Friday, December 04, 2009

Senator Thune: Stay in your lane buddy

What's up with Senator John Thune?
"I don’t know what his [Franken's] motivation was for taking us on, but I would hope that we won’t see a lot of Daily Kos-inspired amendments in the future coming from him," said South Dakota Sen. John Thune, No. 4 in the Senate Republican leadership. "I think hopefully he’ll settle down and do kind of the serious work of legislating that’s important to Minnesota."
I'll re-state some comments I made nearly a month ago on the "anti rape" amendment.

Senator Franken didn't propose this legislation to "be the poster boy for a hard hitting campaign against the Republican Party".

He proposed it because it was the right thing to do.

So, instead of going after Senator Franken, maybe we should spend more time figuring out why 30 Republican Senators thought that the individuals that raped Jamie Leigh Jones needed protection.

Being an advocate on an issue like this DOES build the base. Being an advocate on an issue like this IS important to Minnesota. It should be important to folks in South Dakota too Senator Thune.

Rape is about power. In this case, KBR employees slipped a date rape drug into Jamie Leigh Jones drink and gang raped her while she was unconscious.

After Jones reported the criminal act committed against her, KBR armed guards placed her in a metal shipping container and denied her access to food, water and medical treatment.

Anyone reading this ever actually been in a metal shipping container? We spend hours loading these things while I was stationed at Fort Hood Texas. Imagine how hot this sealed shipping container could get on a July 2005 day in Iraq.

And yet, 30 United States Senators sought fit that KBR and other defense contractors were the ones needing protection and not people like Jamie Leigh Jones.

Obviously I'm not the only one who sees the absurdity in that.

So, my question to Senator Thune is this.

If your daughters Brittany and Larissa were raped by a defense contractor in Iraq, would it still be a bad idea to seek justice?

Would you still feel that this was a "kos inspired amendment"?


eric zaetsch said...

I think you have to go beyond the immediate situation, and take a long look at Jefferson's term in the Declaration, "inalienable rights."

That means you cannot contract them away. Indentured servitude and slavery are now unconstitutional.

Surely you can contract to waive or submit money disputes to arbitration.

But can any American citizen and an American corporation validly in both a moral and and lawful context, contract away rights regarding an interpersonal assault between corporate employees?

That is one thing that Franken should seek also, that as a matter of federal law, any such claimed waiver in advance by contract of a right to pursue a sexual harassment or other criminal claim against a co-employee would be void as a matter of public policy.

Then, also put the additional contracting-bar penalty upon any defense contractor, or other contractor with the government, say a highway rebar or concrete firm, or Lockheed, that there be a contract moritorium - with exceptions for irreplaceable services, fleet or weapons system maintenance to assure troop safety - but few if any others.

But the basic idea of contracting away - in advance and in anticipation of extreme assault - one's bodily integrity is not only repugnant in a normal moral sense, but constitutionally repubnant and should be void as a matter of public policy, or so I would argue.

Hal, you are more versed on the situation than I am, what vital interest do the opponents contend is at stake if the things Franken is advancing were to be enacted?

I can see no such thing. The slippery slope thinking, that ultimately contractor and troop conduct might be subject to review by an international human rights court, that's probably a dark recesses of the mind worry these folks harbor; but I think that's wrong also. I think international accountability might have quelled the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-CIA torture behavior. That's NOT what we should be about as a nation, and as one nation among many having to coexist on the planet.

Ed Kohler said...

It's amazing how a slam-dunk issue (protect people from being gang-raped on the job) has turned into a divisive issue. Strategically, how could the people opposing the bill at the time not see how that would shake out over time?

Blabberman said...

She's lucky to still be alive. I'll bet that the real plan was to disappear her - that is, to kill her & dispose of the body. They just had cold feet & couldn't find anyone to do the deed before word got out. No thoughtful person could ever acceept what happened here. If the GOP really defends this, they should lose every seat they have.