other contracting party if such contractor or a subcontractor at any tier under such contract requires that employees or independent contractors sign mandatory arbitration clauses regarding certain claims."
Sounds simple, and it did pass handily. But there's more to the story. Way more.
The amendment arose from the news that an employee of Halliburton KBR working in Iraq states that she was gang-raped by fellow employees and when she tried to sue the company Halliburton KBR pointed out that her contract prohibited lawsuits and only allowed arbitration. Read the story here, from the Minnesota Post of October 6th.
The good news is that Franken amendment passed handily. The bad news is that 30 senators voted no. Thirty male Republican senators I should be precise, and they all talked about how government should not encroach on contracts and the perils of government intrusion.
To stop gang rape?
This is an inappropriate role for government?
Corporate liberty is more sovereign than citizen safety?
Yes, it is. When enough power and money collect anywhere, it doesn't matter who elected whom. They serve those with the power and the money. So in the end, we have 30, yes thirty, and here they are for your enjoyment (scroll down to see them in person, and remember not a single woman including Republicans voted no).
One third of the senate who would excuse rape rather than stand up to Halliburton. One third of the senate is more beholding to Halliburton than the combined populations of Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wyoming , Idaho, Arizona and half the populations of North Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada and New Hampshire.
If I were not a clergyman whose members read this blog, I might more openly suggest that no one willingly votes to criminalize what you yourself do.
But I can say we should call them the pro-rape senators. Be it American women in Iraq or mere taxpayers in the United States, it's OK with them. And shame on us if we do not call them all to account.