Friday, February 09, 2007

Epilogue 3, the John Sweeney story

Plea to Congress to End Sexual Bondage in U.S. Islands
But Ogumoro [a social worker in Saipan] says she saw 30 cases last year of women trafficked into the CNMI [Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands] from the Philippines, China and elsewhere in Asia, who were then sold into virtual bondage as housekeepers, working 21 hours a day, physically and mentally abused or, like Entena, forced into prostitution. "Those women are the ones who made it to the shelter; there are countless others," she testified.


Lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his Republican allies, including now former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, trampled efforts to improve conditions and wages for workers in the CNMI, according to Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who fought for more that 10 years for the cause.

Let's not forget Sweeney's part in this. Along with Tony Rudy, who at different times worked for DeLay and Abramoff, Sweeney took a little trip to the Marianas in 2001, had a look around, and did his best Sgt. Schultz impression. He saw nothink.

Back to the present:
Now with Democrats in charge of Congress, the House recently voted to increase the minimum wage for all American workers, including those in Saipan.

Stayman [staff member on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources] says the purpose of the hearing today is to update Congress on the socio-economic impacts facing the CNMI due to the continued import of alien guest workers since the committee's last hearing in 1999 and to determine how legislation should proceed. Population growth, development of a two-tiered economy, border control issues and worker abuse will be addressed.

I wonder what kind of soap you need to use to clean the shame off of you for enabling this kind of thing.

(Via TPMmuckraker.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

H. CON. RES. 33. The "Bush, don't bomb Iran" resolution.

Via A Tiny Revolution, it appears that McNulty has co-sponsored a resolution saying that Bush can't make war on Iran without going to Congress.

I just sent a note of thanks to McNulty, and I encourage you to do the same.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Wal-Mart and a Union Unite, at Least on Health Policy
[...] this morning, in an extraordinary meeting in Washington, the chiefs of Wal-Mart Stores and the Service Employees International Union will stand together and agree on a series of goals for achieving universal health coverage, according to people briefed on the matter.

This is an important step. If Big Business gets behind universal coverage, it could happen faster.

Please note that I still don't like Wal-Mart.

(Via Kevin Drum.)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

G.O.P. Senators Block Debate on Iraq Policy
Republicans on Monday blocked Senate debate on a bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq, leaving in doubt whether the Senate would render a judgment on what lawmakers of both parties described as the paramount issue of the day.

If the parties were reversed, I wonder if we would be hearing talk of "the nuclear option" in the Senate. The "tyranny by the minority," and all those other Luntz-isms.

Anyhoo, this is yet another example of how the GOP goes about representin' its people. Better to cover our ears and clap a hand over our mouths than even entertain the possibility of a different way of handling our occupation of Iraq. Status quo, here we come.

Another punt by our elected officials.