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Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Jesus of the Sweatshops
Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, then the Georgia Republican party, and now candidate for Lt. Governor, is perhaps the most skilled political operator at the corrupt nexus of Republican business interests and the evangelical christian movement.

In an article in the Washington Post, we learn of a letter that Reed wrote, at the behest of his good friend Jack Abramoff, urging conservative christians to oppose legislation that would have made workers in the Northern Mariana Islands (a US possession) subject to federal wage and worker safety laws.
"The radical left, the Big Labor Union Bosses, and Bill Clinton want to pass a law preventing Chinese from coming to work on the Marianas Islands," the mailer from Reed's firm said. The Chinese workers, it added, "are exposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ" while on the islands, and many "are converted to the Christian faith and return to China with Bibles in hand."
"A year earlier, the Department of the Interior -- which oversees federal policy toward the U.S. territory -- presented a very different picture of life for Chinese workers on the islands. An Interior report found that Chinese women were subject to forced abortions and that women and children were subject to forced prostitution in the local sex-tourism industry.
It also alleged that the garment industry and other businesses set up facilities on the Northern Marianas to produce products labeled "Made in the USA," while importing workers from China and other Asian countries and paying them less than U.S. minimum wage under conditions not subject to federal safety standards."
Abramoff was paid 4 million dollars to plead the case for the sweat-shop owners in Congress, and I don't imagine he had much opposition to push against, given that the people of the Northern Marianas have no representation in Congress. This is yet another example, to go along with the Indian casino rip-offs, in which Reed has used his religious and political networks for self-enrichment while mobilizing christian grass-roots support for some of the worst, and most corrupt policies pushed by the K Street crowd.

Rumor has it that maybe even the Republicans in Georgia are tiring of this scam-artist - apparently Reed is facing stiff opposition in the upcoming primary. Perhaps that is why he was so happy to receive support from a pandering presidential hopeful named Rudy, who would seem to be in great need of some outreach to the southern base of the GOP.

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