Blessed are the meek….

For they shall inherit more favorable comparisons to animals.

South Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer (born Rudolph Andreus Bauer) has drawn criticism for veering a little too far off script when recounting the Legend of the Welfare Queen:

Bauer said during the meeting that when he was a child his grandmother told him to “quit feeding stray animals.”  “You know why? Because they breed,” he told the crowd. “You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that.”

The last part is a bit strange considering this comes just six months after his boss, who presumably has an ample food supply, ran off to have an affair in Argentina without bothering to tell anyone.  On Father’s Day.

Bauer insists that he had simply been misunderstood, telling reporters, “I never intended to tie people to animals,” then attempted to clarify his position by explaining that, “If you have a cat, if you take it in your house and feed it and love it, what happens when you go out of town?” In other words, the poor are still animals, but they are at least lovable ones sometimes.  After checking the website for his current campaign, I think it’s very possible that he’s simply confused.  From a statement he released:

At a forum this week, I spoke out in favor of finding ways to break the government’s cycle of handouts and dependency.

Yes, I believe government is “breeding a culture of dependency” which has grown out of control, and frankly, amounts to little more than socialism, paid for by hard-working, tax-paying families… against their wishes.

At the same time, I feel strongly that we can and should help our neighbors who are truly needy. In fact, I’ve spent much of my last seven years helping those in need… traveling the state to help provide blankets, shoes, food and health care to those who need it most.

Followed by quoting Warren Buffet, someone who has said of the (temporarily successful) effort to eliminate the estate tax,  “You could take that $30 billion and give $1,000 to 30 million poor families.”  And how do you travel around a state providing health care to people?  Anyways,  since he brought up this  “cycle of handouts and dependency”  being fostered by certain parts of the government, I’ll be doing a series of posts on some the worst offenders, starting with one that’s just making it back into the news again.

KBR, formerly Halliburton, was the twelfth largest government contractor last year, raking in just under $4.5 billion despite a track record that I have no words to describe, so I’ll list a brief sampling of their wrongdoings:

  • One of the many things they’re currently battling lawsuits over is actually so vile that a name had to be created for them: “burn pits” that were used to dispose, “everything from petroleum products to dioxin-releasing plastic water bottles to amputated limbs.” The fumes have disabled and even killed many Americans and Iraqis alike.
  • They have been forced to pay over $100 million in 20 separate cases of fraud, bribery, and so on.
  • Things they actually do build have a recurrent tendency to electrocute people.

And maybe you’ve heard something about a case involving KBR and rape? Which one was it?

Jezebel:

Mary Beth Kineston, above left, who worked as a driver in Iraq for KBR, was sexually assaulted in 2004 by a male driver, and after she reported it to superiors…nothing happened. Then she was assaulted again, this time by a different KBR employee, and, after reporting it to superiors, she was fired.

The Nation:

Dawn Leamon, who worked for a subsidiary of KBR and had told her story to The Nation a week before, described–with her back to the packed room and her voice (mostly) steady–being sodomized and forced to have oral sex with a KBR colleague and a Special Forces soldier two months earlier. When she reported the incident to KBR supervisors, she met a series of obstacles, she said. “They would tell me to stay quiet about it or try to make it seem as if I brought it on myself or lied about it.”

The case most widely reported is Jamie Leigh Jones, who was the first to go public with her allegations.  In 2005, Jones was drugged and gang raped by other employees so brutally that one of her breast implants was ruptured.  She was then locked in a storage container.   Her contract had a clause requiring mandatory binding arbitration, so she had to fight to get her case heard in a US court until she finally won last September.  You can watch a video of her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee here.

Recently, former comedian turned responsible Senator Al Franken passed his first piece of legislation, banning contractors from using binding arbitration in cases of sexual assault.  30 Senators (all Republicans) were so determined to indulge in this culture of dependency that they voted against it.   Still, KBR cannot fend for itself without corporate welfare as Mother Jones reports:

On Jan. 19, KBR petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowing Jones to press her case in a civil court rather than in arbitration. Among its many arguments in favor of a high court hearing: that Jones is a relentless self-promoter who has “sensationalize[d] her allegations against the KBR Defendants in the media, before the courts, and before Congress.” In its petition, KBR is clearly miffed about the Franken Amendment, which it credits Jones with getting passed. KBR also suggests that much of Jones’ story is fabricated. The company says in a footnote, “Many, if not all, of her allegations against the KBR Defenandants are demonstrably false. The KBR Defendants intend to vigorously contest Jones’s allegations and show that her claims against the KBR Defendants are factually and legally untenable.”

The amendment only applied to sexual assault, so apparently they’re incapable of preforming these tasks without the constant brutal rape, or maybe there are a more women they’ve silenced that are prepared to come forward…

UPDATE:

In light of the administration’s proposal for a three year spending freeze on everything but the Defense budget I’ll be including SEC proxy statements.

KBR 2008:

kbrcompensation

Written by dm