November 11, 2009

Rachel Maddow wins my semi-famous "Don't Sugarcoat It" award for her talented muckraking in this segment. It's becoming abundantly clear to everyone in the left-wing activist community that without loophole-free campaign finance reform we are unlikely to change anything in Washington lobby/legislator love-fest. With an assist from blogger David Sirota, Maddow exposes the business lobby that would attempt to hide their desire to continue to import products made from child, slave, and prison labor. Given the American public's unending appetite for cheap plastic junk, it's easy to see why those profiting from that hunger would want their gravy train to continue. Sadly, Maddow must remind us, all of us, that, um, slavery is wrong, even when it occurs across the oceans.

Transcript from here. Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress start lining up with corporate America and against new regulations now, consider the alliance that they are making.

Populist columnist David Sirota today made this catch from the business newsletter “Inside U.S. Trade.” This is a D.C.-based publication on trade issues. It‘s especially for people in international business.

What else are business groups worried about and lobbying against other than the new Wall Street regulations? I wouldn‘t believe this if I had not seen it for myself.

But check this out, quote, “Business groups are worried by the potential effects of provisions banning the import of all goods made with convict labor, forced labor or forced or indentured child labor that were included in a recent customs bill. American business groups are concerned, upset.” “Worried” was the actual phrase, worried about laws against using slaves and child labor.

Quote, “Business sources say the bill could cause DHS to more actively seek out imported products made with child labor, forced labor or convict labor.”

Oh, no. How will the corporations save themselves from that onerous rule that you can‘t use slaves and prisoners and children to make your products if you want to sell that product in the United States? Darn that liberal red tape.

Quote, “Sources conceded that this was a sensitive issue because industry groups do not want to be seen as opposing strict measures guarding against human rights abuses. However, one source did expect a push from lobbyists closer to the finance committee mark-up of the bill.”

Wow. I‘m guessing that business interests are OK with something like this being discussed in a subscriber-only industry newsletter publication like “Inside U.S. Trade.” I‘m guessing they might not want to let it become widely known that they are lobbying to stop rules against slavery.

But actually, you never know. The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think-tank that is very high profile in Washington and that maintains all sorts of Web sites and educational public venues to promote their ideas.

And on the Heritage Foundation‘s “Overcriminalized” blog, the Heritage Foundation, too, singles out the Child Labor Safety Act, which levies fines and jail time for companies using child labor as an example of what they call “trivial conduct that is now often punished as a crime.”

I mean honestly, “Kids these days. In my day, you would be delighted to be chained to the loom for a few pennies a day.” For the record, the Heritage Foundation also singles out Neil Abercrombie‘s bill against war profiteering as another example of making something trivial into a criminal matter.

Business interests and their think-tank friends on the right have every right to lobby on anything they want to. Think that Wall Street, despite almost destroying the whole economy of the United States should be left to its own devices again? Go ahead, make your case. I would love to hear it.

You think that child labor and slave labor and forced convict labor are cheap and therefore cool with you? Go ahead, make your case. I would love to hear it.

But unless you‘re going to make your case for things like that in total secrecy, know that the case against you is there to be made, too and that that will apply to any member of Congress who sides with you as well, you child labor-endorsing, pro-slavery freaks.

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