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NewsReal Sunday: Franken Rape Amendment Vote Puts Republicans in Bad Light

October 18, 2009

franken-hearings

Count me in the number as one who thought Al Franken being a senator was a joke.  I was sure that Minnesota would be shown as fools for allowing this jester into the Senate.  However, Franken may have just guaranteed the Democrats a continued Senate Majority after the 2012 elections by giving Republicans the chance to seemingly vote against justice.

Two weeks ago Franken added an amendment to the defense appropriation bill that passed in the Senate.  Franken’s amendment passed to no longer allow government contracts to companies who prevent employees from filing lawsuits against them for sexual harassment or assault. Franken put in this amendment after learning of the case of Jamie Leigh Jones. Jones claims to have been gang-raped in 2005  by employees of KBR – a division of Halliburton – in Iraq.  Jones says she was even temporarily locked in a room, so that she would not tell of her rape. Jones has attempted to take the company to court, until they pointed out that she signed a contract of employment that guaranteed such a case must be handled in private arbitration.

Here is 20/20 video of Jones’ case:

Franken wanted something to be done and his amendment to the bill prohibits

“the use of funds 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.”

The amendment passed easily 68-30.  Ten Republicans voted for it, however 30 Senate Republicans voted against this bill.  And quite frankly, that just looks horrible. There is no doubt that any of those Senators who face reelection bids in 2012 or beyond will have this vote thrown back at them. Politico points out that Democratic strategists already believe it will hurt two key battles for Senate seats– Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

Democrats, the Huffington Post, Rachel Maddow, and Jon Stewart are already jumping all over these Senators for this vote.  The Republican Senators have explained that their vote comes from the wishes of both the Defense Department and the US Chamber of Commerce.  Their concern is focused on too much government control over business operations.  Some saw Franken specifically mentioning  Halliburton in the amendment as just a way to attack a company that has often been the target of the Left.

All that aside, this was just a bad vote.  Those Republicans could have easily voiced their concern over the wording and still voted for it.  When it all comes down to it, they appear to be voting against protecting an innocent woman from defending herself against gang rape. Now I wholeheartedly believe that all 30 of those Senators think rape victims should get justice. However, their hearts simply do not show in their votes.  I have no problem with arbitration in many cases in business – but when it comes to a criminal act like rape – that needs to go to court.  And I do not think it is wrong for the government to say they won’t do business with a company that is not allowing rape victims to take their case to court.

This whole amendment battle reeks of the problem of power in politics.  I believe if you put politics aside, all 30 of those Senators would have voted differently.  And that’s what makes this whole thing sad.  They would do well to remember the words of Jesus:

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26

Jones deserves justice.  And regardless of Franken’s previous ill feelings toward Halliburton, this amendment had enough merits to pass. I hope the 30 Senators will apologize for letting politics trump common sense. If they don’t, their careers may end up being the only joke here.

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71 Comments
  1. Jack Samwell permalink
    October 18, 2009 7:41 am

    The problem working class conservavtives have always had with the republican party is that they pay lip service to Christian moral values but at the end of the day invariably side with the financial interests of big business. You are correct that their vote on the issue proposed by Franken does little to dispel that notion that the culture of Jack Abramhoff is alive and well in the republican party.

    I feel sorry for Ms. Jones and hope she finds justice and peace.

  2. David Thomson permalink
    October 18, 2009 8:22 am

    “…they appear to be voting against protecting an innocent woman from defending herself against gang rape.”

    “I feel sorry for Ms. Jones and hope she finds justice and peace.”

    How do you know ms. Jones is telling the truth? Why should anyone automatically assume she is innocent? Good intentions can sometimes lead to awful results. We also must be concerned that our elected officials do not pass laws that end up victimizing corporate entities. Will this legislation inadvertently lead to countless frivolous lawsuits?

    • Paul Cooper permalink
      October 18, 2009 10:39 am

      David, I don’t know she’s telling the truth. That’s why she needs her day in court. We need the chance for justice to happen.

    • theblanque permalink
      October 18, 2009 10:42 am

      Whether she’s telling the truth or not, the wording of the amendment was to prevent the binding of employees to private arbitration in the resolution of questionable (in this case, criminal) matters; the fact that 30 Republican Senators were more interested in preserving the bottom line than in the rights of individuals is the source of the scandal–and it will hurt the party, long term.

      It’s the same problem that undercut Newt Gingrich’s success with the “Contract With America”: entrenched politicians operating in their own interests with no concern for the consequences to the party. Unfortunately, unseating or successfully impeaching an incumbent Senator is a Herculean labor.

      • Mike permalink
        October 18, 2009 11:53 am

        Your first paragraph affirms my post to Paul before he had written this blog, TheBlanque (apparently you are a blank French person.) 🙂

        Paul, this was well written; and very centered. Most, if not all of those senators never meant to keep her from justice; but they voted in a different way. Shame on them.

        I know Democrats who often do the same sort of thing, though, especially if they have a major corporation in their back yard. Whether you agree with John Yarmuth or not, he has supported legislation that would hurt Louisville’s own Humana Corporation whose CEO lives in the same general neighborhood with John. It will hurt him in the next race because Humana will do what it can to get him replaced, not that they didn’t try to keep him from being elected in the first place, but with more money and more vitriol.

        • theblanque permalink
          October 18, 2009 1:23 pm

          Well, “The Blank” was already taken as a handle, and if I’m going to use a pseudonym, it might as well have some flair. 😉

          • Mike permalink
            October 18, 2009 1:34 pm

            Makes sense to me.

    • October 18, 2009 11:29 am

      David Thomson chimes in with this heartfelt plea for compassion:”How do you know ms. Jones is telling the truth? Why should anyone automatically assume she is innocent? Good intentions can sometimes lead to awful results. We also must be concerned that our elected officials do not pass laws that end up victimizing corporate entities.

      Wow! Let me take a deep breath. Dave, Dave, do you have even a clue just how, what is a polite term, COLD and HEARTLESS that makes you sound?

      You seem to have missed the point that it is JUST THAT attitude that may cost these Senators their seats. Why? BECAUSE DECENT AMERICANS find it “a little hard” to swallow this kind of thing, that is why. I am sorry that this has to be explained to you.

      Do you always take after the person who reports a crime by a powerful entity? Is that how you define “Conservative”? Status Quo over Protecting the Innocent?
      Are you actually fine with the idea of a company making employees sign away their rights to see those that commit crimes against them face justice? FOR RAPE??? For Kidknapping?

      Surely you are aware that arbitration can do no more than fire and maybe fine a perpetrator. And they can then fight it in court til the end of time, maybe even declare bankruptcy. Now that surely is a serious punishment for rape and kidnapping; bad credit for 12 years.

      Do you really indentify yourself as Conservative? Do you consider yourself Christian or Jewish or even a Humanist? If so why?

      Let us recap, we have a story about a company (doesn’t matter who) that has its employees sign contracts that waive rights against CRIMINAL acts commited against them. Then when an employee has acredible GANG RAPE and KIDKNAPPING charge they wish to hold her to the letter of the contract instead of wanting to see the perps in jail and their “Coporate honor” whatever that is cleared. Are we agreed on this? And your response is to first attack the victim and then whine about how it is important to protect the moist and naked back of the oh so vulnerable corporation?

      Did I mis-represent anything Mr. Thompson?? Please correct me if I have the wrong impression of your priorities in this matter.

      And Republicans wonder why their party has such a bad reputation from the middle to the left of the spectrum despite their “noble intentions”. Just as the Liberals are suffering for letting the Leftists grab their leadership the Conservatives need to stop letting souless “business Conservatives” and Right Wing demogogues tell them how to vote.

      Join the Heretics Crusade!

      • Mike permalink
        October 18, 2009 11:57 am

        Wow, Head Heretic, why don’t you tell us how you really feel?
        🙂

        Wish I had written that.

      • Paul Cooper permalink
        October 18, 2009 2:33 pm

        Great job Head Heretic. You could have written this blog yourself.

  3. politicalmoxie permalink
    October 18, 2009 9:43 am

    I despise AL Franken, but in this instance…I’m with him. Paul Cooper, author of this article, is ‘so right on’ in all he said about those who voted against this amendment/defense appropriations bill. SHAME on all of you!

    An added question…do all Republican politicians think this grass-roots movement you’re witnessing is only sending a message to the current administration and it’s congressional supporters?

  4. David Thomson permalink
    October 18, 2009 10:27 am

    I am reminded of the false rape charges against the Duke lacrosse players. It always best to take a step back, catch your breath, and make sure that someone isn’t playing you for a fool.

    • Paul Cooper permalink
      October 18, 2009 10:45 am

      David,
      KBR officials have already admitted sexual misconduct in another case – watch the video. These men need their day in court. That’s how we can judge if it is a false rape accusation or not. You don’t leave it to private arbitration. We are all playing the fool and allowing women to be harmed if we don’t stand up for their day in court in cases like this. Why would you not want a criminal court case? That doesn’t make sense.

      • swemson permalink
        October 18, 2009 5:15 pm

        Paul;

        I agree that these men should be subjected to the full criminal penalties that the law calls for. I even doubt that this “arbitration” agreement can legally be used to protect people from prosecution for crimes (felonies) of this magnitude. But I think there may be a question as to whether that was the true intention of the contract language in the first place.

        Looking at the entire issue dispassionately from a legal perspective, as a judge would, I see a few possibly troublesome aspects to this story.

        The first is that Al Franken is involved. Knowing what a liar and a political snake he is, I find it hard to believe that he didn’t originally see this as a chance to attack Halliburton… after all, the company is a symbol to the far left of the entire Bush administration which they hate with such a religious fervor.

        I think that statistics would prove that brutal rapes like this, are very rare in relation to ALL of what we now call sexual abuse in the workplace. We know that innocent common place words and gestures are sometimes interpreted as sexual harassment when they weren’t intended to be, and we also know that we’ve become an overly litigious society in which many people file frivolous lawsuits just to enrich themselves…

        Could the Halliburton contract language have just been a carelessly worded piece of legalese intended to keep the truly minor grievances from boiling over into big lawsuits ?

        I think it’s a possibility at least.

        Certainly there’s still a great deal of the “old boy’s club” mentality in business, and Halliburton may well be a prime example of that… but am I the only one here who feels that the proper forum in which a US Senator or Congressman should deal with a “legal” issue like this is through the judiciary committee?

        Doesn’t the fact that Franken chose to deal with the issue through a “defense appropriations” bill raise any eyebrows here ?

        I think what happened to that young lady is horrible.. just as ALL rape is horrible..

        But seeing Franken as a good guy here, rather than simply the deceitful and crass political opportunist that he is, raises some serious doubts about what the REAL motivation was behind this bill….

        Even a broken clock is right twice a day…… I think we should be a little cautious about ascribing honest or virtuous motives to Franken….

    • theblanque permalink
      October 18, 2009 10:47 am

      Which is all well and good (I try to read the False Rape Society blog daily), but irrelevant; the scandal originates with the senators defending their bottom line over the rights of the individual. Whether she is lying or not will not change that.

  5. October 18, 2009 11:07 am

    It is always nice to see a moderate voice in the sea of partisan rhetoric. This story is a classic example of why I got into politics; too many people on both sides who care for nothing but power and will count themselves righteous if they betray their principals to maintain their grip.

    Two weeks ago [Sen. Al] Franken added an amendment to the defense appropriation bill that passed in the Senate. Franken’s amendment passed to no longer allow government contracts to companies who prevent employees from filing lawsuits against them for sexual harassment or assault. Franken put in this amendment after learning of the case of Jamie Leigh Jones. Jones claims to have been gang-raped in 2005 by employees of KBR – a division of Halliburton – in Iraq. Jones says she was even temporarily locked in a room, so that she would not tell of her rape. Jones has attempted to take the company to court, until they pointed out that she signed a contract of employment that guaranteed such a case must be handled in private arbitration.

    Franken wanted something to be done and his amendment to the bill prohibits”

    Well I guess that proves that Leftists are not like vampires and do not recoil from all acts of good.

    The amendments says:
    “the use of funds 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.”

    Given Halliburton’s track record in using clout to nullify legalities this is probably a good thing beyond the current rape case. I would change the wording to say “regarding criminal claims” however to avoid frivolous diversion of the intent in the future.

    The amendment passed easily 68-30. Ten Republicans voted for it, however 30 Senate Republicans voted against this bill. And quite frankly, that just looks horrible. There is no doubt that any of those Senators who face reelection bids in 2012 or beyond will have this vote thrown back at them. Politico points out that Democratic strategists already believe it will hurt two key battles for Senate seats– Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

    I have to admit, when I saw the headline for this article I figured it would be an attack on FRANKIN for messing up the sacred party’s leaders game plan for a return to power. This is the kind of situation where I am delighted to be wrong!

    Democrats, the Huffington Post, Rachel Maddow, and Jon Stewart are already jumping all over these Senators for this vote. The Republican Senators have explained that their vote comes from the wishes of both the Defense Department and the US Chamber of Commerce. Their concern is focused on too much government control over business operations. Some saw Franken specifically mentioning Halliburton in the amendment as just a way to attack a company that has often been the target of the Left.”

    Frankinly I think that maybe the party would be better off without these buffoons. The Defense department and the Chamber of Commerce asked SENATORS to please look the other way regarding CRIMINAL activity being condoned (there is no other word, arbitration cannot send the rapists to prison no matter what “compensation” is involved. As such it is simply NOT acceptable to the American concept of Justice”) by a major contractor. Oh, one that just happens to have extremely inappropriate relations with the VP. And the Senators said, NO PROBLEMO. Does it take the Huffington Post to give real Conservatives a clue that this is not a good thing for the party?

    Even if you give apologists for Halliburton the benefit of the doubt there is STILL way too much impropriety in the Governments relations with this entity.

    Corporate entities do not have souls installed and to a company like Halliburton having one would be a positive detriment to their cash flow. Benefits of the doubt are not for such “persons”.

    All that aside, this was just a bad vote. Those Republicans could have easily voiced their concern over the wording and still voted for it. When it all comes down to it, they appear to be voting against protecting an innocent woman from defending herself against gang rape.”

    No, they do not appear to be, they ARE. They voted to allow a “Cherished” corporate entity to ball up U.S. criminal Law and throw it in the trashcan. All for the cause of what? Defending and protecting the Constitution? Defending and protecting the rights of citizens?

    Now I wholeheartedly believe that all 30 of those Senators think rape victims should get justice. However, their hearts simply do not show in their votes.

    I would like to agree but I can’t. American history is too full of examples of people calling themselves “Conservative” who are really Right Wing enforcing all sorts of injustice with a clear conscience. Off the top of my head: Slavery, Black Voting, Women’s Voting, child labor by poor kids, “separate but equal”, the ability for gays to even be allowed t live un-molested. In each of these Right Wing elements in the so called Conservative leadership dug in their heels for injustice and fought to the end. Some still fight ALL of the above battles today!

    I have no problem with arbitration in many cases in business – but when it comes to a criminal act like rape – that needs to go to court. And I do not think it is wrong for the government to say they won’t do business with a company that is not allowing rape victims to take their case to court.

    I wish that Mr. Cooper would be only the first of a wave of Conservative indignation at this vote. I always thought that closing ranks around evil to maintain power was a tactic more suited to Nazis, Communists, Mafioso and Islamists not American “Conservatives”.

    This whole amendment battle reeks of the problem of power in politics. I believe if you put politics aside, all 30 of those Senators would have voted differently. And that’s what makes this whole thing sad.

    Not sad, pathetic, but normal politics for far too many on the Left and Right.

    “They would do well to remember the words of Jesus:

    “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26”

    I like it when a Conservative uses a Bible quote the way the Founding Fathers did. As a shortcut to communication as opposed to using it as a kind of lodge password to divide people into Us Saved and You Other People. This quote is one that sepaks to all who have a Western Mindset.

    Jones deserves justice. And regardless of Franken’s previous ill feelings toward Halliburton, this amendment had enough merits to pass. I hope the 30 Senators will apologize for letting politics trump common sense. If they don’t, their careers may end up being the only joke here.

    Kudos to Mr. Cooper! Too bad the Republican atmosphere is so partisan that he felt the need to qualify about Halliburton. Don’t dance around, put your foot down where you mean it and stay firm against corruption of ideals.

    On with the Heretics Crusade!

  6. David Thomson permalink
    October 18, 2009 11:07 am

    “Why would you not want a criminal court case?”

    Nobody is talking about a criminal proceeding! This rape accuser wants her day in a civil court—which demands a lower threshold of evidence to get a juicy financial award. She originally signed a contract limiting her rights to private arbitration. They young lady should live up to her agreement. Why should we allow this exception?

    • October 18, 2009 11:47 am

      Dave, you just don’t know when to give up do you? Do you seriously think that when she signed that contract she expected to be gang raped and kidnapped by OTHER EMPLOYEES??

      Get real.

      And you still do not address the basic concept of the corp. making her sign such a thing. It is legal until legislation makes it otherwise but why should the U.S. government endorse the practice with contracts?

      So what if she sues them into the ground? Who with any justice in their heart cares? The basic facts are not in dispute. This company is failing to GIVE A DAMN about systematic criminality in their organization. Involving violent sex crime I might remind you. What is their response? Suppress the victim and hold her to the letter of an insidious clause.

      The moment the company did not hang out to dry ALL involved in the crime and the kidnapping they embraced the idea that individual suffering was of less concern than reputation. They felt that having violent criminals running rampant in positions of power was just cool as long as they got their contracts.

      I advise you dump your Halliburton stock Dave.

      • Mike permalink
        October 18, 2009 12:04 pm

        By the way, Head Heretic, I don’t see anything heretical about what you say. How could you possibly be the HEAD Heretic?

        • October 18, 2009 4:27 pm

          Mike, thanks for your kind comments.
          I am only the HEAD Heretic over at Heretics Crusade. Elsewhere I think I am probably thought of more as “that Damn Heretic”.

          And as to heresy. The Heretic part is simply accepting the label put on ALL who have questions that cut to the bone of hypocrisy by those who do not want the questions asked.

          I believe we should always question, questin, question. Until we understand, THEN act. But to question is not to arbitrarily reject (the partisan definition) it is simply to seek to understand.

          The Crusade part is just what it says. I am on a quest to defend the Western “holy land” from barbarians with no civilisation of their own and reclaim as much of what has been stolen as possible.

          Heretics Crusade is the bastard stepchild of Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Clemens wetnursed by Robert Heinlein, George Orwell and Richard Bach – An unashamed Western patriot not afraid to admit we are flawed but demanding to know who is better.

    • theblanque permalink
      October 18, 2009 1:13 pm

      *Sigh* Dave, Dave….you’re not thinking about this clearly.

      Whether or not Ms. Jones is telling the truth about being raped is irrelevant to the scandal at hand. Yes, I understand your point: we have no way of knowing if she’s telling the truth or not, and it’s wrong to assume that she is before the facts of the case are made clear.

      But people will assume that she’s a victim before the facts are made clear–that is simply the way things are. And because people will assume that she’s a victim, they will see this as a David vs. Goliath situation–the poor individual pitted against the powerful corporation; and we all know where the public’s sympathies will fall.

      Al Franken’s amendment was a trap–a simple trap, but a trap nonetheless–and thirty Republican Senators walked right into it, which was the point Mr. Cooper was trying to get at. To echo Mr. Samwell above, the GOP likes to talk about Christian values, but not emulate them–which is more the pity, because there is one Christian value that even the most jaded politician should emulate–“Be as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves”.

    • Paul Cooper permalink
      October 18, 2009 2:43 pm

      David,
      You are so wrong on this issue. Mrs. Jones already has gone forward with a civil case (good for her) – but she deserves the right to take this to criminal court. That is what this issue is all about – the criminal court issue.

      Listen, I’m a conservative and a Republican. But I also have a brain and a soul. You don’t just put those aside because 30 out of 40 Republican Senators put theirs aside.

  7. politicalmoxie permalink
    October 18, 2009 11:58 am

    At Head Heretic…

    Thank you so much for the lecture…next time shorten you message. We are all entitled to our opinion, but I thought comment meant ‘a briefly expressed opinion’. Contact Mr. Swindle or Mr. H if you want access to a soap box on News Real. If I had the time, I would count the words in you “comment”.
    I end with this question…do those of us who form our opinions from a cross section of news sources, recognize the verbiage and cadence in you diatribe? I’ll bet my Yorkie PiPi on it?

    • October 18, 2009 4:41 pm

      I did make briefly expressed opinions. Is it my fault that there were more than one item in the piece that I had to comment on?

      I suppose I could try to make the hall monitor of your soul happy and post each idea in the article and it’s comment seperately. But would that not be longer than the whole thing strung together?

      Does it cause you pain to have to scroll a few inches more to ignore what I say? You might look into treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

      As to that last bit. I am not sure what you mean but I THINK you are accusing me of being someone from an established news source. Far from it the Heretic Crusader is a new light in the firmament.

      I guess I should be flattered that you feel my work is of that caliber even if you are likely confusing me with some Leftist ranter.

      Oh, and I would love it if Mr.’s S and H were kind enough to give me a regular space in any of their group of sites. I won’t ask anyone for it though. If I am good enough and my ideas are appealing to enough people someone will offer it to me in good time.

      • politicalmoxie permalink
        October 18, 2009 5:48 pm

        Not everyone within the “news” business deserves admiration for their work. You read too much into my comments with respect to my opinion.
        PS I don’t cavalierly bet PiPi…for example, there’s a very good chance Bill Ayers wrote most of “Dreams From My Father”… You can hid behind short bursts of words…remember this the next time you start looking for a podium to give a lecture.

  8. politicalmoxie permalink
    October 18, 2009 12:05 pm

    At Head Heretic

    OMG…You came back and you left investment advice.

    I feel compelled to add, News Real walks an independant news platform. Come back and see us now, you hear.

  9. politicalmoxie permalink
    October 18, 2009 12:07 pm

    oops…INDEPENDENT!

  10. Riven permalink
    October 18, 2009 12:09 pm

    Just a side note, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) was involved with the DC Madam case. He is also one of the holier than thou people in the party. The Christens in the party also need to deal with the hypocrisy of their own members. Don’t pretend to have better morals and that you are better than the rest of us and then go out over and over again and prove you are worse than the rest of us.

    • Paul Cooper permalink
      October 18, 2009 2:47 pm

      Riven,
      I wrote about this issue recently in my blog on “The Family” on C Street.
      http://newsrealblog.com/2009/10/04/newsreal-sunday-maddow-right-to-call-out-c-street-cover-ups/

  11. David Thomson permalink
    October 18, 2009 1:12 pm

    We cannot allow ourselves to surrender to undisciplined emotion. Justice must be blind and dispassionate. There is no chance of a viable criminal proceeding. That horse left the barn a long time ago. A civil case could only deal with the culpability of the company in not keeping an employee reasonably free from harm. This issue can readily be resolved by private arbitration—something she agreed to at the time of hire.

    • theblanque permalink
      October 18, 2009 1:18 pm

      Dave, this isn’t about justice–it’s about politics!

      If there’s one lesson this past year and a half should have taught us all about politics–it is anything but blind and dispassionate.

  12. David Thomson permalink
    October 18, 2009 1:33 pm

    “Dave, this isn’t about justice–it’s about politics!”

    Exactly. The leftist community is hoping that the general public hears about a so-called evil corporation vs. an alleged rape victim and doesn’t bother to think beyond that. Jamie Leigh Jones is also quite attractive, and this makes it easier to get a sympathetic audience. We must also never forget that a corporate entity has rights!

    • theblanque permalink
      October 18, 2009 1:52 pm

      Exactly. The leftist community is hoping that the general public hears about a so-called evil corporation vs. an alleged rape victim and doesn’t bother to think beyond that.

      And they will think that way–voting against the amendment will not change that.

      • David Thomson permalink
        October 18, 2009 2:40 pm

        We should do the right thing—and let the cards fall where they may. Capitulating to tear jerking blackmailers will only encourage future abuses. In the long run, we are better served by adhering to positions arrived at by calm and dispassionate reasoning.

        • theblanque permalink
          October 18, 2009 7:03 pm

          We should do the right thing.

          And so should have the thirty Republican Senators–they should have refused to march into a trap.

  13. Julie Trevor permalink
    October 18, 2009 1:41 pm

    “Their concern is focused on too much government control over business operations”
    While I agree justice is deserved and has been delayed; with an every increasing arm of control via Federal money and the strings attached – has the gov response been any better?

  14. AuntWie permalink
    October 18, 2009 11:20 pm

    Where have all the conservative commentators been on this issue? Once again the Republicans are voting their financial ties and not their conservative values, and so they are worse than useless.

    I can’t stand Al Franken, and I doubt I’ll ever agree with him on anything again. Ever. But he’s right and Halliburton is wrong. Every one of those Senators needs to be voted out of office and replaced by a conservative who knows what evil is and how to vote against it.

    The Republican Party is nearly as disgusting as the current administration.

    • politicalmoxie permalink
      October 19, 2009 1:37 am

      Well said AuntWie…

  15. Mike permalink
    October 18, 2009 11:44 pm

    Aunt Wie, I love Al Franken and think he is a great American AND a good comedian. HOWEVER, I agree with you about voting out Republicans (and also Democrats) who vote against their basic values for political reasons. This is why we need to get the money out of the political process so that these guys and gals don’t sell their souls to get elected and reelected.

  16. Robert permalink
    October 19, 2009 1:15 am

    Since when can private companies enforce arbitration when a crime has been committed? Was she violated by individuals, or by the company itself? Why did she even pursue the company, and not charge individuals? I think they bluffed her and she fell for it.

  17. Kevroc permalink
    October 19, 2009 4:04 am

    I just spoke to Tawana Brawley, she thinks this woman is full of it.

  18. macko permalink
    October 19, 2009 8:31 am

    Shouldn’t she be protected under maritime law from the moment she leaves US soil until she returns ?

    • swemson permalink
      October 19, 2009 10:30 am

      Maritime law doesn’t apply to what happens to someone on land…

  19. Joseph White permalink
    October 19, 2009 11:27 am

    In my opinion, arbitration is okay for things such as “You aren’t paying me enough,” “I don’t want to go work in Iraq,” “I don’t want to handle caustic materials,” or even, “You’re breaking the law and you can’t fire me for blowing the whistle.” But it is not in any way, a good way to handle felonies.

    Rape is a felony and while I don’t like the way Franken went after KBR, I think the bill is a good idea and felonies should be handled by the federal court system and Mrs. Jones should have her day in court.

    Mark this day, because this is probably the last time I’ll ever agree with Mr. Franken.

    • swemson permalink
      October 19, 2009 11:48 am

      Joe;

      You’re right, but, as I said above;

      Doesn’t the fact that Franken chose to deal with the issue through a “defense appropriations” bill , rather than a judiciary proceeding, make his real motives questionable ?

      Horrible crimes like this can happen anywhere, and many companies have arbitration language in employee contracts because our legal system is so dreadfully out of control…

      I think this was a brilliantly conceived and executed assault on republican senators by the democrat’s political dirty tricks machine..

      Isn’t it curious, that a far left hate monger like Franken should happen to get involved in a case involving HALLIBURTON?

  20. macko permalink
    October 19, 2009 12:16 pm

    If this could be addressed in a venue other than government contracts those that that voted against this bill should jump on it.

    • swemson permalink
      October 19, 2009 1:12 pm

      They would have, but they can’t because of the democratic party’s supermajority…

      They control the agenda completely, and they’re masterfully wielding that power to their political advantage wherever they can…

      Republican tried to reign in Fanny and Freddie in 2005, but the dems blocked their bill from ever coming to a vote…

  21. macko permalink
    October 19, 2009 2:23 pm

    didn’t the dems gain majority in ’06 ?

    • swemson permalink
      October 19, 2009 2:55 pm

      The bill was first introduced in 2005, but was cleared from the books at the end of that session.. It was re-introduced in 2006 at which time McCain signed on as a co-sponsor,

      McCain addressed the Senate on May 26th, 2006 in support of this bill. The exact text of his address follows:

      “Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

      The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.

      The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.

      For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

      I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

      I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation.”

      Approximately one year later the bill died in Congress, when the Democratic Majority, led by Barney Frank, the new Chairman of the House Banking Committee, blocked it from ever coming up for a vote !!!

  22. October 19, 2009 5:23 pm

    Lemme get this straight: the Left, Franken included, were against putting Saddam’s rape-rooms out of business, but now they’re accusing those who did that job of being pro-rape?

    There are a number of further points to be made here:

    1) The arbitration contract doesn’t preclude criminal charges, nor civil suit against the rapists.

    2) The arbitration contract doesn’t preclude legal action against the rape victim’s employer, it just requires that it be settled via arbitration instead of civil court. Trying to get the case moved from arbitration to civil court smacks of venue-shopping in the attempt to use partisan public opinion against Halliburton to get an outcome the plaintiff can’t get via criminal court or arbitration.

    3) Suing the employer for rape committed by some of its employees is a bit like suing the condom maker if the rapists used condoms. Unless the employer can be proven complicit in the crime, it’s not responsible for them.

    BTW, the next time parolees commit crimes thanks to soft-on-crime laws passed by Franken and his ilk, do we get to sue them?

    4) Weakening arbitration for employment disputes will increase unemployment by raising the cost of such disputes.

  23. Rhodi permalink
    October 19, 2009 11:52 pm

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned this–it’s late and I’m not going to read ALL of the blogs so far. But one thought–How is a “company” responsible for a woman’s rape? It’s a company–a company cannot gang rape anyone–individual’s do that. So why didn’t she bring each of these individual’s to justice, and instead, go after a company? Unless gang rape is a company policy, I’m not sure how it is responsible.

    If I was in her situation–I’d go to the authorities; who gives a crap about the company. They’re not the law.

    Tim: You posted your thoughts right before me–I couldn’t agree more.

    • Paul Cooper permalink
      October 22, 2009 6:17 am

      Tim and Rhodi,

      It is clear you both aren’t familiar enough with this case from the comments you make. After Jones’ rape, KBR detained her against her will so that she could not report her crime. The company also removed pictures from her rape kit -which makes her case difficult for any criminal case. Also, she has attempted to bring the one man she knows for a fact was involved – she can’t bring the rest of the men to trial because she had been drugged and never saw the other men that raped her. KBR has done nothing to help her figure out who these other men are. With all of these facts, it is ridiculous to not support her case against KBR. If she were your daughter/wife you would not write what you did. You would not want arbitration – you would want justice. Those 30 senators better hope they get a chance to change their vote or many of them will rightly lose their next election – hopefully it will be in the primary and not the general.

      • David Thomson permalink
        October 22, 2009 11:50 am

        “After Jones’ rape, KBR detained her against her will so that she could not report her crime.”

        How do you know that this is true? Were you there? You seem far to quick to trust this young lady’s interpretation of events. This is utterly illogical. Only an actual witness has the right to be so adamant.

        • Paul Cooper permalink
          October 22, 2009 10:32 pm

          Oh my. The point is – she has a case against them and that needs to be looked at in court – I’m not a judge or jury here. I’m simply saying she has a reason to take the company to court. Follow the conversation.

  24. October 22, 2009 11:29 am

    I’m rather persuaded by this balanced account of the facts:

    http://overlawyered.com/2007/12/halliburton-gang-rape-and-fear-of-arbitration-the-jamie-leigh-jones-case/

    I’m not persuaded that Jones’ unsupported word is to be taken at face value on everything; evidently the EEOC didn’t buy all her claims, either. I do think some of her claims have merit, and that she does have a case against her former employer. I see no reason why her claim must be pursued in civil court instead of arbitration, contrary to her contract.

    There’s no contradiction between arbitration and justice, especially when comparing arbitration to civil court.

  25. October 23, 2009 3:40 pm

    To have a case against one’s employer is not enough in itself to get a change of venue for the case from arbitration to civil court. No such showing has been made, just a lot of groundless prejudicial anti-arbitration bias.

    • Paul Cooper permalink
      October 24, 2009 3:54 pm

      When it comes to rape and kidnap – it is ludicrous to think arbitration is a legitimate way to handle the case. If she were your wife or daughter there is no way you would make your argument. And that is why some of these Repub. Senators will be destroyed with this one.

  26. October 24, 2009 10:06 pm

    Calling something “ludicrous” is not an argument. You’ve yet to explain why civil court is preferable to arbitration for this.

    As for how I’d feel if the plaintiff was my relative, I wouldn’t want to sue the bastards who did it, I’d want to kill them myself. But everyone has a conflict of interest when it comes to their own case, which is why we have neutral third parties to settle such disputes. Your repeated appeals to a hypothetical conflict of interest are fallacious.

    All this subject really proves is that all too many conservatives are too gullible when it comes to cheap theatrical appeals to emotion by Lefty-loonies like Franken.

  27. Joseph White permalink
    October 25, 2009 6:45 am

    Why are we discussing rape, like it’s a civil act? Rape is a felony act, and as such, falls under the criminal court. If a company held her hostage, that’s adding kidnapping to the charges, which is also a felony. You can’t arbitrate away two felonies like they are company squabbles.

    Rape and Kidnapping belong in the criminal court, and the men who raped her should be put in prison, and she deserves the right to face her accusers in a court of law. This is one of her rights as an american citizen.

  28. David Thomson permalink
    October 25, 2009 2:14 pm

    “Why are we discussing rape, like it’s a civil act?”

    There is no reasonable possibility for a criminal trial of these rape allegations. That horse left the barn a long time ago.
    This is purely a civil matter! Even Jamie Leigh Jones acknowledges that fact. The only question is whether the company provided adequate security.

    “…and she deserves the right to face her accusers in a court of law. This is one of her rights as an american citizen.”

    You have that completely backwards. It is the criminal defendant that has the right to face their accuser in a court of law. The young lady would be the accuser.

  29. October 25, 2009 2:33 pm

    1) She doesn’t have enough evidence for a criminal case.
    2) Victims have no right to prosecute, only prosecutors have that right.
    3) She’s clearly hoping that changing the venue from the arbitration she agreed to in her contract to civil court will threaten to embarass the defendant enough to increase the likelihood of her getting a bigger settlement. That’s a cheap trial lawyer’s trick, not justice.

    • Paul Cooper permalink
      October 26, 2009 2:11 pm

      Tim,
      You should be ashamed of yourself for continuing to believe the worst about a possible victim’s motives. It tells me a lot about you that you continue to make such comments. It’s shameful.

  30. October 26, 2009 2:27 pm

    Still no argument for why arbitration’s better than civil court, I see. Just ad hominem attacks on me.

    • Paul Cooper permalink
      October 26, 2009 8:06 pm

      Tim,
      I have not attacked you. What are you talking about?
      You must explain why arbitration is better for a criminal trial of this nature. This is America – the courts are where we go to get justice for crimes – especially ones as vicious as rape and kidnapping. Are you so blind to big business interests that you have given up on the rights of the individual?

      • swemson permalink
        October 26, 2009 8:16 pm

        Paul;

        I respectfully suggest that the only way to deal with a troll like this is to ignore him…

        Every time you respond to his asinine comments you encourage him to keep going ! …

  31. October 26, 2009 2:28 pm

    Still no argument for why civil court’s better than arbitration, I see. Just ad hominem attacks on me.

  32. Tim Starr permalink
    October 27, 2009 1:02 am

    How is saying I should be ashamed of myself not an attack?

    There is no criminal case here, because the evidence is lacking. The only alternatives are civil suit, or arbitration. Civil suits are about monetary damages, either compensatory or punitive. Such damages can also be awarded in arbitration.

    • swemson permalink
      October 27, 2009 1:56 am

      If you had a conscience and you read what you wrote, you’d understand !

      Whoops… I ignored my own advice 🙂

    • November 3, 2009 5:29 am

      How can you say that arbitration can provide justice if the arbitrator is paid by KBR?

  33. November 3, 2009 11:31 am

    The arbiter’s costs are paid by the employer regardless of his decision. If that were not the case, then the arbiter would never find in the employee’s favor, but that happens in a good deal of cases. Also, we don’t know how many cases are settled prior to going to arbitration; that would never happen if arbitration always went in the employer’s favor. Furthermore, if an employer had the reputation of having arbiters in its pockets, no one would want to work for that employer.

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