Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Women: Not a high priority for Wyoming Senators

In July of 2005, a 19 year old woman from Texas, accepted a job with employer KBR, which employed her to work in Iraq. As a matter of employee policy, KBR, which was then a subsidiary of Halliburton, made her sign a contract that would force her into binding arbitration if she were to become unhappy with her employment. In other words, she would have no recourse to sue the company if something happened to her in the course of being employed by them.
When she arrived in Iraq, she was housed in a barracks with 400 men and a few other female employees. The sexual harrassment began almost immediately and was reported to her supervisor. She asked for safer housing for the women. That was denied. When she had been there only 4 days, she was drugged, gang raped and sodomized by male employees. She requested a doctor's examination, which she got, and the resulting rape kit was turned over to the company. She was then locked into a carge container guarded by armed guards, and has held incognito against her will. She was able to persuade one of them to lend her his cell phone, she called her father, and with the help of Ted Poe, a Texas Republican congressman, her father finally got her back to the U.S. The contents of the rape kit were somehow "lost" by KBR. When she tried to file suit against the company and bring her rapists to justice, she was told that her signature on the employer-employee agreement would not allow that. Can you put yourself in her place and imagine how she must have felt? Gand-raped and sodomized, and no place to turn for help? This brave young woman went public with what had happened to her while in the employ of a government funded contractor.
A few weeks ago, the 5th Circuit Court, which has jurisdiction in the states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, finally ruled that a person's rights cannot be signed away in the case of assault and battery, infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and negligent hiring, retention and supervision. Her suit will now be allowed to move forward.
On October 6, 2009, Senator Al Franken proposed an amendment that would block federal funding for defense contractors that force their employees into binding arbitration in cases of assualt. The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 68 to 30. His hope is to bring the federal government in line with the 5th Circuit Court ruling and protect all employees from signing away their rights.
You might ask, who would vote against such a noble amendment? The 30 Senators who voted against the amendment were Republicans. When I read the list and found the names of both Wyoming Senators on it, I was livid! I immediately emailed Senator Mike Enzi and Senator John Barrasso to ask them to explain to me how a senator from the State of Wyoming, (the Equality State) could justify voting against the amendment. I know at least one of them has daughters of his own and I can't believe he would not want to protect them from this blatant exploitation. As a female resident of the state they represent, I will do my best to let every female citizen of Wyoming know how little their elected officials care about their rights and safety on the job. I have not received a reply from either of them yet, but I will post them when (and if) they arrive. There is no room for sexual harrassment, rape, sodomy, or false imprisonment in the workplace. They are supposed to be safe and secure environments, and certainly shouldn't be funded by taxpayer money. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso should be ashamed for not thinking that workplace security and safety are important enough to withhold government payment from those contractors who violate the rights of their employees. I wonder how they would have reacted if a female member of their own family had been treated this way? I have no respect for either one of them after this disgusting vote. The working women and all female citizens of the State of Wyoming deserve better than that! I am ashamed to think that the people of Wyoming elected them and have expressed this opinion to both of them. Surely we can do better than them!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Afghanistan costs American taxpayers $180,000,000 a day!

Yes, that is what we American taxpayers are putting out to run the war in Afghanistan for ONE day. That's five billion, four hundred million a MONTH, sixty-five billion, seven hundred million a YEAR. That does not take into account the war in Iraq, or the costs of having our military at over 800 bases across the world, or for that matter, does not include any costs of our navy, or the cost of our torture camp and prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. It also leaves out what we are paying to Pakistan to fight Al-Queda and the Taliban, and to Israel as military aid so they can antagonise and occupy the Palestinians. It comes no where close to what the Pentagon spends each year, supposedly for our defense.
Now, do you finally understand why American citizens have no public healthcare option other than Medicare? Do you finally understand why the national infrastructure has been neglected for so long? Do you finally understand why there are no plans to put unemployed American citizens back to work? Do you finally understand why our public education system is racing toward not only mediocrity, but also complete failure? Do you finally understand why Wall Street has all the money while main street has none? Do you finally understand why our politicians have no inclination to worry about common everyday people? Do you finally understand that our country has become THE major exporter of military hardware to the world? Unfortunately we have become the kind of country we accuse the rest of the world of being. We export only death and destruction in the name of peace.
My question to you, my fellow taxpayer is this. Are you happy with the way your hard earned tax money is being spent? Would you rather see it spent on something that will benefit people? You know who to call! I would rather my money be spent to help people live healthy, happy lives. I know who to call! Do you think they will listen before we totally collapse as a viable country? Who knows! Let's at least try.

Friday, October 9, 2009

What an incentive...the Nobel Peace Prize!

The Nobel Peace Prize pointed out to the world what we Americans should have always known. When they awarded their Peace Prize to our President Barack Obama, they were giving Americans an honor through their president. I know the opposition party doesn't feel that way, they are already spewing their rancid garbage talk all over the place. They haven't realized yet, that not only does the average citizen repudiate their awful rhetoric, but the rest of the world does too. The world community recognizes just what a hopeful, peaceful thing American citizenry did when we voted to elect President Barack Obama. He was, and hopefully will continue to be, the antithesis of what we have been governed by for the past eight years. The Nobel Peace Prize Committee has given us just the nudge we need to push our President in the direction of peace and global understanding. We are, after all, citizens of the same planet. We have been given a gift from them to give us the courage to put aside disagreements and work to leave a more peaceful, healthier planet for our grand and great-grand children. Silly us, we thought that all we had to do was vote and everything would magically change. We forgot that our President is only one man, he needs all of us to push not only him, but all the members of Congress, our elected officials towards the goals we want fulfilled! We forgot that the opposition party would muddy the political waters every chance they got, We forgot that the corporations were not going to give up their selfish ways without a whole lot of pushback from the citizenry. We forgot that cable news is not in pursuit of the truth, but rather in ratings and monetary gain. We forgot that to have a better future, we have to invest in the understanding between peoples, not only in our neighborhoods, but also all over the world. We forgot that politicians, even in our own Democratic Party, have gotten lackadaisical about their role in government, paying more attention to lobbyists than their constituents. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the gist of where I'm going here.
People, we have won the Nobel Peace Prize! It's time to pull out all the stops and inform the rest of the world that we are going to mobilize and push our government to stop the wars we are currently engaged in. It's also time to push our government to take care of the people in our own country and quit sticking their noses into every other countrie's business. It's way past time to let the opposition party know that it's time to get with the program or get the hell out of our way. It's time for our government to promote full employment for it's citizens at a decent living wage. It's time to quit making the world a hostile environment and work to make it a better place for all living things. Enough with bombs and military armament, let's push our government to promote something that will help the people live better lives.
Thank you .

Thursday, October 8, 2009

There has to be a better way, America!

In the fictional account of our United States of America, we are the land of the free, home of the brave, liberty rings, flags wave, elections are held for representatives of the people, by the people, for the people, free speech reigns, and any child can aspire to be the best he or she can be. There lies the fiction. The reality has become very much different.
At the moment, and for many years indeed, our country has become one run by the rich, for the rich. The majority of the population exists only to work to fill the coffers of the corporations, or die to further the aims of the government. In between birth and death, we are occasionally urged to vote for representatives who make all major decisions for us, you know what I mean, of the people, by the people, and FOR the people. Once they are elected, they promptly begin to change their obligation to serve the people to filling their pockets and those of the corporations, screwing the common citizen without so much as a kiss. They become so far removed from the concerns of common folks, that they can no longer hear our concerns. Healthcare? They have it and could care less about the 45,000 citizens who die every year because they cannot afford it. Jobs? They lied their way into their position and no longer remember what it means to work to keep the wolf from the door. When 9.8 percent of the total population is unemployed, it's no skin off their asses, we pay them! We have wars, started by our country, in at least two countries, spending billions and billions of dollars on killing their people and ours. Not a penny to spare for the unemployed and uninsured! Wall Street gambles away the money of investors with gimmicks almost to the point of ruin to the domestic and world economies, and what does our government do? It rewards them with bailouts, courtesy of the taxpayer. A citizen who has worked all of his or her life to own a home, suddenly becomes ill and loses everything due to medical bills. Who cares? Not a penny to help. That is the real story of our United States of America, we are on our own.
If every working citizen quit paying income tax, it might get their attention. Something has to, there has to a better way to run a country than this. There is no excuse for all the horrible representatives we have elected who have led us to ruin. We should fire them all. Let them find out how it really is in these United States of America. A great nation? Hardly!