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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 04:55 PM
Original message
GOP backing sweatshops, prostitution, forced abortions
Edited on Wed May-10-06 05:50 PM by sarahlee
Apologies if you all have covered this here, but due to a lot of personal issues and spring planting time, I've had a LOT less time to hang out at DU.

There is a guy at Daily Kos, who goes by the handle, dengre. The other day, I caught his diary, "Jack Abramoff explains how the GOP protected sweatshops" and he had a follow up yesterday called, "Ney's Aide Cops Plea = BIG trouble for the GOP" which actually dealt with some of the ties revealed in some of the Abramoff Team plea bargins which relate to the sweatshops.

A quote from the first diary:
Earlier today, David Swanson posted a Diary, J. Jill, Ann Taylor, Liz Claiborne: Made By Slaves, Backed by Congress, that highlighted current conditions on CNMI as reported by Rebecca Clarren for Ms. Magazine. She recently traveled to CNMI and met with the sweatshop workers, sex workers and other victims of Abramoff's work to protect the sweatshops and keep the abuse going. As of now the full article is only available in print, but I would recommend purchasing a copy of Ms. to read the report. Excerpts are also available at AlterNet.

I mention the article because it helps to keep these crimes in mind as one reads Jack Abramoff's pitch letter. In it, he brags about stopping all efforts to extend justice to CNMI. Of course being a Luntz-trained member of the GOP, Jack has new "language" that has been tested for RW dog whistle frequency. Phrases like "Federal Takeover" mean extending US labor, immigration and custom laws to the US Territory. There are more clever phrases, so take them for what they are: they are words Jack choose to describe his work and "victories" on CNMI.

This letter is not online, so I have typed in most of the first three pages. I think it is important to read Jack Abramoff's own words, when he was at the top of his game and freely bragging about his work and connections.

A quote from yesterday's diary:
One of the big scandals waiting in the wings is how Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay and the GOP worked to protect defend sweatshops, forced labor, forced prostitution, forced abortions and human trafficking on the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) a US Territory in the Pacific.

I have been following these crimes since 1998 and recently somebody sent me copies of some documents related to Abramoff's work on behalf of the Hong Kong-based sweatshop owners of CNMI.

Over the weekend I used one of those documents to highlight the history of Jack's "victories" on behalf of his Chinese patrons. The Diary, Jack Abramoff explains how the GOP protected sweatshops, used his own words (from a pitch letter he sent in January 2001 to get CNMI to hire his new lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig) to lay out the crimes he committed with DeLay and many others in the GOP.

Based on the plea agreements to date, The Public Integrity Section of the US DOJ has the same documents I have (and much, much more). That spells real trouble for the GOP and for far more Republicans than just "Representative #1" or "Representative #2". When the dust settles we may be up to "Representative #29", plus a good number of lobbyist, Congressional Aides, Administration officials, GOP think tank members (Bye Grover) and PR flacks (so long Ralph).

dengre does a great job illustrating how these corporate feudalists really don't have any family values, (like we didn't know) and are fine with prostitution, sweatshops and forced abortions so long as it helps keep the dollars flowing to them and their cronies.

I think it would be a good idea to start planting seeds about this in Letters to the Editor in papers across the country. The more reasonable of the GOP's Christian Right base would have to have a lot of trouble with this.

Again, if this has been covered on DU, I am sorry for the repeat. The sweatshop angle isn't getting any play in the Corporate Media - we can change that.

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Dissent Is Patriotic Donating Member (793 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
1. Links don't work...
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moodforaday Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. These will:
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Thanks
I think I fixed them.
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Sorry
I always forget and put the HTTP in....
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Lefty48197 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 06:39 PM
Response to Original message
5. They support sweatshops, forced abortion, and other human rights
violations in China. As long as some rich right winger can make money off the slave wages in China, then it's ok, I guess.
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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. That's it in a nutshell.
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
7. DeLay Foundation Foster Family Community
I know you all know about Rio Bend - the Christian community the DeLay Foundation for Kids is building for Foster Families. ( )

And that foundation is pretty much funded by corporations.

"In January <2003> House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay engineered 'an abrupt reversal of rules that had prohibited lawmakers from accepting free trips and lodging in connection with charity events.' In April he raised $1.1 million from lobbyists and lawmakers at a golf tournament in Florida for The Delay Foundation for Kids." <4> (


In spring 1998, "an eclectic group of golfers waited to tee off at the posh Woodlands Resort and Conference Center just outside of Houston. Among the group were some 10 politicians and businessmen from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a representative from the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, and a wealthy businessman from Puerto Rico named Hernan Franco.

"The Marianas, the Chitimacha tribe, and a group of Puerto Rican businessmen had one thing in common: All were clients then, or shortly afterward, of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was a star rainmaker at Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds and a good buddy of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who was then majority whip. As DeLays friend, Abramoff wanted to help boost the foundation, which DeLay and his wife, Christine, created in 1986 to assist abused and neglected children. Some of Abramoffs clients gave as much as $25,000 to attend the event at Woodlands seven years ago.

So the new Christians only DeLay community (complete with chapels and $450.00 a month rent for the subsidized homes (families still get money from the state for taking in the kids)) is partly funded from the labor of these sweatshops.

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NativeTexan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 07:07 PM
Response to Original message
8. THIS is what Christian values like the RIGHT has.....
......GETS YOU!!

All hail Tom DeLay and his magical disappearing Bible!
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
9. Be sure and read the Abramoff letter
And if you have not read the Abramoff letter at that first link, be sure you do - first hand report on how the scummy lobbyists work.
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 10:28 PM
Response to Original message
10. Bush Nominated Abramoff Aide Same Day as Disclosed Abramoff Visit
Edited on Wed May-10-06 10:59 PM by sarahlee
Raw Story reports:

Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff may have met with President George W. Bush the same day President Bush nominated one of Abramoff's former colleagues to be Assistant Secretary of Labor, RAW STORY has found.

President Bush announced his intent to nominate Patrick Pizzella, who worked with Abramoff at his former lawfirm Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, the same day Abramoff made a visit to the White House, according to Secret Service records released today.

On Mar. 6, 2001, Abramoff entered at 4:23 p.m. and left at 4:49 p.m., according to Cox News Service, which obtained the records from the government watchdog Judicial Watch today.

A White House press release shows that Bush nominated Patrick Pizzella the very same day.

Just what did Pizzella specialize in?

You guessed it, the sweatshop haven of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). It looks as though Bush nominated Pizzella, at Abramoff's behest, to enact policy decisions to continue the inhumane labor pratices (a bit more on them here) occuring in the CNMI.

<...>Although they sound like a tropical paradise, the Mariana Islands are actually something close to the opposite. An American territory in the Pacific, just north of Guam, they have become a notorious haven for foreign-owned sweatshops in recent years. According to a 1998 report by a congressionally mandated task force, 91 percent of the Marianas' private workforce consists of "indentured aliens" usually working to pay off fees their employers charged for resettling them in the islands. Describing coerced abortions, guarded labor barracks, and systematic underpayment, the task force labeled the islands a national "embarrassment."

Blocking any federal regulations that might lessen that embarrassment was the goal of Pizzella's "representation," which lasted from 1996 to last year. It's hard to imagine anyone you would want less in the top ranks of the department ostensibly dedicated to protecting workers' rights.


About two months after nominating Pizzella as Deputy Undersecretary of Labor, President Bush met, and had his photo taken, with Speaker of the Marianas House, Ben Fitial. The meeting took place during an event hosted by Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform. Fitial had become Speaker of the House literally because of the will of Abramoff and his associates. Fitial rewarded Team Abramoff's arm-bending tactics with a handsome $1.6 million lobbying contract.

Pizzella is one of three Abramoff associates to eventually work at the White House. David Safavian has since been indicted. The other, Susan Ralston, is currently the "Special Assistant to the President & Assistant to the Senior Advisor Karl Rove." Months ago, rumors of her departure to work at the Commerce Department were dismissed.
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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-10-06 11:17 PM
Response to Original message
11. foxes in the hen house
Patrick Pizzella, who spent the past four years as a lobbyist for the Saipan sweatshop industry, is now the second most powerful individual in the U.S. Department of Labor.

Saipan is a South Pacific island where multinational corporations exploit mostly women workers and attach a Made in USA label on their sweatshop products.

Pizzella has impeccable credentials with conservatives. He worked for the Ronald Reagan campaign in 1976 and was subsequently appointed to posts at the Department of Education and the Small Business Administration.

For the past four years, however, Pizzella worked as the key lobbyist for the firm of Preston Gates on that companys account with the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI).

The company billed CNMI $8 million over a five-year period to conduct junkets for congressmen, staffers and conservative journalists to fend off labors attempts to enact labor protections for garment workers in Saipan.
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