An occasional theme here is the sheer wondrousness of the military-industrial-Congressional-entertainment complex, the vast organic conspiracy between big money and our Government to make sure that Government operates to make sure that it operates in the interests of big money (and not in the interests of, well… anyone else).
A case in point is what ls likely to happen to “the Franken Amendment,” a popular (it passed the Senate 68-30, with lots of support in the House as well) measure offered by Minnesota’s new junior senator Al Franken that would limit the ability of federal military contractors to shield themselves for liability for rapes and assaults committed by (and upon) those that work for them by requiring such contractors to remove onerous arbitration provisions removing the ability to bring such suits as a condition of contracting. The seemingly innocuous bill was the result of a real incident, and 30 Republican senators who opposed it have been excoriated at least rhetorically.
The Franken Amendment seems reasonable enough, unless, of course, you happen to be a military contractor, in which case, it seems, you’re extremely unhappy, and you are pressuring the crap out of Hawaii’s senior senator (and Senate Approproations Committee Chairman) Daniel Inouye to remove Franken’s offending provision from the final bill that would be voted on… pressure that Inouye, who, like most members of our legislature, has received lots of campaign contributions and other goodies (though, if one is a senator from Hawaii, trips to Hawaii might not be such a big deal, though I’m sure there are other goodies available…) his received from his friends (not ours) in the military-industrial complex.
It seems that military contracting just isn’t profitable enough if contractors actually have to bear the same responsibility for the actions of their employees as everyone else. Worse, by opposing this bill, the contractors seem to beindicating that they (and by contractors, I mean “Halliburton and Blackwater”) seem to want to tout retribution-free rape in combat zones as some sort of employee benefit, and feel that they will be competitively disadvantaged if they can’t do that.
In the end, maybe the sheer one-sidedness of just how bad stripping (or otherwise watering down tot the point of gutting) the Franken Amendment will be, both as a moral or even as a popular measure, will lead to its remaining in the final bill. Given that on the other side of this equation is Washington’s single most entrenched big money lobby, however, that is absolutely not how one would bet. “Profits versus people” is just not a fair fight in the hearts and minds of American legislators.