Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Question: how would Beck and Fox News react if this happened at ACORN rather than KBR?

Let's notice the strange dichotomy by which allegations of ridiculous, implausible imaginary crimes sanctioned by individual employees caught in a Borat-like entrapment scheme become evidence of sinister, nefarious evil "thug" machinations and organizational corruption when the function of the group involved is to register poor people and minorities to vote and to help them find affordable housing but the same perception does not hold when allegations of actual crimes happen in the real world involving corporations which have close ties to the former Vice President of the United States.

So I ask: what would the reaction over at Fox be if this had happened at ACORN rather than KBR?

In 2005, Jamie Lee Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. In an apparent attempt to cover up the incident, the company then put her in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and “warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.” Even more insultingly, the DOJ resisted bringing any criminal charges in the matter. KBR argued that Jones’ employment contract warranted her claims being heard in private arbitration — without jury, judge, public record, or transcript of the proceedings. After 15 months in arbitration, Jones and her lawyers went to court to fight the KBR claims. Yesterday, a court ruled in favor of Jones.” Mother Jones reports:

Jones argued that the alleged gang rape was not related to her employment and thus, wasn’t covered by the arbitration agreement. Finally, two years later, a federal court has sensibly agreed with her. Tuesday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2 to 1 ruling, found her alleged injuries were not, in fact, in any way related to her employment and thus, not covered by the contract.

One of the judges who ruled in her favor, Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale, is a West Point grad, Vietnam vet, and one of the court’s most conservative members, a sign, perhaps, of just how bad the facts are in this case. It’s a big victory, but a bitter one that shows just how insidious mandatory arbitration is. It’s taken Jones three years of litigation just to get to the point where she can finally sue the people who allegedly wronged her. It will be many more years before she has a shot at any real justice.

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