Friday, October 16, 2009

Something Else to Rant About

We sign away our rights every day. We do. Cellphone contracts, email contracts...all sorts of things we sign without reading can come back to bite us if something goes wrong and we seek redress.

Now, I have griped about Halliburton several times, over the years; specifically their former sub-company, KBR. They contract to build prisons, they endanger the servicemen they are hired to supply, they rip off our taxes, they are (or were) partially owned by Dick Cheney. That Halliburton.

About a month ago, a female employee of Halliburton in Iraq won the right to sue her employer, after being gang raped by fellow employees. She had to go to court to attain the right to go to court, because she had signed a contract stating that workplace issues would be settled by internal arbitration. Right. You and I know how far she got with internal arbitration, don't we? A month ago, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (2-1) that her injuries were not "workplace-related," and so were not covered by her contract. This came after 15 months in arbitration.

Not only was she gang raped, but she was put in a shipping container without food, water or bedding, for over 24 hours, and warned that she would lose her job if she left Iraq in pursuit of medical treatment. This is according to Amanda Terkel at Think Progress.

The rape occurred in 2005, the court decision a month ago. Yesterday, The Raw Story carried a report from Jon Stewart that Al Franken had proposed an amendment that government contracts should be withheld from companies that force employees to waive the right to sue in cases of rape. Jon Stewart thought this was an amendment that could pass unanimously. I would have thought the same, but, not so, Dearly Beloved, not so.

THIRTY Republican Senators voted against it! Thirty! One stated that it was not the government's business to write or rewrite private contracts.

Did I mention that Dick Cheney had, or has, ties to Halliburton?

We insist that those receiving government contracts meet other requirements, such as being "equal opportunity employers," but it's wrong to force them to allow redress in cases of rape?

I guess that tells us what value Republicans place on women, doesn't it?

A vote for a Republican appears to be a vote against women.

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