Monday, October 02, 2006

Teen Sex Slave Called a Liar by Texas Congressman

I picked this up from Digg a little while back, with simply the bare essentials. Now it appears that it's being cited by Glenn Melançon, Ralph Hall's opponent.

As happy as I am to be cited at all, ordinarily; I'm slightly miffed, because my link was simply a pointer to the TPM Muckraker article with a link to "digg it" higher. The paragraph below was the sum total of what amounted to a "throwaway" post.

A Texas congressman is denying charges he slandered a foreign sex slave at the behest of Jack Abramoff. Hall's challenger says "When investigators discovered child prostitution and forced abortions on the Mariana Islands, Congressman Ralph Hall was paid for for covering it up . . ."

read more | digg story

Sir, that is what we call "Padding the Bibliography" in the trade. It also might be taken to suggest that I support Glenn Melançon for the seat, because I think his opponent is a slimeball.

Pardon me, Sir, but all I know about Hall is that he did a remarkably sleazy favor for Jack Abramoff. He's not my congresscritter, and the judgment as to whether he should continue to represent his constituents is up to them. Perhaps his base has a large proportion of sex tourists who frequent the Mariana Islands, or has several large businesses that make use of it's cheap slave labor. Perhaps they have no problem at all with the exploitation of Asian women.

I've observed that many Conservatives are rather emphatic about the virtuous necessity for exploiting and oppressing women, though of course they choose to put it in slightly different terms. But as they are more than willing to create situations where people have no access to choices concerning their essential freedoms, I see little here that they would be likely to object to in principle, for the principles are identical.

Forced abortions are no less a violation of one's freedom and dignity than forced pregnancies and both often result from the sexual exploitation of youth.

It’s no more and no less of a violation of the essential dignity of a youth who has reached the age of Reason to forbid them access to sex and sexual information than it is to compel it. So I must assume they do not believe that things I consider essential human rights are rights at all; indeed, I've heard people such as the Rev. Dr. Dobson argue exactly that.

There are Conservative evangelicals that directly advocate that parents choose the future lifetime sexual partners of their children, who consider it their right to take away the moral agency of not just underage, but adult children. This is simply the other side of the coin Ralph is accused of trafficing in; the sexual favors of a daughter in return for future financial considerations. The only difference, really, is how valuable those sexual and reproductive services are. Or in other words, “I already know what you are, now we are just haggling over the price.”

So it seems quite possible that Hall is accurately and faithfully representing the people he is beholden to and it would be wrong and irresponsible of me to suggest otherwise. The Mariana affair was well publicised at the time, and he apparently was neither investigated for his role in it, nor polictially embarrassed by it, so it's quite a reasonable assumption for me to make.

After all, I hold most insistently to my own principles, I’m not about to suggest that others abandon theirs in favor of mine, unless our principles come into direct and practical conflict.

Slavery has deep roots in the former Confederacy, and there have been long, scholarly and highly moral tomes written to explain it in Biblical terms. I shall not presume that such beliefs are held lightly or insincerely when I know for a fact that many believe passionately otherwise; that the darker races both need and deserve the guidance of the more highly evolved White race, as well as the elevation of their racial character via judicious injections of superior genetic materials. No, for many, these are not beliefs of mere convenience; they are deeply, primordially and utterly sincere racists. Are they not also Citizens? Do they not deserve one of their own representing them?

I'm going to quote from Glenn Melançon's newsletter. Please overlook the patriotically red white and blue text and read for content. Glenn reveals something essential to this discussion and understanding what we are really talking about.

The President's speech was an act of desperation. His proposal does nothing to stem the flow of undocumented workers across the border. The real problem is illegal employment. Unscrupulous employers entice Mexicans and Latin Americans to the U.S.

Why? Falsely documented workers don't complain about working conditions or pay; they know they are one complaint away from being turned over to immigration officials. Corporate America "imports" this docile workforce. If undocumented immigrants couldn't get jobs, they wouldn't come.
The President could solve the problem by simply enforcing existing laws and punishing illegal employers. According to a Knight Ridder report by Liz Chandler, “One internal study found that a restaurant company had submitted 4,100 duplicate Social Security numbers for workers. Other firms submit inaccurate names or numbers reports for nearly all of their employees. One child's Social Security number was used 742 times by workers in 42 states.” The problem isn't a lack of information; it's a lack of will.
So the question arises; if we have what amounts to a slave labor force; underpaid, exploited, without recourse to law or unions, is that what the people of this Texas constituency want?

After all, the current draconian proposals are not aimed at the employers who know damn well who and what they are taking advantage of; they are aimed at the undocumented workers themselves – should they happen to come to the attention of the Authorities.

If one is against lawbreaking - and these illegals are doing just that - one should be equally concerned about all those involved in the crime.

The best way to forestall such crimes is to make them unprofitable. But if one actually wishes to allow that sort of crime to continue without difficulty, then one must take steps to silence those most likely to complain about being exploited by richer and better-connected criminals.

As Glenn points out, there's certainly no need to come up with new legislation to prosecute those who employ illegal labor. All that is required is to enforce existing law.

Social Security fraud, forgery, conspiracy, racketeering and human trafficking laws could all be applied to various situations with great glee to eliminate this problem.

Unless, of course, one does not wish to eliminate the problem at all, merely regulate it in favor of those profiting by it. We should be honest here; the scope and practical effect of this additional legislation – at least, the House Version – is to create a permanent class of disenfranchised slaves, with INS as the enforcers who punish those who seek to escape that fate.

I am forced to assume that there is a great need for slaves, and as a Libertarian, I am expected to advocate in favor of free market forces. If US citizens are not willing to become slaves, is it not legitimate for the entrepreneurs that fuel our massive and beneficent economy to import them, so that our poor and underemployed may partake of 99 cent cheeseburgers? Is this not the proper evolution of a free market?

In a purely amoral Libertarian sense, I cannot argue against the choices of those who willingly subject themselves to slavery; I can only object to regulations that stand in the way of this institution being transparently and equally implemented. I must of course equally argue that US citizens be freely able to compete within this market. If they wish to be slaves, they must be able to contract to do so. Right-to-Work legislation is a mere sop to this ideal when the servitude of Americans is being taken away by illegal imports.

I wax sarcastic, but there’s nothing actually wrong with the argument, other than it’s transparent absurdity.

The only question here is whether or not the Great State of Texas wishes to be a slave state. If it does, one must then ask what is so wrong about the status of slave that US citizens must be prevented from serving in that capacity, and why everyone is so embarrassed about the reality of the situation that they construct towering edifices of distraction to blame it upon the fortunate who have achieved that most blessed and hallowed state. After all, it's a status that many Americans bled and died to preserve!

If Texans believe in slavery, and all the social differences and values that go along with that most ancient of human institutions, I say, let us speak honestly about it, it's vices and virtues, it's costs and benefits and implication instead of sneaking around and failing to create a proper and functional institution that would serve all as they deserve, both slave and free.

Since there ARE laws that exist on the books, both federal and, I presume, state laws forbidding the various contrivances that create this effective state of slavery, why are they not being enforced? Who has been choosing to overlook infractions, or not seriously prosecute them? And if they are not being enforced, what is the point of enacting new laws?

Could it be that “reasonable men” are aware that it’s only a crime in the minds of “liberals” who think everyone deserves such unreasonable entitlements as freedom, liberty and equal justice under the law?

I mean, my goodness, we are speaking of MEXICANS!

TPMmuckraker September 25, 2006 02:56 PM: "In November of 1997, Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) publicly questioned the credibility of a teenage girl's claims that she'd been the victim of the sex trade in the Northern Mariana Islands. The statement, which Rep. Hall entered into the Congressional Record, was prepared by Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist for the islands.

It's always surprised me how very cheap it seems to be to buy a US Congressman.

Come to the Marianas and get Leied

[Hall]traveled to the Northern Marianas as a guest of felon Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay, only to come back calling it a "a well-kept secret" with great economic growth and potential. Now he refuses to return $30,000 of campaign contributions from PACs associated with Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff. --

Please note that Hall used to be a Democrat, back when Democrats were powerful and Democratic corruption was profitable. He now calls himself a Republican, but I for one am skeptical; it seems to me that he continues to represent his own core values and the values of those who contract for his influence.

"[S]he wanted to do nude dancing," Hall's statement said of the fifteen-year-old girl. She had earlier told federal investigators that she'd been forced to work for a local nightclub in a nightly live sex show. You can read the entirety of Hall's statement here.

Press accounts at the time detailed how the girl had been taken from her parents in the Philippines, and forced to perform sex acts on stage and before video cameras at a Northern Marianas sex club. A 1998 Department of Labor report confirmed those reports.

Yes, just like those Guatemalan economic refugees like working 18 hour shifts for less than minimum wage and no benefits. Do I hear faint echoes of a Steven Foster tune?

Has it escaped Hall's notice that it is completely immaterial under federal law as to whether she "wanted" to dance nude? It's also completely immaterial if she "wanted" to be videotaped performing sex acts with customers (who illegally provided her alcohol) and that merely possessing a tape of those acts, much less distribution it is in fact child pornography? Even in 1998, that was a very, very serious allegation, one that could result in the loss of - well, pretty much everything for those involved.

In this particular case, it seems the Marianas Islands government felt it worthwhile to contract the rather expensive services of Jack Abrahamoff to deflect any serious investigation of the general standards and practices of commercial enterprises there, and to that end, Hall was willing to insert this statement into the Congressional Record.

Had such evidence as this department of labor report come to MY attention, my reaction would have been very different indeed. To me, the idea that there might possibly be widespread exploitation of children in any way, much less organized child sex smuggling rings to be something that would require my FULL attention. I would not see it as an opportunity for a little "pay for play" as seems to be the case here.

I would like to think that even were I generally inclined to a little friendly greasing of the wheels for a large contributor, I would draw the line at anything that might possibly involve conspiracy to obstruct justice. I’d certainly never do such a thing for a mere thirty grand and “other valuable considerations,” which I presume he did. Hall is certainly a cheap date.

Lest I be accused of a low and cheap shot, let me point this out; had Hall done anything at all to address the situation according to his clear legal and moral duties, he would have plenty of materials to refute charges against him. So whether he actually did much to further Abramoff’s efforts to stifle investigations into the various potential scandals and outrages occurring there, we know he knew about it, could have done something about it and chose to not do anything about it.

I must assume that, given this past position, and given Hall's current views on immigration, that a vote for Hall is a vote for the return of slavery to the South. But, then, that's a question of social policy that I would consider a State's Rights issue, in general, so long as the State in question was open and above-board about it.

I do not approve at all of covert end-runs around anti-slavery legislation and constitutional remedies to what many perceive to be an ancient human evil of the most depraved sort. Of course, many of those people are Liberals, so perhaps Texas varies on that point of philosophy.

So I do suggest to Congressman Hall that if he is indeed in favor of slavery, and other Confederate Family Values, let him defend them courageously! Let him propose legislation to regulate slavery, let him challenge the "liberal political correctness" that makes it impossible for "Men of the World" such as himself to advocate their just due; the exploitation of the poor, the vulnerable, the uneducated and, indeed, the delightfully nubile and underage.

Let him explain to us how these ripe fruits are the perfectly reasonable prerogative of those fortunate few who, by virtue of power and an understanding of what really makes the world go round, actually deserve a wink and a nod instead of, say, twenty years in a federal penitentiary, for the production and distribution of child pornography.

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