Skip to main content

(With Michael Winship)

As the sun slowly sets over the Republican National Convention in Tampa, we settle back in the chairs that nice Mr. Eastwood just gave us and ponder some of the other oddities of the week. Like this item in the official GOP platform pointed out by Brad Plumer of The Washington Post.

No minimum wage for the Mariana Islands."The Pacific territories should have flexibility to determine the minimum wage, which has seriously restricted progress in the private sector."
This caught our attention because it once again reminds us of the sordid past of evangelical and political entrepreneur Ralph Reed who, as this week’s edition of Moyers & Company reports in detail, has emerged from the ashes of epic career fail to reestablish himself as a powerful figure in Republican politics.

As head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Reed boasts he’s building a political dynamo of five million members with a massive database, an annual budget of $100 million and full-time lobbyists in all fifty state capitals, a colossal effort aimed at putting in place a right-wing social agenda and identifying and establishing contact with what it estimates as 27 million conservative voters in America. As you can imagine, with clout like that, Reed and his coalition were in high cotton at the Tampa convention.

Which brings us to that curious Mariana Islands minimum wage plank in the Republican platform.

Some years ago, our government made an effort to clean up sweatshops on the islands -- including Saipan -- that have been under the control of the United States since the end of World War II.

Chinese women were brought over to the islands to work under awful conditions -- subject to forced abortions and prostitution and paid pennies for producing garments labeled “Made in the USA.”

Corrupt local officials hired the firm of infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- for more than four million dollars -- to try to stop the reforms proposed back in Washington. Abramoff, in turn, hired Ralph Reed and his political direct mail company, Millennium Marketing, to conduct a phony grass roots campaign urging Alabama Christians to write their local congressman to oppose the reforms.

Of course, Reed didn’t tell those Christians he was being paid to help keep running sweatshops that exploited women. Instead, he told them the reforms were a trick orchestrated by the left and organized labor. Limits on Chinese workers would keep them from being “exposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ.” His company explained it was just trying to encourage “grass roots citizens to promote the propagation of the Gospel” and that many of the workers were “converted to the Christian faith and return to China with Bibles in hand.”

With the explosion of the Jack Abramoff scandals and exposes by Ms. Magazine and other publications, the spotlight on the Marianas sweatshops finally did lead to congressional action, including a raise of the minimum wage and a law to federalize labor and immigration rules in the Marianas. The minimum wage now is $5.05 an hour, increasing to $5.55 on September 30, but many in the Marianas business sector continue to oppose the amount-- hence the platform plank.

Meanwhile, increasingly vocal calls have come for the impeachment of the islands’ longtime governor, Benigno Fitial, an old Abramoff pal. Nonetheless, there Fitial was in Tampa, unrepentant and front and center, head of the islands’ official Republican delegation.

As for Reed, once exposed, his shameful ruse came back to haunt him when he tried to run for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Georgia in 2006 -- his opponent told the Marianas story in a devastating attack ad.

Reed’s was a monstrous lie by one of the monumental hypocrites of our time. Yet he marches on, Christian soldier to the end, turning the temple of faith into one big ATM. There’s a word for this in the Bible: Abomination.


Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television. Explore more at BillMoyers.com

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

kos, Meteor Blades, Sharoney, kimo, sdf, jbou, N in Seattle, Bob Johnson, SME in Seattle, Mary, norm, Thumb, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, Superskepticalman, Doug in SF, Sylv, Terri, Bill in Portland Maine, Chi, True North, jotter, BrooklynJohnny, copymark, teacherken, glitterscale, Geenius at Wrok, Joan McCarter, MarkC, Gooserock, freedom fried, Pandora, NYmom, am, Bob Love, Shockwave, Heimyankel, Pescadero Bill, Wintermute, billlaurelMD, Andrew C White, cotterperson, hyperstation, shayera, richardak, Stein, eeff, jeremybloom, willyr, Woody, HarlemUSA, frisco, RFK Lives, exNYinTX, expatjourno, Caneel, hubcap, niemann, Creosote, davelf2, Theodoric of York Medieval Liberal, Dumbo, shermanesq, rasbobbo, scribe, busternjake, missLotus, TracieLynn, sponson, cskendrick, BlackSheep1, kalihikane, amsterdam, whenwego, ScantronPresident, ask, Pithy Cherub, mrblifil, Aquarius40, roses, Frederick Clarkson, pedrito, taonow, ovals49, bobinson, ivote2004, poe, internationaljock, ctsteve, TheCrank, Cedwyn, sidnora, dksbook, aitchdee, Eddie C, wader, pollwatcher, revsue, NMRed, SneakySnu, Oke, ninothemindboggler, psnyder, Joe Bacon, annan, nancelot, emmasnacker, sockpuppet, TexDem, mrkvica, American Zapatista, Miss Jones, CitizenOfEarth, pat bunny, ranger995, Eyesbright, zootfloggin, roseeriter, johanus, hoolia, exiledfromTN, cosette, texasmom, homo neurotic, Penny Century, 42, Catte Nappe, lcrp, riverlover, Dood Abides, One bite at a time, Oaktown Girl, exlrrp, Matt Esler, KateCrashes, zett, zerelda, ybruti, Sembtex, Man Eegee, JayDean, dnta, Marianne Benz, Emmy, eve, AlwaysDemocrat, Jen Hayden, vivadissent, eztempo, xxdr zombiexx, Sassy, sebastianguy99, Limelite, J Orygun, TexMex, oortdust, Gowrie Gal, ebbinflo, rapala, G2geek, Los Diablo, humphrey, ExStr8, Bluesee, sandblaster, marina, Tinfoil Hat, quinn, NoMoreLies, Jeffersonian Democrat, ichibon, BluejayRN, UncleCharlie, jiffypop, LarisaW, subtropolis, SherwoodB, Chinton, irate, demimondian, Alice Venturi, JohnB47, kitchen sink think tank, ajsuited, Clem Yeobright, dewtx, juliesie, stagemom, Brooke In Seattle, Laurence Lewis, Navy Vet Terp, reflectionsv37, owlbear1, bleeding blue, jimstaro, uato carabau, Burned, Kayakbiker, Ice Blue, most peculiar mama, blue jersey mom, antiapollon, Agent Orange, LucyandByron, deep, rb608, Ozzie, Shotput8, mph2005, Floja Roja, coolbreeze, Rogneid, Brian B, daddybunny, JanF, mightymouse, zozie, terjeanderson, Oye Sancho, Paper Cup, Jim R, reddbierd, Mother Mags, Born in NOLA, third Party please, occams hatchet, Paul Ferguson, poco, Dr Envirocrat, Sura 109, Kingsmeg, cybersaur, 417els, edwardssl, BlueInARedState, tobendaro, stevedubya, mr crabby, Gorette, Yellow Canary, mooshter, kestrel9000, KenBee, dougymi, fromer, NNadir, arlene, luckydog, sailmaker, kck, blueoasis, TalkieToaster, global citizen, StrayCat, Ashaman, gpoutney, Rosaura, agnostic, tapestry, NearlyNormal, CTLiberal, Preston S, Zwoof, Dinclusin, doinaheckuvanutjob, middleagedhousewife, MBNYC, Pilgrim X, CA Nana, Persiflage, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, fiddlingnero, Stripe, frankzappatista, shaharazade, Statusquomustgo, Tom Anderson, kurious, matx, ms badger, slksfca, AllanTBG, markthshark, Little, NonnyO, DBunn, Thinking Fella, ammasdarling, One Pissed Off Liberal, beaukitty, FlamingoGrrl, pgm 01, john07801, timewarp, A Mad Mad World, pfiore8, asilomar, Cronesense, Habitat Vic, Loudoun County Dem, oklacoma dem, byDesign, camlbacker, ksp, moodyinsavannah, Debs2, devis1, Dartagnan, ColoTim, gloriana, Positronicus, EdSF, yoduuuh do or do not, edsbrooklyn, FishOutofWater, Mary Mike, Hafez of Shiraz, Blue Waters Run Deep, Matt Z, gustynpip, operculum, terabytes, newpioneer, davehouck, bnasley, klondike, Seneca Doane, Singing Lizard, mudslide, SeaTurtle, jhop7, gchaucer2, pioneer111, Wreck Smurfy, uciguy30, JML9999, janatallow, South Park Democrat, TomP, MKinTN, skymutt, rogerdaddy, gundyj, Amor Y Risa, mconvente, TruthFreedomKindness, TX Freethinker, ChocolateChris, Port City Moon, kimoconnor, signals, wayoutinthestix, mamamedusa, Sixty Something, Youffraita, parakinesis, bill warnick, elwior, filby, CDH in Brooklyn, Old Lefty, DCBlue, VL Baker, jakebob, jamess, Deep Harm, Lujane, tofumagoo, CenFlaDem, Ocelopotamus, bluesheep, triplepoint, Jeff Y, Tam in CA, No Exit, bakenjuddy, TexanJane, chemborg, luckylizard, My Spin, emidesu, Uncle Bob, Keninoakland, Ellinorianne, dmhlt 66, DavidW, JBL55, oldliberal, legendmn, Fiddlegirl, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, maggiejean, prettygirlxoxoxo, multilee, Rhysling, Dirtandiron, litoralis, greengemini, Domestic Elf, lilsky, cantelow, bsmechanic, Michael James, CanyonWren, Don Enrique, Nebraskablue, susanWAstate, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker, WakeUpNeo, indres, geebeebee, UnaSpenser, elziax, papahaha, Keith Pickering, histOries Marko, Munchkn, stevenwag, sfarkash, maxzj05, Tortmaster, MizKit, futureliveshere, Randtntx, HowieBeale, Wendy Slammo, Leftcandid, Larsstephens, cassandraX, Railfan, Just Bob, BigVegan, brentbent, mamamorgaine, emptythreatsfarm, OrangeMike, Alohilani, p gorden lippy, GreenDog, roadbear, NJpeach, little lion, Susan Grigsby, politik, jethrock, catwho, UTvoter, yellowdogsal, Crabby Abbey, Polly Syllabic, mjbleo, Garfnobl, renzo capetti, womankind, Eddie L, gulfgal98, pixxer, ItsSimpleSimon, cai, Yasuragi, rja, Betty Pinson, orlbucfan, ericlewis0, dalkman, soaglow, slice, translatorpro, no way lack of brain, praying manatheist, According to Fish, renbear, TAH from SLC, kerflooey, mama jo, spooks51, Bob Duck, Election Diary Rescue, slowbutsure, lady blair, sostos, implicate order, jardin32, KCthinking, kirbybruno, vahana, fishboots, BillyElliott, kiwiheart, Teiresias70, CoExistNow, trumpeter, mrsgoo, marleycat, zukesgirl64, awsdirector, muddy boots, rk2, floridablue, createpeace, jgnyc, Sark Svemes, peregrine kate, MinistryOfTruth, SteelerGrrl, stlsophos, StepLeftStepForward, DRo, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Mentatmark, ParkRanger, MichaelNY, allergywoman, drawingporno, No one gets out alive, Azazello, Mathazar, mikeVA, BlueDragon, jellyyork, quill, Only Needs a Beat, ridemybike, Prairie D, MNGlasnant, cwsmoke, angry marmot, Invictus88, Siri, IndieGuy, passionateprotagonist, David54, joanil, just want to comment, Joieau, Deep Texan, AreDeutz, draa, Trotskyrepublican, helenh1967, congenitalefty, CA ridebalanced, Lorinda Pike, peachcreek, reginahny, doroma, ricklewsive, redstella, oldpotsmuggler, arizonablue, etherealfire, rat racer, jeannew, FrY10cK, Glen The Plumber, George3, Kayjay, wasatch, databob, fauve, CalBearMom, Most Awesome Nana, nuclear winter solstice, Lensy, Jonathan Hoag, Lily O Lady, onceasgt, leftreborn, countwebb, glorificus, goodpractice, parsonsbeach, paccoli, howabout, helpImdrowning, LaraJones, Icicle68, GreenMother, xulon, ET3117, Timari, Jim Domenico, Jason Hackman, BlueSpy, pipercity1, sparkysgal

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site