The Republican Party Platform includes a plank that denies workers in the Marianas Islands a minimum wage. Why should the Republican Party care so much about denying workers a minimum wage in this tiny Pacific territory? The answer, as documented by Bill Moyers, will leave you in disgust.
As the sun slowly sets over the Republican National Convention in Tampa, we settle back in the chairs that nice Mr. Eastwood just gave us and ponder some of the other oddities of the week. Like this item in the official GOP platform pointed out by Brad Plumer of The Washington Post:
“No minimum wage for the Mariana Islands.
‘The Pacific territories should have flexibility to determine the minimum wage, which has seriously restricted progress in the private sector.’”
This caught our attention (and thanks to colleague Theresa Riley for sending) because it once again reminds us of the sordid past of evangelical and political entrepreneur Ralph Reed who, as this week’s edition of Moyers & Company reports in detail, has emerged from the ashes of epic career failure to reestablish himself as a powerful figure in Republican politics.
As head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Reed boasts he’s building a political dynamo of five million members with a massive database, an annual budget of $100 million and full-time lobbyists in all 50 state capitals, a colossal effort aimed at putting in place a right-wing social agenda and identifying and establishing contact with what it estimates as 27 million conservative voters in America. As you can imagine, with clout like that, Reed and his coalition were in high cotton at the Tampa convention.
Which brings us to that curious Mariana Islands minimum wage plank in the Republican platform. Some years ago, our government made an effort to clean up sweatshops on the islands – including Saipan – that have been under the control of the United States since the end of World War II.
Chinese women were brought over to the islands to work under awful conditions – subject to forced abortions and prostitution and paid pennies for producing garments labeled “Made in the USA.”
Corrupt local officials hired the firm of infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff — for more than $4 million — to try to stop the reforms proposed back in Washington. Abramoff, in turn, hired Ralph Reed and his political direct mail company, Millennium Marketing, to conduct a phony grassroots campaign urging Alabama Christians to write their local congressman to oppose the reforms.
Of course, Reed didn’t tell those Christians he was being paid to help keep running sweatshops that exploited women. Instead, he told them the reforms were a trick orchestrated by the Left and organized labor.
Limits on Chinese workers would keep them from being “exposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ.” His company explained it was just trying to encourage “grassroots citizens to promote the propagation of the Gospel” and that many of the workers were “converted to the Christian faith and return to China with Bibles in hand.”… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Consortium News>
Photo credit: Scientific American
There it is. Republicans are so anxious to keep the profits of these vulture capitalists high by keeping women in slavery and forced prostitution that they have a special plank in their platform for that purpose. They are also fooling American consumers into thinking products made by foreign sweatshop labor are made in the USA. In addition, they are turning their own unwitting, religious sheeple into virtual pimps by deceiving them that they are donating to evangelism instead of exploitation. If Republicans welcome Ralph Reed, have they any business in office?