mardi, mars 07, 2006

Al Franken Crushed My Buzz; and Intro to Saipan

I just finished reading Al Franken’s “The Truth (with jokes),” and it totally brought me down. You should read it. It has Franken’s trademark humorous touch, but it really zeroes in on the dark and unpleasant side of Republicanism.

I told me very little that I didn’t already know, but somehow, having it broken down, and having more detail really made my head hurt and my heart heavy.

Bush lied about Iraq (and in a zillion different ways). Sorry to shock you.

Bush lied about Kerry (in a disgusting way, leveraging Rove, who lies to wins – just makes up horrible things about people. Simply hiring Rove is morally wrong.).

Bush turns a blind eye to corruption and theft in Iraq.

He does so with the help of Minnesota’s Senator, Norm Coleman (he chairs the subcommittee responsible for investigating corruption, but does nothing).

Bush used homophobia to win.

Bush lied about Social Security.

They lied about Schiavo (did you know that he autopsy concluded that she her brain suffered profound and irreversible damage?).

Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff are disgusting.

Abramoff is a money-grubbing racist. Please stay in prison forever. Thanks.

And DeLay…well…have you heard of Saipan? I’m ashamed to say that, beyond luxury trips for members of Congress, I hadn’t. So, I plan to talk about Saipan in the next few posts.

Today: Intro to Saipan

Saipan is the largest island in the Northern Mariana Islands (a chain of 14 tropical islands in the Western Pacific – about 120 miles north of Guam).

The Northern Mariana Islands are United States Commonwealths.

Spain originally included Saipan as part of is Marianas.

Around 1899, Saipan fell under German rule.

In 1914, Japan took over the island and developed fishing and sugar industries.

They used Saipan for troops during World War II, 30,000 troops were stationed there.

In 1944, U.S. Marines spent three hard-fought weeks securing the island as part of the Battle of Saipan.

Although Saipan is a U.S. Commonwealth, it is exempt from U.S. labor and immigration laws.

Several U.S. companies take advantage of this by paying below-subsistence wages (way below) but applying the “Made in the U.S.” label to goods.

A lot of bad things happen in Saipan.

Those bad things happen because Republicans allow them to happen.

A lot of the bad things do not square with what “morality” voters would expect from their moral leaders.

By some twist in the law, Saipan does not follow U.S. labor laws, but good manufactured in Saipan carry the “Made in the U.S.” label.